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A Piece of My Mind
September 12, 2001

Men's Work

Author Affiliations
 

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2001;286(10):1146. doi:10.1001/jama.286.10.1146

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.

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