How’s it going, Dr. Mom?

Lily Park, MS2, FMWC uOttawa Rep
Sara-Michelle Gratton MS2, FMWC uOttawa Rep

They say that the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws. The 5 mighty mothers who spoke at the annual, “How’s it going, Dr. Mom?” event at the University of Ottawa demonstrated nothing short of this inspiring defiance through their own personal stories. On November 2nd, with the support of FMWC and the College of Family Physicians of Canada, we invited 5 physicians from 5 different specialties to talk to medical students about their experiences with balancing their responsibilities of being a physician and a mother. With over 150 attendees, the event was a huge success!

Ashley Cochrane, Early Career Specialist, CMA

The evening began with dinner and a warm welcome from Dr. Beverly Johnson, President of FMWC. She spoke about the Federation, the benefits of becoming a member and even offered to provide 8 free memberships with Dr. Susan Wilkinson. By the end of the night, the sign-up sheets for those interested in becoming a member were filled front to back! We also had Ashley Cochrane from MD Financial talk about their partnership with FMWC and offer financial counseling for students. Both women being present at the event was very meaningful as it spoke volumes about their support beyond sponsorship.

From left to right:
Sara-Michelle Gratton (MS2, FMWC uOttawa representative)
Dr. Lisa Fischer (Emergency Medicine)
Dr. Beverley Johnson (President, FMWC)
Dr. Melissa Hansen (General Surgery)
Ashley Cochrane (Early Career Specialist, CMA)
Dr. Laura Gaudet (Obstetrics and Gynecology)
Dr. Yael Feinberg (Family Medicine)
Lily Park (MS2, FMWC uOttawa Representative)

We then started with talks from each of the speakers. This year, the panel included:

  • Dr. Yael Feinberg (PGY1 - Family Medicine),
  • Dr. Lisa Fisher (Staff – Emergency Medicine),
  • Dr. Laura Gaudet (Staff – Obs-Gyn/MFM),
  • Dr. Melissa Hanson (PGY3 – General Surgery) and
  • Dr. Melissa Keenan (PGY3 – Internal Medicine

Each of the women spoke about the challenges of being a mother and a surgeon/physician. They addressed pressing concerns most of us have thought about at one point in our lives like: qualities to look for in a partner, the best time to get pregnant, and the most manageable family size. They even ventured into topics we never really thought about but are equally as important as the top 3 places to breastfeed in the hospital and what to do when you spontaneously start lactating at work!

The stories of each physician offered many pearls of wisdom I’m sure we will all carry as we start our own careers and families. These resilient women experienced unimaginable struggles but fearlessly defied all natural laws to overcome them and be the extraordinary physicians and mothers that they are today. Raising a child throughout medical school, having a partner who is also in medicine, caring for a child with a chronic condition, and taking care of 4 children during residency sound like near impossible tasks to us medical students who are still figuring out how to take care of ourselves. Being a resident and staff physician seem difficult enough without the added challenge of being a mother and a wife. However, these women balanced it all with class and grace, empowered students to know they can do the same, and proved that the hand that rocks the cradle is truly the hand that rules the world.

Sara-Michelle Gratton, MD 2020 & Lily Park, MD 2020
University of Ottawa