Hold on to your hats folks, because you’re about to be amazed by this one! Today’s Your Lines comes to us courtesy of one amazing mama–she is a wife, mother, and get this–a medical student. Like someone else I know, Jasmine Johnson of The Mrs. The Mommy. The M.D. became unexpectedly pregnant during her senior year of college. Unlike some else I know, however, Jasmine went on without so much as catching her breath, having her baby and interviewing for med school a mere 11 days after giving birth. Yes! For real! I admire this woman in so many ways, from her work ethic and persistence, to her personal story and testimony. Be sure to check out her blog and read on for the full interview…
How did you start on the path to become a doctor?
Medicine has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My dad graduated from medical school when I was two years old, was in residency until I was nine, and then was ALWAYS working. My mom tells me that before I could read, I would be the first person to swipe his surgery journals out of the mail. I was fascinated by the idea of surgery. Plus, I was a bit of germ-o-phobe and hypochondriac so I guess I ultimately channeled that into something constructive (LOL). But honestly, I knew medicine was for me when I saw how much of an impact my dad had on his patients. I wanted to be able to make that kind of a difference in the lives of others, and I haven’t looked back since.
I feel silly asking this, but what is the hardest part about combining med school and motherhood?
Not a silly question at all! Surprisingly, the things I thought would be the hardest initially – like dealing with Nate (my son) being sick during the school week and finding great childcare were not what ended up catching me off guard. It gets tricky during exam time. As a first year, I usually would have our son visit my parents or my husband’s mom for a week, so I could study. But second year hasn’t been as straight forward. I really have to be on top of studying weeks before the exams. Of course, I would much rather be at home enjoying time with my family. Plus, I experience extreme, self-inflicted mommy guilt when I am away.
What was your reaction to seeing your “two lines”—finding out you were pregnant your senior year of college? (Hey…sounds familiar! 😉
The summer before senior year I felt I was in my element. Not only did I stay on campus to study for the MCAT, I was also spending plenty of time relishing my last hurrah in undergrad. So needless to say, I felt unstoppable and when I saw my two lines, I immediately thought I had hit a wall of bricks. Everything went from great to instantly in shambles – at least that is how it felt.
I didn’t have any type of well-constructed plan, or knew what was going to happen from that moment forward, but one thing did not change. I still wanted to go to medical school, so I continued with my original plan of taking the MCAT and pushed my applications forward. I think for my own sanity or preserving at least one part of my “pre-baby” plan, I could not allow myself to put medical school on hold.
What do you love about being a young mom?
This may sound cliché, but I feel like I did not become fully “me” until I became a mother. It’s amazing because you have no idea how much joy one little person can bring. Now, I can’t imagine doing this, or being here with out him. He gives me a reason to smile even on the hardest of days. He really is my best buddy.
What’s a typical day in your life look like? (Details please!)
It’s kind of boring actually…haha! Class starts at 9, so I am up by 7 to get the little one and I dressed, fed, and out the door by 8. My ideal morning consists of me being awake around 5:30 or 6 so that I can study a bit while quietly sipping my coffee and collecting my thoughts for the day, But…sleep deprivation wins that battle. Every time.
Back to real life: The little one tells me that he is going “to study at school too” as I take him to his classroom, he happily kisses mommy goodbye and I head to campus. I am usually in class until 4 or 5PM (“in class” means I am sitting in a lecture hall from 9-12, we have an hour for lunch, and then my afternoon is spent in lab or practicing clinical skills). When class is over, and depending on how close I am to exams, I may stay in the library for a few more hours. But most of the time I meet the hubby and Nate at home to hang out until it is time for the little one to go to bed (which we try to make happen at 8). Afterward, it is back to the books until 11 or 12 [insert time with the hubby too], sleep, and repeat.
So…how do you relax? Assuming you have the time, of course?
SLEEP. I have all these shows on my DVR, but I only have extra time for sleep right now. When I want to shake things up a bit (LOL), I have been trying to make more of an effort when it comes to pampering myself and making sure that I am doing things for me. For example, I try and get occasional pedicures or hair appointments to reward myself after an exam block. I spend a lot of time putting energy into making sure everyone is taken care of, so it feels great when I am able put some of that energy towards myself.
Do you feel that U of M was supportive of you as a student parent? Definitely curious about this one, as I’m a Michigan gal myself!
With regard to my classes, I don’t know how the graduate/professional school experience compares at U of M, but my professors were all very accommodating. I think that because I was due during my last semester of college, I also had the luxury of taking classes that were more discussion and writing based, compared to the hard-core science courses I’ve taken where I had to attend most lectures and sit-in exams.
My job on campus with the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) was more supportive than I could have imagined, and when I went to tell my boss the news, she even introduced me to another young woman who was a student-mom who was at that time in medical school.
I was induced at 40 weeks, and had my first medical school interview 11 days after Nate was born. After having Nate, I took 2 weeks off of class (doing my classwork from home) plus a bonus week thanks to spring break. It was all such a blur!
[Editor’s note: Good grief!!]
What’s the most important lesson you want readers to learn from your story?
I want readers to know most of all that my faith in God and the grace He gives me to take on each day is what keeps me going (and sane). God has always done extraordinary things with ordinary people we just have to step out on faith. Every day, I ignore doubt in order to embrace the unexpected, and thanks to my son, I am more passionate about my purpose than ever.
Love, love this interview so much! Jasmine, you are doing incredible things, thank you SO much for sharing your story!