One of the most influential women says “ no woman can have it all”. It is true. The race to have it all has become the center of many women’s lives.
But what is “having it all”? I know I haven’t ever felt that I have it all. I really truly have never had it all, not when I was a 23 year old medical graduate with good prospects for a career and husband both. I didn’t have it all then. I didn’t have it all when I married a reasonably successful software engineer who has proved to be the love of my life. I didn’t have it all when I scored a residency in a fairly competitive program. I never had it all.
But I have spent a good portion of my life thinking that that girl, and that girl and that girl has it all. As life has a way of proving its wisdom to us, I ultimately have personally known all women I once envied at one time or another. And I was shocked at how little they had when I actually had more. I actually had almost all when I was wondering why I didn’t have that one thing I desperately wanted.
I was in residency training when I had my first child. It was so hard. I had a nanny who basically ran the operation as she liked. My husband ended up doing everything himself. We were frustrated and I thought of quitting residency almost everyday.
A woman who was a fellow physician and had given birth with me and had struggled for years to get into a training program met me and her first words were “ I’m so jealous of you. You have it all”. My jaw dropped. I hadn’t heard that in years. Did I have it all? Apparently. This person is saying it so it must be true. Then why don’t I feel like I have it all? I should be happier, healthier if I have it all.
The fact is that I didn’t have it all. She just thought so because she wasn’t a part of all the nights the baby didn’t sleep until I paced her across the room fifty times, when I was late for her shots because I couldn’t get a day off, when I couldn’t be at most doctor’s appointments with my husband, when I couldn’t be at a reunion that our Toronto friends had that my husband attended as the only single man in a sea of couples, when I lost my second baby at nine weeks and had to wait two weeks to get an OR date for a DNC.
I try to count my blessings more now. Any time I think someone else has it all I think how I may be that someone else for someone else out there. We are all #goals to someone out there. We should be happy with this knowledge. The concept of contentment as explained by Michelle Obama.