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Lives of Doctor Wives: A Year of Firsts

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Year of Firsts

Two years ago my now mother-in-law handed me a book titled "Surviving Residency: A medical spouse guide to embracing the training years" by Kristen M. Math. It’s an amazing read. I was 23 years old, seriously dating a medical student who was approaching graduation, talking about engagement, marriage, and a life that seemed like a dream. I had no idea what God had in store for me.

When my mother-in-law handed me that book, I tore into it anxious to know about what this whole "residency" thing was about. I made it to the preface and read this:

"The medical training years present unique challenges that test even the strongest relationships. Medical school and residency training require a commitment of time and emotional resources that can leave little room for family… Even with the 80 hour workweek rules firmly in place, many students and residents find that they are exhausted by the relentless cycle of stress."

Wait. What?

I stopped dead in my reading tracks. 80-hour work week? What do you mean 80-hour workweek? Relentless cycle of stress? Exhaustion?

I’m not sure if anyone else felt this way, but I can honestly say I had no idea what being married to a physician would be like. Sure, we’d dated throughout medical school and it sucked. We didn’t get to see each other very much, and I knew he was stressed out a lot, but I was never face to face with it because we lived 30 minutes apart. But I figured, shoot, once we are married, we will be living together and even if he works long hours, I still get to see him. Little did I know…

Then before I knew it…he proposed.

After about a year of wedding planning, our lives began to speed up. Within a span of a few months, there was Match Day, graduation, our wedding and his first day as an intern.


And here I sit a year later after celebrating our first anniversary and the first year of residency, proud, extremely proud, that we made it through.

Residency is hard. In the beginning I remember looking at the calendar each month, as my DrH would post his schedule and crying. Yes. Crying. There were rotations that I absolutely dreaded; two weeks of overnight shifts, call nights, weekend calls, all of it in new rotations he’d never experienced before as a Doctor. He was exhausted all the time, stressed beyond belief, and was scared to death that he might make a bad decision.

The first year of marriage is hard. I wasn’t used to being alone that much. I got to sleep in the same bed as my husband for about 1 month before his first night shift began. I had a lot of lonely nights and embarrassing breakdowns to friends and family. There were fights, abrupt changes of plans, and prepared dinner plates that never got eaten.

But there is a season for everything. And even though this past year was hard, SO hard, I can look back now and say, "We made it." Not only did we make it, we grew so close to one another.

One year of marriage is complete. One year of residency is complete. And there are so many more years ahead of us that the years we spent in residency will look so small compared to what we will have someday. So as we say in our group, #itgetsbetter

We established rules to fight by. We agreed to always be 100% honest with each other about our feelings, regardless. We communicate, we listen, and we pick our battles. We forgive each other like God forgave us, and we embrace the fact we are a team. We are going through this together, and we will make it together.

My DrH went from escaping to hospital bathrooms and breaking down over the uncertainty of his decisions to a newfound confidence in himself I’d never seen before. I watched him work so hard to be a great physician and an amazing husband. He kicked some serious butt, and I am so proud of him. 

Granted, we are still growing. We are still experiencing our "firsts" as a married couple. But as most of you know, being married to a physician is hard work. It is emotionally draining, exhausting and stressful. And yet once you get your first "wins" together, you can start to look back and say, "We did it."

So keep doing it. It gets better sisters.

Love you all,


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Blogger r Salman said...

It sums up my life. Starting second year of residency and marriage. There is a baby on the way and I already feel alone! but as you say it gets better. Thanks

August 5, 2015 at 11:23 AM  

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