I’ve spent the last 6 weeks on elective at a local hospital, in the division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
I had the privilege of seeing many women giving birth - well, maybe not so many since I still consider it a privilege: maybe if I had seen enough births, I wouldn’t like them so much.
Anyway, I loved being there when the babies take their first breath and the mothers see them for the first time and are relieved of all pain and anxiety. I loved watching the first milestone in the mother-baby dyad, as the mother fed the baby for the first time. I liked assisting women during their pregnancy, calming them and helping them get rid of their fears. I’m not sure my academic knowledge of obstetrics has improved much, but I feel like I have learned a lot. Holding a patient’s hand as she went through a miscarriage is one of the most intense things I’ve ever had to do. I will never forget how sometimes -the worst of times- a simple gesture is all we can offer.
These last few weeks forced me to confront my own ideas about life, birth, abortion and especially about motherhood.
On one particular morning, I found myself taking the anamnesis of a mother of three who was pregnant with her fourth child. She was exactly the same age as me. I couldn’t help thinking how different our lives were. And it got me thinking about my own life: about being a woman and maybe wanting to have children and have a family of my own sometime. And I got scared thinking how I can’t see that happening any time soon. I still have a long way to go academically and professionally there are so many things I want to accomplish before I settle down. I mean, I am in my mid-twenties and full of beans, but I have this feeling that very soon I’ll be 30 years old and before I know it my biological clock will start ticking… much like the tell-tale heart it will force me to face the fact that I can’t keep procrastinating, postponing and burying motherhood.
So I wonder, is having children something we really want or is it just a biological imperative? Is there such thing as a right time to have a baby? And what is it like for women who are med students or doctors? Ours is a very long and demanding career, how can we manage to have a fulfilling future, both personally and professionally? Have any of you out there with two X chromosomes ever wondered about this? Or is it my estrogen levels speaking and I should be expecting an LH surge soon? You tell me.