Not Enough

There are days where I feel like I am superwoman.  Like I can do it all.  I can be an amazing physician and an amazing mother and still come home and put an amazing meal on the table for my family.  I feel like I can do anything.

And then there are days where I feel like such a failure – at medicine, at motherhood, at marriage, at everything.  I feel like I can’t do it all – like I can’t do anything, really.

Those are usually the days where my daughter is the first to be dropped off at daycare and the last to be picked up.  Those are the days where the only quality time I get to spend with her is putting her clothes on in the morning and taking them off for bedtime.  And those are the days where the fear creeps in.

The fear that I’m not enough for her.

What if some day in the future she looks at me and says, “Mom, you weren’t there enough.  You missed too many things.”?  What if she resents me for having a career?  What if she wishes she had a different mom – a mom who stayed home, who could come to every recital and every basketball game and every speech meet?

And what if she’s right?  What if I’m not enough?

I think that maybe the only thing scarier than that is if she thinks that she wasn’t enough.  What if she thinks I became a physician because being her mom wasn’t enough for me – that she wasn’t enough for me?

What if someday she finally figures out just how selfish I am?  I knew being a physician and a mother would mean missing things.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to come to field trips and bring treats for class parties and host play dates with the other kids’ moms.  But I did it anyway.

I can’t escape these thoughts.  But I hope I’m wrong.    I hope that she can see just how much being her mother means to me and how I wouldn’t give that up for a million years of being a physician.  And I hope she knows that even when I’m not there, she is still with me.  She is in my thoughts and on my mind.  She is the face I see during the day when I can’t wait to get home.  She is a part of me.  The sacrifices that I make are sacrifices that she makes.  And she shares in the lives that I touch and the work that I do.  I just hope she knows that.

One of my favorite poems of all time by ee cummings sums it up.  For this Valentine’s Day, I’m giving a children’s book adaptation of this poem to Anika.  She might not understand the words now, but I hope someday she will understand.

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

by ee cummings
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
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About emilyehoward

My name is Emily, and I am a first year Internal Medicine Resident in Phoenix, Arizona. I live with my husband Nicholas and my daughter Anika. And I hope you enjoy my blog!
This entry was posted in Doctor, Health Care, Medical Student, Medicine, Osteopathy, Physician and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Not Enough

  1. Monica says:

    Emily, I started to read your comments a few weeks ago, I love the candor in each of them as the golden part of your personality.
    As a mom of two grown boys and a still young daughter, I can tell you that she will be as proud of you as you are for her. You will be her example, and even more, her inspiration for life!
    I remember those days, when they were so young and my job responsibilities required me for long hours, I used to feel guilty even though I knew that the main reason for doing it were them. But now when we talk as adults about these years, they want that I do again in my new career in the health field in my almost 50’s. Believe that she will be so proud of having you as a mom!

    Monica

  2. Your daughter would resent you for being there for her at the expense of following your dreams. Right now in your training you will sacrifice time with your family, but that’s beyond your control. When you are practicing you will be surprised how much free time there will be and how much you will be available for your daughter. I have felt all of those things, except for making a great meal, that shit is never going to happen, as you may have guessed I am the worst cook in the world!

  3. Dear Emily, you spoke the words right out of my heart. It’s so tough being a med student momma. I’ve been in that same boat of wondering if I could ever be enough for all of these capacities. Some days I’m superwoman and feeling like a rock star, but most days I feel like I am failing at at least one of the three titles of student, wife, and momma–if not all of them! You are not alone! I am so encouraged by you, to know that someone else is doing this too. What I have found, though, is that the person judging us the harshest is ourselves! You’re doing a GREAT job and I am sure your entire family is SO PROUD of you and everything you do! It is my hope that some day when our daughter Natalie is older, she will realize that part of why I’m doing what I’m doing is to show her that she can have many passions and dreams and be unbound in her wild pursuit of all of them! You truly ARE superwoman! Hang in there, friend.

  4. cookt206 says:

    First of all I can not imagine doing what you do as a mother. I am a single female in medical school and feel overwhelmed! To have a daughter – hats off to you!! Second, your daughter will admire you. Not only for being her mother but for being a physician – for helping strangers in your community every single day whom unfortunately might need your love and care more than she does some days. I look up to you for your sacrifice and think how hard it may be, your daughter will only do the same!!

  5. rkflucas says:

    Wow! Thank you so much for writing this and being brutally honest! You are a hero! Keep hanging in there!

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