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January 24, 1986

The Dilemmas of Mothers Who Are Physicians and of Physicians Who Are Mothers

Author Affiliations

Veterans Administration Medical Center Pittsburgh

JAMA. 1986;255(4):465. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370040034012

To the Editor.—  I read "Equal, Not Really"1 when I, too, was facing the problem of integrating mothering and a career as a physician and found no encouragement there. The article is timely, since there are an ever-increasing number of female physicians and physician couples facing the problem of child rearing. However, the article illustrates that, although society supports women professionals in general, when conflicts arise this support vanishes!As I read Anonymous' article, I heard the pain of a mother exacerbated by society's traditional expectations of a mother's role. Because of her love for her son she was vulnerable to the guilt so readily laid at her feet by school officials. Then, she became sapped of her emotional strength, which, in turn, eroded her confidence and effectiveness as a mother and physician.In critically approaching the "educators' " evaluation of her son's speech problem, I raise two objections. First, could