Medical residency is a demanding training period required of all physicians in order to become board certified. In the case of three Mount Nittany physicians who also happen to be moms, the consensus is that the rigors of their residencies prepared them somewhat for being a new mom.
"Residency training helps you develop the techniques you need to stay up all night," said Emily Peterson, MD, plastic surgeon, Mount Nittany Physician Group, with a wry smile.
Dr. Peterson's daughter Mia is now 16 months old and more or less past the nighttime issues. Now it's onto questions about food - how much, what kind, etc. "She ate a banana every day for breakfast for the last eight months and now she won't touch a banana."
Like moms everywhere, mommy docs learn as they go. And they learn from their own mothers.
"My mother and I are really good friends. She showed me how to be a good person and to be respectful. I will try to take what she taught me and hopefully be a positive role model for my daughter," said Jennifer Gilbert, DO, pain management, Mount Nittany Physician Group, the newest mom on the block who gave birth to Emily Kathryn on March 6, 2012.
Husband Jeffery Gilbert, DO, cardiology, Mount Nittany Physician Group, plays a key role, especially now that mommy doc is going back to work. "He feeds her the night time bottle and does her bath. He's jumped right in!"
In fact, each mommy doc interviewed had great praise for their partners. "My husband is doing the most incredible job," said Michelle Zook, MD, internal medicine, Mount Nittany Physician Group. Husband Gabe is home all day with their two children, Isabel, 3 and Jaden, 1. "He has them on a schedule for playtime, bath, and meals. He's a great father," she says.
Dr. Peterson says her husband, Ben Steward, PA-C, Penn State Hershey, understands the demands of her busy office schedule and works with her to hold down the fort at home.
"There are ways that being a mom helps me to be a good doctor," says Dr. Peterson. "I feel I am sensitive to a mom's concerns, especially as it relates to her questions and concerns about how she feels about her own body."
"I feel being a mom helps me with the capacity to be patient and understanding of my own patients," said Dr. Gilbert.
Dr. Zook tips her hat to her "'incredible mother, who taught me how to be a caregiver."