A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne
K. Young, Associate Editor.
During my pediatrics residency, I thought it odd when a father popped
up in the clinic. At best, most dads were present at their child's birth and
at the first two or three well-child visits. By the time their babies were
several months old, the dads were like summertime RSV: reported but rare.
Meanwhile, the press had been championing the "new" fathers, supposed hands-on
partners in their children's care. If this was the trend, why wasn't I seeing
them at my clinic?
Halfway through my residency, I became a father. I tried to balance
unexpected 5 PM emergencies at the hospital, 36-hour shifts, and post-call
exhaustion with the overwhelming force that drew me to my son. Ultimately,
I found no sane balance in residency. When my wife and I talked about our
life thereafter, with her own residency looming on the horizon, we knew we
wanted a change. The day after I completed my training, I became an at-home
father for our 18-month-old son; a choice not all men can make, but one that
felt right to me.
Garfield CF. Men's Work. JAMA. 2001;286(10):1146. doi:10.1001/jama.286.10.1146