Back to work? Hang on, my “feminist” buddies. And thanks for the free advice!

I am on an extended maternity break. Not advisable for someone in a male dominated domain with high career aspirations, I’m told.

But the choice has already been made.

Now I face the consequences.

Of lagging behind my peers. Of being judged as not being “hard-core” enough. Of being a “low-aimer”. Of not being ambitious enough.

Blah blah blah….

I go from being the ‘one-with-great-promise’ to the ‘one-that-got-way led’. Ha.

Years ago, I was also told I wouldn’t land a residency spot. That marrying when I did  (a long, long time ago), was akin to career suicide. That long distance relationships do not work. That a non- Doctor husband would never understand the hours and demands. That taking a year off (to enjoy marital- bliss) before getting into a post-graduate program was stupidity.

More blah…

Sure…..Bite me!

I will not lie to you, my dear detractor cum envious discouraging “well-wisher”…My hands itch to wield a scalpel again. To palpate a mass…To explain a procedure to a befuddled, unsuspecting patient. I would even love to do the things that I once thought I disliked- empty surgical drains and urobags, pass urinary catheters, deal with a nagging post- op patient….

Do not worry my feminist fellow womankind, I have not traded in my scrubs or my aspirations. I’m still the hardest, craziest,  most ambitious nut on the block. The nut’s on time-out, that’s all.

The nut almost cracked a few months ago, it needs to recoup and replenish itself.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Running full throttle for a few metres will get one nowhere.

Except maybe collapsed on the ground.

Feminism and career do not mean neglect of family or giving up on family altogether. No. I chose to not travel that path.

I have no illusions of “having it all”. I do not dream of being a superwoman. A super- mom or a super- surgeon or a super- anything.

Superlatives are not my goal. A full and happy life is.

A life where I can tire myself in an OR and then come home at a decent hour.

Home to a loving family, not to a flat- screen and take-out food. Okay…maybe a giant flat-screen would be a nice addition to the family…

A life which involves travel and reading and music and books and all things I love…

A life of meaning and purpose…

A life of doing the best that I possibly can…

A life of moderate yet balancing sacrifices….

A life in pursuit of passion and perfection…knowing full well that perfection is an unattainable mirage.

A life of few regrets…

A life of my own…

Not dictated or foretold by anyone.

Do not tell me what should be or can be…

Do not mock, judge, criticise or  vilify my choices if they do not match yours…

My life is mine to live, friend…

So kindly, just let me be!

The fun lies in doing what no one else has done before….

Of bucking the trend…

Of breaking the mould,….

Of defying the norm….

Of forging a new path.

So please, let me just forge mine.

And thank you!

For the unnecessary, unwarranted, unsolicited advice my friend…

Till the next rant…

Dr J.

8 Comments

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  1.  ‘motherhood is the only “valid” reason one can give to take off from work at the prime of one’s life! ‘
    As a guy and one who hasn’t found his calling yet, I want to disagree :p

  2. I hope you succeed in finding that. It is very easy in the UK for that to be a reality in surgery thanks to the year long maternity leave and generous part time working regulations. Enjoy your time off with your baby and be reassured that going back to work isn’t as bad as you might think, you are still a mother even if you aren’t there all the time.

    • A year? Wow! now that would be a dream come true…..
      Seriously though, after the torturous residency years,I am having the time of my life. Like my husband says, motherhood is the only “valid” reason one can give to take off from work at the prime of one’s life! I intend to savour and enjoy every precious minute, before I get back into the rat race….

  3. But I do agree people should just really mind their own business even though I am sure they mean well.

  4. Aaaah the enthusiasm and invincibility of youth!!! I won’t say anything then…. 😛

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