The Dilemma

Before we got married, I made it clear to my husband that I intended to work. I had no plans of becoming a housewife. I chose to be in Medicine so I could have more control over my work hours, as opposed to someone working in an office job. But circumstances change. When my first child was born, I did not want to delegate the important task of raising my son to a nanny. I felt that, even if we’re lucky to get a good nanny, no stranger could raise him better than us, his parents. Add to that the numerous horror stories of children being harmed and abused by their caregivers. So we decided that I would put my practice on hold and be a full-time mother. It wasn’t a chauvinistic decision, it was a practical one. My husband’s practice was doing better, so he went on working. If it were the other way around, then he would have been the one to stay at home. Of course the decision to have only one breadwinner had consequences. But the financial consideration was not as important as our child’s well-being.

When the kids were a little bigger and our second child was already in school, I resumed my practice part-time. I was still a full-time mom to our children and a doctor for one shift a week. For those 4 hours that I am at work, my patients have my full and undivided attention. That is the reason why I didn’t work more hours. I did not want to be at work but constantly thinking about my family. For those 4 hours, I do not worry about my children. My patients are my only concern.

I would like to believe that my being a parent has helped me become a better doctor. I am more tolerant, more understanding, more caring towards my patients, because I am a mother.  And I would like to think that my patients, especially the long-standing ones, understand and appreciate this.