Friday, August 19, 2005


Lately I've been feeling pretty burned out, and I'm not sure why. I have a job I love, a miracle baby I adore, the best husband ever, good health, and a good shrink who has me on good antidepressants. The baby weight is gone, the cats are doing well -- the neurotic one pees where he shouldn't only on very rare occasions -- and, let's see ... we're finally going to have our long-awaited bathroom remodeling!

So what's eating at me?

The death of one of the doctors in our group is probably affecting me more than I admit. I hardly knew her, though I've been filling in at her office for the last few months. However, her death hit close to home in some ways. She was only a few years older than I am. Her patients were her life (I almost said her job was her life, but that's not true; while she worked like a madwoman, she did socialize -- but mainly with people who were also her patients). I feel like I almost ended up the way she did, since for a while I didn't expect to ever marry. Her death makes me feel very grateful for what I have, and yet it's still sobering.

I also feel right now as if everything I'm doing is for someone else. I teach and counsel med students and residents. I see and counsel patients. I'm supposed to be working on a study, but I'm not the principal investigator, and I'm not actually terrifically interested in it. When I get home, the baby is on me like a large tree frog. When I do something just for myself—buy new shoes, look at other people's blogs, read junky magazines—I feel guilty. I even feel guilty for feeling burned out when I should be feeling grateful. The weird thing is, before I gave birth, I almost never felt guilty—afterward I joked to my husband that I never knew guilt was a hormone.

Putting down the list of things I do just for me was a bit eye-opening: I realize I could hardly even think of what I do just for myself these days. I can hardly think of what I WANT to do for myself anymore.

And paradoxically I find myself feeling sad that I very likely will not be able to have another biological child. My first was IVF in my late 30's, neither an easy pregnancy nor an easy baby, and I just couldn't even imagine trying immediately for another. So now time has gone by, and it's probably too late for another bio kid. I've always been open to the idea of adoption, and the possibility comforts me, but then I start thinking, what am I, crazy? I already find life overwhelming! Why would I want another child? Just for insurance?

Anyway I've been thinking that having my own blog would be something just for me. (Especially since as a new blog, it won't be read by anyone else!) Feeling a little better already.


Christine Hennebury (isekhmet/Smartmouth Mombie) said...

If someone reads, does that ruin the therapy for you? If so, I'll go away :)

bj said...

hey, I read it, too. (got here from Leery, where I'm also repeatedly refreshing). I'm commenting 'cause I

bj said...

Oops, I pushed publish before I should've. I'm commenting 'cause just yesterday, I wrote in my journal, about how I'd better learn to keep my mouth shut 'cause my life looks "perfect" from the outside: a husband, two great kids (a girl & a boy), a beautiful house, lots of money, a great job with wonderful colleagues.

I would have described my "burnout" as, "when do I get to get off and take a break?" And noone makes me stay on. It's just that whenever I reach one milestone, I have another one immediately in my sight.

PS: I'm a Ph.D. on a medical school faculty; maybe we can start a anonymous suport group for "doctor-mama's-with-lives-that-look-perfect."

bj said...


the blog is still just for you :-)


The Mommy Blawger said...

Congratulations on your new blog! I got here from Leery Polyp, too. One suggestion, you should add an atom/xml feed to your blog. Blogger has lots of Help info on how to edit your template, when you get a chance.

My third degree tear took a year to get over, too (got infected, wouldn't heal, had to be re-done). For what it's worth, my second birth (first degree, midwife-sutured) "fixed" it.

DoctorMama said...

Definitely doesn't ruin the therapy! Thanks. I'm not showing it to husband/family/noninternet friends, though, which keeps it for me -- I did tell TrophyHusband about it, and he said (of course) "it sounds like you really need that! I won't try to find it." ... Yeah, I have to learn more about the tech stuff, and will do when I have the time -- I mean, when I demand the time!
ouch -- hard to imagine me having the guts for that method of fixing a tear -- mommy blawger is brave.