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Lives of Doctor Wives: We all sacrifice in this life we’ve chosen

Friday, January 31, 2014

We all sacrifice in this life we’ve chosen

"My first year out of college, I lived at home with my parents. I guess I should be 100% transparent—I lived at home for my last 2 years of school, in order to save money and work more. Full time school plus full time nannying job equals a really busy college student. And then I graduated, got a job in my hometown and paid back my loans. Besides going to see my future husband at his med school, I didn’t have much to do. None of my old friends came back to our town. So, I did what anyone who worked night shift 4 days a week would do--I spent those lonely nights off practicing what I loved. I baked.

I’d quietly toil away in the kitchen, kneading bread, mixing dough, rolling cookies.  Most mornings, my parents awoke to fresh baked something or others to be brought with them to work.  Oh, it’s your boss’ birthday tomorrow? Here’s a three layer Chocolate Guinness Cake for you to bring.  Early morning meeting? Homemade cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting.  I remember one morning I had a work meeting. The previous night, I baked up 3 loaves of fresh bread. I grabbed some butter, some of our homemade jam (from the most recent strawberry season) and took that warm bread to the most delicious meeting ever.  
The food was always so well received. It seemed to me that baking was a lost art, and for me it came naturally.  It was a way for me to relax. To decompress after having a tough night working at my “real” job—a nurse.

Then, I got my dream job at a children’s hospital. And I moved in with my DrH. I was truly so excited and happy to finally live with this man who I had been in love with since high school. After 5 years, we were finally at a place in life where we could live our lives together, and not just intersecting every other weekend for a few days at a time.  But with this wonderful change, came a really small apartment with an even smaller kitchen.  I mean really small—standing room for one person only. Can’t open the fridge and the oven at the same time. Only one small square of counter space.  Soon, my favorite hobby and way to relax became a distant memory.  I stopped stocking the kitchen with *the essentials*--they kept going stale before I could use them up.  My first big post-college purchase, my coveted Kitchen Aide Mixer became dusty in the back of the closet.

My husband knew that I missed it.  But really, there wasn’t anything either of us could do about it. We couldn’t afford to move to a bigger apartment with a bigger kitchen.  He didn’t want to live farther from school.  And it really wasn’t that important in the grand scheme of things. I was willing to sacrifice this part of me for the good of our relationship and our lives.

I gave up an important part of my life. I sacrificed. I continue to sacrifice for the sake of training. We all do in this Doctor’s Wife life we lead. We’re now in our first year of residency, and things are a little better. Now, we have dual income which means a better apartment with a HUGE kitchen.  We aren’t poor, but we’re not rich. We’ve come a long way in the last few years.  And it’s an adjustment.

I’ve been baking a bit here and there. But I’m not as drawn to it as I once was.  The measuring and feeling and tasting that used to come naturally don’t anymore.  Maybe I’ll get it back. Maybe I won’t.  I’m really worried I won’t. I’m worried it will be the part of me that I lost to training. It seems so silly, but to me it’s not.  Baking was one thing I always pictured myself doing with a couple babies under my feet, helping me pour flour into a bowl, spilling it on the floor in the process. It was something that I treasured for the art of it, for the simplicity, for the deliciousness that resulted.  Now, it’s gone.

We all sacrifice in this life we’ve chosen. We sacrifice our husbands, our families, our friendships.  We lose days upon weeks upon years of time that could have been spent in other ways.  We lose pieces of our relationships with our husbands, with the hope that one day we’ll be able to sew all of those pieces back together.  And sometimes, we lose pieces of ourselves."

Alli Chan (Alli RN on facebook)

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