A year ago I was organizing my home office and came across some old photos from my pediatric residency days. It brought back memories of learning, commiserating, and laughing with my co-residents in the lounge when we weren’t running around the wards.
Fast forward a few years and I found myself in a new city and a new mom to twins. While I had the support of my husband and sister initially, I soon I found myself home alone during the day with two colicky babies when they both had to get back to work. I had lost my mom to cancer less than a year before and her absence was punctuated daily each time I wanted to reach for the phone to call her. It was overwhelming and exhausting to say the least. This was in the pre-physician mom Facebook group days, and the struggles that I now know many doctor moms also have, I felt like I was facing on my own.
I found early motherhood stressful because I believed I had to do “all the things” to be a good mom. Trying to be a supermom was just one of several things that led me to feeling burned out at home and work. This burnout ultimately lead me to go searching and I ended up certifying in lifestyle medicine. What started as something I did for my patients ultimately helped me prioritize my own self care and got me back on track. I wrote about my story on Kevin MD here: Lifestyle Medicine is a Prescription to Treat Physician Burnout.
Since I wrote this article, I’ve come to learn how complex the issue of burnout and moral injury really is. Most of it stems from systemic issues beyond our individual control. Self care was an important factor for my burnout, but the issue goes so much deeper than simply a need to build resiliency. We all went through brutal training to become doctors and we are fairly resilient. It often comes down to having too much on our plates and not making any space on it for ourselves.
At the Ending Physician Burnout Global Summit, Dr. Nisha Mehta said something that struck a chord in me. She equated physician burnout to a stress fracture (abnormal stress on normal bone) as opposed to an insufficiency fracture (normal stress on an abnormal bone). She concluded the solution to burnout should be to take the stress off the bone vs. making the bone stronger. To reduce stress, she suggested we take things off the plates of doctors.
So back to that night one year ago.
I thought, can I translate that environment of camaraderie and learning to life now as an attending? Moreover, can I do something to reduce the burnout we are all feeling right now?
And that’s where the concept for Doctor Moms Lounge came from.
I think about all the things that suck time out of our day. Charting, answering messages, scheduling appointments, planning things for the kids, paying bills, grocery shopping, meal planning – the list goes on. What if you could streamline this or take some of it off your plate? How would you feel?
I also think about all the things that add to our mental burden and cause us stress – our relationships, parenting, money. What if I found peers who have figured this stuff out come tell us the nitty gritty?
My goal is to curate all this information for you in one place. A place where we learn, laugh, and support each other. Much like the residents lounge back in the day.
A private virtual community of likeminded doctor moms where we can share and learn. In the Doctor Moms Lounge, you will find a private peer community where there will be an open dialogue with virtual chats, events, and classes with peer experts focused on health, relationships, parenting, and cooking.
Reclaim your time. Put yourself back on your plate.