Sincerely Your Doctors Wife: Melissa’s Story
I couldn’t think of a better person to kick off this interview series other than my mother in-law! She married my father in-law back when residency training hours were much longer than training nowadays. This meant, he not only worked a ridiculous amount, but he was also gone A LOT. She had four young children between the time her husband first started residency to his first job offer after completing training. Through the thick and the thin, my mother in-law always shared with me that it was really her faith in God that got her through some of the toughest times. In case you are wondering, she was THE hopeful young bride from Wisconsin that I wrote about from my post on Mother’s day. You can read more about her story Here. The picture featured above is from me and Dr. J’s wedding. Her dress is beautiful!
Let’s get started!
Q: Please introduce yourself and how you met your husband. Can you please share where he is in his journey ( school, residency, fellowship, working) and his specialty.
Melissa: I am Melissa, mom to 4 grown up children and I currently have 1 son in-law and 2 daughter in-laws. My husband is an ENT ( ear, nose, throat) physician working at one of the Kaiser hospitals in Southern California. I met him 32 years ago when he was in his first year of residency in Wisconsin.
Q: Where were you in your lives when you and your husband started his medical professional journey?
Melissa: I had just finished my schooling and everything progressed quite fast for us. We met, got engaged, and married all during his first year of residency. His residency program was five years and he joined Kaiser for the next 27 years. He is currently still working there.
Q: Can you share some blessings you have experienced from being married to a medical professional?
Melissa: One of the blessings for me was that I could be less anxious and worried when my children got sick. I could count on my husband’s judgement and I had easy access to a doctor at home. When he was home he was basically on call for 24 hours!
Q: What are some of the challenges? How did you personally cope with them?
Melissa: During the time my husband was in residency, he worked much longer hours while in training compared to residents nowadays. He left home before the sun even rose and came back home very late at night. The calls were often frequent and he was very busy. I had to adjust to his absence constantly, which became a big challenge for our relationship and as a family later on. I am thankful though as I was freshly out of the school when we first got married, reading pretty much occupied majority of my free time. Journaling was also another way I kept myself preoccupied. As a Christian though, church played an important part in my life during this season. The church body was very much my other family. Being connected with people there provided me profound support. My personal walk with the Lord and faith in Him ultimately remained a crucial part in carrying me through the days of loneliness and discouragement.
Q. Do you have any advice or tips for other doctor’s wives or wives married to husbands with demanding work schedules?
Melissa: An advice I have for women in the same shoes is to keep yourself busy and make the best use of the time you are given. For me, journaling in order to reflect upon the daily mundane was very helpful in cultivating thankfulness. I believe consistently getting involved and volunteering at church or any decent organization are good ways to stay connected to people. Your times alone can also open up opportunities for you to cultivate a new found hobby or refine skills you may already have.
Q: Are there any stereotypes or misconceptions about being a doctor’s wife that you would like to dispel and clear up?
Melissa: I believe a certain misconception some people may have towards physician wives is that we live very polished and perfect lives with little sacrifice needed on the wife’s end. However the reality is, it requires much sacrifice on our end. Being a physician is a hard-earned, time consuming, but also rewarding profession. It will require us, their spouses, a great amount of understanding and willingness to walk alongside our husbands throughout their entire journey. It is not pretty all the time, but being a wife is a blessing and high calling from God. People often only see the finished result, but not the rigorous process it took to get there. Part of our role as a wife is to persevere with our husband though the hardest trials and also celebrate his accomplishments with him together.