If I had to choose a color to describe the content of my soul, I would have to pick gray. The kind with an ‘a’, not with an ‘e’. An ever-changing balance of dark and light. It may sound meek, but I believe it to be dynamic. It’s definitely not black- charred and despondent with no positive outlook- it’s just that some days are merely a darker shade of gray. And it’s definitely not white- filled to the brim with purity and optimism- but sometimes it is silver. It shines and sparkles with joy, beauty and value. Over the past few months, I have been seeking that which makes me more silver than charcoal. Attempting to find the daily routine that brings out that metallic of my soul and makes me feel more than just alive.
I entered my Obstetrics and Gynecology rotation with the utmost pessimism. I was all like, “Oh heck no, I have absolutely no interest in this. Pregnant ladies are wayyy too difficult and emotional for me.” It only took seeing my first Cesarean delivery to be wowed by the miracle of life. Not just wowed, but blown away. I felt a cold shell that I didn’t know existed melt away. I felt grateful for the plastic eye shield that made my tears look like condensation. And it only took seeing my first vaginal delivery to know that something within me would never feel the same.
As a young girl, my life goal was to be married with a child by my mid-twenties as my parents were. As I got older, I realized that I would have to choose a priority- the young family of my childhood diary or the career in medicine that intellectually tantalized me. Spoiler alert! I chose to pursue my academic interests, which to me were, at the expense of the house with the white picket fence, a dog and 2.5 children. I accepted that and built a wall to convince myself that my life fulfillment would come from my career achievements, which luckily consisted of helping others and saving lives, and I definitely didn’t need all that other mushy stuff. When my parents got divorced while I was in college, that wall became fortified. I have been very content, thus far, with my focus being on my career.
That was, until I watched a new mother hold her baby. Until I watched a wife and husband marvel over the beautiful life that they had created, over the being that would make them more than a couple. Until I got to be a part of a family in the making. It was the first time that I yearned for my own family. It was the first time I knew that what I considered success would never be enough.
I don’t know if this means that I found the specialty that I am meant to pursue. I am not sure if this was a “professional epiphany.” But my third year clerkships have given me a “personal epiphany”, which is far more enlightening and confusing. Thanks, OB/GYN.