At least once a day, I get the question: “Why did you go into OB/GYN?” Ninety percent of the time the question is posed by a woman, who can’t possibly understand why I enjoy spending my days (any many nights) doing what many would call the “gross” work of delivering babies, providing cervical cancer screening, and caring for a long list of other nebulous issues most commonly dubbed “female problems.” I will be first to admit that Obstetrics and Gynecology was not my original career goal. In fact, on my first OB/GYN experience as a 1st year med student, I was cringed so far in the corner, I almost became part of the floral print wallpaper. As a senior student, however, it dawned on me that everything I was most passionate about was connected to Women’s Health. So after some soul searching and a lot of prayer, I took the giant leap from General Surgery to OB/GYN. I couldn’t be happier with that decision today.
Coco Chanel once said “Some women are born with glitter in their veins.” I know this quote because my medical school roommate says it always makes her think of me. I am 100% G-I-R-L. Sparkles, lace and lip gloss. High heels, accessories, and nail polish. I love all things lady and lovely. I knew I would change my specialty when my Dean told me to be considered for a job, I should stop with the weekly baking of cupcakes in the General Surgery Department, and to tone down the pink. One practical reason I chose OB/GYN is that it embraces all things feminine, yet it’s filled with surgery and procedures. I have yet to have one patient complain about my penchant for pink, and no one complained about my weekly baking on Labor and Delivery once during my residency. We dressed well, and you might find someone having their hair flat ironed in the resident’s lounge in preparation for a Friday night out. OB/GYN was certainly the place for me!
There are other reasons that this field calls to me, though. I truly believe that women are the center of our world. Take a moment to reflect on that. Without women, where would you be? Would you be at all? Mothers and women are at the heart of families, communities, cities, states, and our countries. They are our first nurturers, teachers, loves, protectors, providers, cheerleaders and friends. If we consider all of the great leaders who have been and who now are, how many credit their success to the women in their lives?
Women are the guardians of life. The sacred Eden in which modern-day creation takes place is inside of our bodies, and women alone are entrusted with the task of carrying and delivering human life—how amazing is that?!
This is why I count it such a privilege to care for women: they are the epicenter. If I can help a woman have a healthy pregnancy and delivery, then she will be more likely to remain healthy and to have a healthy child who will grow up strong. If I can teach a woman with high cholesterol to make more healthful choices, then her husband and family will also be more likely to eat better and exercise as well. If I can encourage one woman to get her mammogram, she will encourage her sisters and girlfriends to have their mammograms. If I can breakdown what is really happening during puberty and the menstrual cycle for one teenager, she will break it down to her bffs so that one day, they will teach their daughters. If I can help one woman seek help for depression or mental illness, she will tell other women that they too can be free. If I can empower one woman, she will empower all those within her reach.
Well women will only improve the health and wealth of our communities and our world. And although I do like wearing all the pink I can stand, doing surgery, and catching cute babies; knowing that I am blessed to have the opportunity of making some small impact on the world—one woman at a time—is the real reason I felt led to choose OB/GYN
joy is a small-town OB/GYN