Being a single mother in medical school is doable. As a young mom, you’ll want to spend as much time as possible with your youngster. You may be tempted to find schools offering online degrees in medicine.
But keep in mind that online MD degrees don’t exist. The only solution to becoming a doctor is tackling the seven year program — four in medical school and three in residency. Your greatest help with be your friends and family. Don’t expect a great dating life if you choose to become a student.
First two years
Although this depends on your school, the first two years won’t be too bad. Years M1 and M2 will be mostly reading textbooks and listening to lectures.
You should be able to spend quite a bit of time at home, especially if you use a scribe service. Then, you only need to go for labs and exams.
You’ll develop a massive body of knowledge in M1 and M2 and learn how to juggle the responsibility of school and family as a single parent in medical school.
During this time, your reliance on family and friends will be needed. But for the most part — if your child is old enough for school — you’ll be away from him or her anyway and will have a little quiet time for class and study.
Year three is when being a single mother in medical school will drastically change your life, and a solid support network will be essential.
Beyond year 3
M3 is where you apply the knowledge you learned in the classroom in clinical rotations. This is where you become a doctor, being at a patient’s bedside.
With each rotation, you’ll have a different schedule and will be on call. This will require 24-hour daycare.
And then there will be times when you think you’ll be done at a set time and spend two or three additional hours at the hospital.
It’s during this time that you’ll rarely see your children. There will be times when you’ll feel guilty for not seeing their school play or school choir.
But your family, close friends, baby-sitter, or a nanny will be there and will be taking care of your child. As a single mom in medical school, you’ll desperately need this support network — otherwise you’ll never get through M3 and M4.
Although this sounds discouraging, it can be done. But you have to be 100 percent certain you want to practice medicine.
If you’re just interested in working in health-care, consider other options, such as a physician assistant — which is bound to grow in demand due to the lack of general practitioners.
It’s also important to consider the time spent away from your kid, having them raised by someone else, and the stress on both of you. Although these are intangible, the tangible ones — like finances — are just as important.
Medical school is expensive, no doubt. But so is paying for a baby-sitter, day-in-day-out. The financial burden could be overwhelming.
That’s said, if you are 100 percent certain you want to become a physician, then don’t listen to any nay-sayers. Become a single mother in medical school and get that MD degree.