You might expect that physicians who focus specifically on children would have an advantage when it comes to parenthood. While we’re grateful for the experience and the training we’ve had, let us assure you that becoming a new mom or dad is anything but easy, no matter what your background! As we celebrate Mother’s Day, we share some of our reflections on the joys, challenges and surprises of parenthood.
What surprised me the most was how much motherhood impacted me. From a pervasive global standpoint, I was always a career woman. But I remember thinking after they were born “Gosh I really could stay home with this baby and restructure my entire life to be with this baby!” You have no concept of how much it’s going to rock your world. What also surprised me was how hard it was to make time for myself. And it’s important to do that. To be a good mom you have to be well-rested, exercise, eat right, and make time for you. To be your best mom you have to be good to yourself.
Kelly Ross, MD
I was surprised at how truly HARD it was to breastfeed. My son and I had huge difficulties to overcome and it took him until he was almost 4 weeks old before he successfully latched on a regular basis. It is such a joy to be able to breastfeed him though. I was also surprised at how little sleep you really get and how sleep deprived you are. I guess I thought feeding every three hours meant you had 2.5 hours to do other things – oh so wrong!
Also surprising was how much we both just absolutely LOVE it! I knew I’d love my baby, but every day I love him more and more and he is SO fun, even at 2 o’clock, 4 o’clock, and 6 o’clock!!!! All the new baby things are just adorable and I can’t get enough time with him. It is truly the most exhilarating and fun thing I’ve ever experienced!
Misty Deming, MD
When I first became a parent I just couldn’t figure out how to find good, reliable, parenting advice. The internet, the television, and the book store are full of parenting advice, and all if it is different! Society has such high expectations for parents these days, and perfect strangers don’t hesitate to criticize me in public. I once was caring for a fussy newborn while in line to vote, and at least six people came and gave me unsolicited advice! Ultimately, I have come to trust the guidance of my colleagues in pediatrics. I am privileged and pleased to contribute to the ChildrensMD blog in an effort to help other parents find reliable parenting advice.
Kathleen Berchelmann, MD
As a pediatrician and doting aunt, I obviously knew I loved kids. What surprised me was how much I loved the little guy. I rearranged my whole career after he was born: I took 6 months off and came back to work only part-time. I have been part-time ever since.
Rachel Orscheln, MD
Pediatric Infectious Diseases
I love how great it feels when your kids “ask” for a hug from you by stretching out their arms wide!
Katie Plax, MD
My biggest challenge of parenthood is allowing my children to find their own way, to learn things on their own. It is easy to impart the wisdom of my life experience (though they rarely listen to my advice), but hard to watch them struggle to learn a new and difficult task by themselves. I now understand that overcoming those obstacles is important to a child’s self-esteem.
LeGrande Rives, MD
I was most surprised by the overwhelming love I felt for my son—I fell head over heels for him. I still feel that way about both he and my daughter and want to do everything possible to keep them healthy and happy.
Alexis Elward, MD
Pediatric Infectious Diseases
Having a new baby is a lot more work than I anticipated!
Abby Kushnir, MD
The biggest thing that surprised me when I became the mother of two was just how much time it took to chase down both kids at once. You’ve got one running off to the left, the other running off to the right and you’re standing in the middle thinking “Where do I go and how do I get these two kids back under control?”
Amanda Emke, MD
When my daughter was born in 1999, as a first-time parent I was overwhelmed by the process of trying to juggle my responsibilities as a mother and also as a doctor. I went back to work when she was about 2 months old. As a strong supporter of breastfeeding, trying to do that until she was about 10 months old was probably the biggest challenge as a working mother. The most important thing to do as a new mom would be to avoid stressing and taking one day at a time until you become comfortable with the whole process of caring for the newborn.
Shobha Bhaskar, MD
What surprised me most was how much I could love another being, how I much I would want to care for and be with that being, and what an amazing impact having my own children would have on my desire to care for the children of others – to help families with children with heart disease to better understand the road ahead of them.
Angela Sharkey, MD