At my work, when people find out that I have children, they are usually surprised. Apparently, I look much too young to have any children, let alone a 9 year old and a 5 year old.
I get asked a lot of questions. How do I do it? How do the kids manage with my work schedule? How do things work with Hubster's schedule?
One of the questions that I have been asked too frequently, especially by other physicians, is whether I regret having children. It's usually phrased differently, such as do I regret having children at such a young age, or do I regret having them so early in my medical career, or do I regret having children that distract me from medicine.
Regardless of how it's phrased, or how tactful the questioner attempts to be (usually failing completely), all they want to know is whether I regret my children.
Balancing medicine and family is difficult.
I find it a little ironic that I never once have been asked the reverse question. Do I regret going in to medicine?
After all, Bug was part of my life before medicine was. So asking me if I would choose medicine over my children is ludicrous.
I've answered both questions to myself, both the one I've been asked multiple times and the one I've only asked myself. I have never once regretted my children. Not once, not even in my worst parenting moments. But I have regretted medicine.
During the application process, I wondered if I was brave enough, outgoing enough. During medical school, I wondered if I was smart enough. During residency, I've wondered I'm dedicated enough. It's been a long process, and I've spent a lot of time, too much time, wondering if I made the right decision all those years ago.
I was driving home yesterday after a 90+ hour week, in tears because I was getting home too late to see my family, the family that I don't regret at all. I've worked so much the last several weeks that I feel I've become a non-entity in my family. I'm tired and frustrated and upset.
But I have come to terms with my choice. Just like my children, medicine was a choice. No one forced me to do this.
I know that I'll continue to be tired. And I'll continue to be questioned about my choices.
But I'm done regretting.