From Diapers to Microsurgery

life on maternity leaveMy maternity leave ended when I went back to work earlier this month. I had mixed feelings about the return to the world of medicine and surgery. In one sense, I was so looking forward to once again doing what I have been trained to do and love to do. In the other sense, I knew how difficult it was going to be to leave my little man Nicholas.

Becoming a mom has been a life altering experience. I had no idea the impact it would have on me until it occurred. When he was first born I was struck with the newness of the responsibility. I was no longer the most important person in my world he was…he was everything. It was as if I had passed through a thin boundary into some finer land where the self dissolved and another was born. I was overwhelmed by the unconditional love I felt for this precious little person. This has only grown in magnitude over the year I have been blessed to spend with him.

eye surgeryAs women I think our choices can be challenging. But we can never lose sight of the fact that they are OUR choices. Never let anyone judge you. We have to follow our own instincts in these circumstances and do what is right for us and our families. I chose to take a full year off after Nicholas was born, some of my colleagues go back after 6 weeks and some never go back. Only by looking into our own hearts do we truly find the path that is right for us. The issue of balance is a challenging one and I honestly wonder if that should be our goal anyway. There are going to be days when I will be miserable having to leave Nicholas, but I am sure there will also be days when I am looking forward to the challenge of practicing medicine and the adult conversation. I don’t think we find the perfect balance rather I think it is a day to day process. I suspect flexibility and a sense of humor will be tools that will come in handy in the next little while.

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It is interesting to me how the universe often provides what we need when we need it. Just before I went back to work my oldest friend Sarah invited me to an event put on by Mom Café. It is a great organization based out of Vancouver that gets Moms together to discuss business and personal topics. The energy and support in the room was amazing.

I asked some of the other moms how they handled their transition back into career after baby and I received some very wise advice. Someone pointed out that you are likely a better parent is you are not a parent every minute of every day. Also by getting out there and contributing in the world you are being a great role model for your child. It was also mentioned that by exposing your child to care givers other than yourself you are broadening their horizons and helping with socialization.

The support of many of the amazing ladies at this meeting underscored for me the importance of putting a positive spin on your decisions and supporting yourself with the right attitude. As I mentioned earlier, no one is forcing you to take a particular action. I realize there are often financial and other factors involved in a decision. But you always have the freedom to choose your own course of action. This applies to anything not just balancing work and family. Remain flexible and positive and don’t forget to laugh at yourself on occasion.

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