Hi All, it’s Charlotte here (albeit briefly) just introducing you to one of our new monthly contributors Hannah. Hannah is mother to Oscar (who will turn two in October) and also a Doctor. We steer clear of offering any kind of medical advice on Rock My Family because the fact is, none of the team are qualified to do so. Yet I know only too well, how important the health of your children is and how confusing it can be when it comes to recognising potentially fatal symptoms or thinking you are completely overreacting – and everything in-between.
That’s where Hannah comes in. Please give her a very warm community welcome in the comments box below.
Hello! My name is Hannah, and I am a wife, mother and doctor.
Ben and I met at medical school ten years ago, in the library, whilst we were supposed to be studying for our exams. One evening, as we both packed away our books, Ben asked if he could walk me home, and, as they say, the rest is history.
We married in July 2014, and in October 2015 our beautiful son, Oscar, was born. Motherhood has presented me with challenges that, even as a doctor, I had never anticipated. In our journey so far with Oscar, I can now proudly say that I have first hand experience with going two weeks overdue and narrowly avoiding an induction, shoulder dystocia during birth, terrible sleep problems – our boy fed every 1-2 hours at night until he was 6 months old – sleep training, an aversion to solid food in favour of milk (even now!), and a planned operation at 12 months old. Becoming a mother has made me a far more resilient person; it has made me both doubt my abilities and affirmed just how much I am capable of, and it has also made me appreciate the true meaning of sleep deprivation! Despite all of these things, Oscar is simply the sweetest, funniest, most intelligent little boy we ever clapped eyes on and he is, without a doubt, the best thing that ever happened to Ben and I.
After five years of medical school, I qualified in 2010 as a doctor and spent my first two junior doctor years working in hospitals in Yorkshire. At this point, many doctors start to specialise in a particular area, however Ben and I chose to spend a year working in New Zealand to gain some more experience (and it didn’t hurt that it is such a beautiful country!). During my junior doctor years I spent time working in many different departments, including A&E, paediatrics, and obstetrics and gynaecology. On our return to the UK, I began specialising in General Practice. I am now in the final 6 months of my training, however as I returned to work part time following maternity leave, I am due to become a fully qualified GP in February 2018. At present, I work in a GP practice, and have the same duties as the other GPs, although I always have a senior doctor on hand, should I need to ask for advice.
My average working day goes something like this:
Oscar in in the habit of waking very early, so somewhere between 4.30am and 6am he’ll decide that it’s daytime. Ben and I take it in turns to get up, depending on who is more in need of a lie in! I leave the house at 7.30am, and drop Oscar off at his nursery at 8am, which is handily right next to my work. I start seeing patients at 8.30am; I have ten minute appointments, although often it’ll take longer than this to manage a difficult case, and I’ll have to work very hard to keep to time. Over the middle of the day, I’ll visit patients in their home. My practice covers a rural area so sometimes it can take a while to get to a patient in their farm in the middle of the Yorkshire countryside! I’ll usually eat lunch at my desk whilst tackling paperwork. My afternoon clinic finishes at around 6pm, and I have to collect Oscar from nursery by 6.30pm, which usually results in a bit of a mad rush to get there on time! Once we get home, I’ll bath Oscar and put him straight to bed for as soon after 7 pm as we can manage, as he’s usually a little wild with tiredness. Ben gets home around this time; we’ll make some tea and collapse on the sofa for an hour before we creep up to bed by about 9.30pm. I must admit, I often feel quite wired at this time and can’t sleep, so I’ll spend another hour reading the whole of the internet before calling it a night.
I love being a doctor, but juggling my career with motherhood has been a challenge, to say the least, and I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever feel like I’ve got the work/life balance sussed. Some days, I’ll go through a work day having been up most of the night with a teething baby, and have to take calls from the nursery in between patients to let me know that Oscar has spiked a high temperature. Having been through all of this myself, I have a profound respect for all mothers, whether you parent round the clock or have returned to work (both equally hard in my opinion); it can really push you to the limits at times — and I’m grateful that now, when I see a mum as a patient, I can truly relate to how they must be feeling.
Over the next few months I’ll be writing some health-related posts that will aim to enlighten you on some really important topics, bust some myths and hopefully, either empower you with the knowledge to manage a situation with confidence, or to know exactly who to contact and when. The internet can be a minefield; there is some brilliant advice mixed in with some incorrect, and frankly, dangerous advice, and it’s often difficult to tell the two apart. One minute we’re being told to contact our GP at the first sign of illness, and the next we’re being told to stay away and manage it ourselves. I’m only too aware of how confusing all of these mixed messages can be. I’d like to be able to provide some clarity on some of the most important situations you’ll be faced with as a parent-to-be, or parent, once and for all! I must add, what I won’t be doing is giving any individual advice, although I’ll do my best to answer any questions that relate to the post in the comments section.
If there are any topics that you think it would be useful to learn more about, let me know in the comments! And, any questions about me, being a doctor or any of the ramble above, just shoot!