[This is a guest post]
I am a family physician who has been out of residency for 3 years. I had never really wanted to have a family up until a year or two ago. Now I really want to start a family and I feel trapped. I bring in 2/3 of our household income and I have over $180k in student loans. I am looking into part time work as an attending at my residency program but they have no openings since they’ve recently been bought out by a health system. I would like to be a stay-at-home mom at least until my kids are in school but I feel guilty that it would be a waste of a very expensive education. The office I currently work at is poorly managed and I am not respected at all, (I’ve been there 9 months now and they still have the old doc’s name on the sign!) I got more respect as a resident! Every day I go home depressed and I don’t even enjoy the patient interactions the way I used to. I feel like nothing more than a “means to an end” for not only my patients (who seem to get more demanding every day), but also the hospital system that owns our practice. To them, my only value is how many patients I can see in a day. The older, male physicians here get pretty much whatever they want and I am pretty much expected to “suck it up” whenever they want me to do more, even though I am their top-earning FP every month. I know if I have a child right now, I will regret not being there for the child and I will bring home remnants of the “toxic” environment I work in. I feel obligated to work full time due to financial constraints but if we have a child I will not feel right unless I can be home with my children a significant part of the time. I pretty much feel burnt out only 3 years out and this makes me feel guilty and I wonder if I’m just lazy and not cut out to do this. The sad things is, I feel like I’m a good family doc and that I not only practice current evidence-based medicine but also have good rapport with my patients. I just feel like the important things in life are my current (and hopefully) future family and the current healthcare system we work in won’t allow me to have a family. I am not getting any younger and I just feel lost. If it weren’t for Ativan every few nights, I probably wouldn’t get any sleep at all. I have no idea what to do. I just know things can’t continue like this.