September 22, 2009

Updates - On the Other Side

Well, we are not a med school family anymore but I thought I would respond to Camille's update request because we are first years of sorts - just doing the first year of residency. In a lot of ways it is similar because we have moved to a new location and had to start fresh with building community and finding our way around.

I have to say that the one thing that I am learning so far is that being a resident's wife (or med-school wife) requires a lot of selflessness. I suppose this is true for ALL relationships but I do think that the time requirements demanded of young Dr.'s makes this attribute all the more important (and more difficult to practice!!).

Now I am definitely not saying I am anywhere CLOSE to being a selfless and perfectly supportive wife, nor am I saying that the WIFE is the only one who needs to be selfless. I am just finding that the more I try to see things through Jeff's eyes, the easier things go for our family. (And when I am supportive of him, he is better able to support me and meet my needs.)

So anyway, now I will explain. Like many of you, our past few months have felt like a hurricane. We had our first baby in January, bought our first house and both graduated (me from a master's program) in May, moved to a new state in June, started a residency and got a puppy in July...and so on. And like many of you first-year med students whose husbands are studying ALL THE TIME, I am adjusting to having a husband who has a CRAZY schedule. This past week I had a few really lonely and stressful days and I really felt frustrated that my husband wasn't there (either on call, tired from being on call, or distracted by his to-do list) to support me in the ways that he had been able to in the past. One day it hit me (duh!) that he too was going through some ENORMOUS life changes and that he was trying to perform well at his job on top of caring for our family. When I saw that he was walking through situations that were different from mine but just as challenging (if not more because he has way less free time than I do), it really made me think about how I could be more supportive of him. And as I worked to see things with those thoughts in mind, I found that I was less stressed, more understanding and our communication was much better because I didn't have a chip on my shoulder.

One of our other Tagalong members - Sarah A. said once that she tries to make sure that her home is always the place that her husband looks forward to coming home to. I thought this was great advice.

Again, I don't mean for this advice to make it seem like resident's wives or med-school wives need to sacrifice everything to make sure that their husbands are perfectly content or happy, but I am finding that I am happier too when I am less focused on my own needs. Helping my husband out enables him to better support me as well.

My only other advice for first years - GET INVOLVED and find a group of women or friends to support you when your spouse is busy! LECOM had a great Spouse Support Group and I am sure most other schools do as well. It is great to have friends who are in a similar situation and can allow you to vent and support and encourage you through a busy time of life. Sometimes it means putting yourself out there and inviting your way into things (I am starting that all over!!) but it is worth it.

God Bless and good luck!


the Jennings secede from the South said...

You're seriously one wise lady, Lauren. Thanks for the good reminder!!! We miss you!

Katie said...

Are you talking about LECOM in Pennsylvania or the Bradenton, FL campus? My MS1 is at the Bradenton campus and the support group isn't really active. The organizers are trying, but no one is really participating. I was really disappointed about it seeing as I don't really know anyone here.

Jeff and Lauren said...

We were at the LECOM in Erie, PA. Sorry to hear they aren't very organized down there!

Marissa said...

I really needed to hear your blog tonight. Thank you for some great and valued advice.