My husband and I got married when we were 23. Within the next year or two I developed a very severe case of “baby fever.” It got so bad that every time I’d see a baby or a pregnant woman I’d feel like my ovaries were screaming at me to become a mom!
The problem was that I was in medical school at this time, which was to be followed by 3 intense years of pediatric residency training. The life of a resident physician, working 80+ hour weeks, with lots of night and weekend shifts (and tons of stress), did not seem to be compatible with becoming a mom. So I put my desire to become a mom on hold.
This was very difficult to do, though, as I was continually around and interacting with babies and moms during my pediatric training!
I hit a point during my second year of residency, when I was 27, where I felt I was at a crossroads. I had committed to doing an additional 3 years of fellowship training after my residency to become a neonatologist.
I had no idea how I’d be able to have a newborn and be a NICU fellow.
But I also had no idea how I’d be able to wait 4-5 more years to become a mom.
One busy night, when I was working in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), I was having a difficult time focusing and was questioning whether or not to quit my residency and forgo my fellowship to become a mom. In the middle of my shift the PICU attending, Dr. Earle, and I took a break to discuss few of the patients. When we were done with our discussion, Dr. Earle asked me what was wrong (he could tell I was upset about something). I confided in him about what a difficult time I was having deciding if/when to have my first child, and worried about whether or not I’d be a bad mom if I was also a doctor in an intense field.
What he then asked me was so simple, yet profound:
“Jess, would you rather go through your fellowship with a baby or without a baby? Which will make your life better? Which will make your fellowship better?”
So, I started my fellowship a year and a half later with a baby, who is now in high school! This photo of her is from the week I started my fellowship training. Having Grace was one best decisions of my life.