Parenting

What I’ve Learned

Five doctors—and moms—share their thoughts on health and parenting.
Photograph courtesy of Carter Smith. Portraits by Stephen Voss.

Dr. Patricia Wood

“I connect with parents on a level that truly is a product of walking in their shoes.” Portrait by Stephen Voss.

Area of Expertise:

Pediatric dentistry

Mom to:

Brandon 15 months

“Humor is a great back-up plan to help alleviate any stress and tension that may arise.”

“Every parent walking through the clinic door simply wants what’s best for their children.”

“Before I was a mom, I thought I had a good understanding of what parental concerns I needed to take into consideration for planning a course of action, but now I can connect with parents on a level that truly is a product of walking in their shoes.”

Dr. Robynne Chutkan

“I don’t torture myself or second-guess. As long as everyone is alive and breathing, I’m not worried.” Portrait by Stephen Voss.

Area of Expertise:

Gastroenterology

Mom to:

Sydney  9

“They say it takes a village, but I think it takes a country! I have a super-helpful husband, and we have a division of labor: He’s the minister of transportation, I’m the minister of education, and so on.”

“To be a good parent and doctor, I need to take care of myself, and I make that as much of a priority as everything else—I’m very good about getting in my workouts and massages or going to a movie with friends.”

“At work, I have to make so many decisions—sometimes 30 in one hour. I’ve learned that there’s usually no right or wrong answer, that you can take different roads that all lead to different places, but most of those places are just fine. Of course, when you’re a parent, you’re faced with so many decisions, and I’m comfortable making them and moving on.

Dr. Allyson Bloom

“I consciously released the handcuffs and let them have their own experiences.” Portrait by Stephen Voss.

Area of Expertise:

Emergency medicine

Mom to:

Alden 6

Ben 9

Teddy 10

“I let go of being perfect. Instead, I’m forgiving of myself. There will be moments I’m going to miss, and my kids will accept it and not hold it against me. But the moments we do share, I make sure to be present and really live in that moment.”

“It sounds clichéd, but life is short. My daily interactions with patients reminds me of this—in particular when I have to deliver results that may change their life profoundly. As a result, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t tell my children how much I love them and how proud I am to have ‘mom’ as a job title.”

“It’s easy to want your kids to live in a bubble, but they have to learn from moments in the real world. So I consciously released the handcuffs and let them have their own experiences.”

Dr. Nicole Lang

“Follow your gut. And be flexible—parenthood is all about trial and error.” Portrait by Stephen Voss.

Area of Expertise:

Pediatric medicine

Mom to:

Nia 13

“We make a special effort to plan mother-daughter outings—I’ll bring her with me to a pediatric conference, and we’ll make time to have a spa day and get our hair and nails done. Or we’ll get away together; most recently we enjoyed a trip to London, Paris, and Rome.”

“Follow your gut. And be flexible—parenthood is all about trial and error. Try not to compare your child to others. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

“It’s okay to make mistakes. Learn from them, ask forgiveness, and keep moving forward.”

Dr. Jane Nguyen

“I look at my friends who are stay-at-home moms and think they have the hardest job . . . way harder than being a doctor.” Portrait by Stephen Voss.

Area of Expertise:

Dermatology

Mom to:

Chloe 6

Madeleine  8

“I chose dermatology because there really aren’t any emergencies that will take you away from your family in the middle of the night. My husband and I coordinate our schedules so at least one of us can make the girls’ big events; they know they’re more important than our jobs. But I’ve accepted that I won’t be the mom at every dance recital or tae kwon do graduation.”

“Becoming a doctor was a long, hard road and had its challenges, but being a mom is even harder. There’s no textbook that tells you how to do it. There’s no test you can pass. It’s evolving every day. It’s my biggest challenge and my most important job.”

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