Doctor and Mother
Rebecca Adams, self-proclaimed 'ordinary ophthalmologist' whose letter sparked the idea for this feature, reflects on a life spent between two great loves
Phoebe Harkin |
I consider myself to be an ordinary ophthalmologist. I have been practicing for a long time and I have seen a great deal over the years. One basic thing I have noticed is that women ophthalmologists are not talked about as much as men. Sometimes they are not talked about at all. And though some of the old attitudes towards men and women have changed, certain social stereotypes are still in full force. Women are still expected to be mothers before everything else. But my love for my family has always been equal to my love of ophthalmology. My husband would probably disagree.
Our home life has been built around my career. If there was an emergency, it took priority over everything else – and I think that’s true of a lot of physicians, not just ophthalmologists. To be successful, you need to have a support system. Mine was my husband, who was a parent, bodyguard, assistant and partner – the ‘wind beneath my wings’ person who allowed me to be the ‘star’ of the family. It’s taken for granted that the wife of the physician will take on that role, but not many men can do it. It’s too bad his name isn’t on my 35 years certificate from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, because he earnt it too.
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