Today, I have the honor of introducing you to Dr. Chaisson-McRae. She is a wife, mother, and a psychiatrist in private practice. Read below to see how she does it all!
Name: Clarissa Chaisson-McRae
Medical School: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Graduation Year: 2008
Future (or Current) Specialty: Psychiatry
How many children do you have and their ages:
One son, 2.5 years old
Did you do any post-undergraduate schooling or working before attending medical school?
Did you have any of your children during medical school? If so, how did you “plan” for it? No, we had our son during my residency.
What kind of childcare do you employ? (i.e. live-in nanny, family help, daycare, babysitters)
We alternated between nanny initially, then daycare, then nanny, now, he is in school.
What has been the biggest challenge to handling medical school (and/or practicing medicine) along with having children? How have you overcome it?
Having a child in residency was the hardest thing I ever did. It was a struggle to fulfill 3 roles at the same time. There was not enough time in the day. I had no family around for help. My husband also has a busy career as an attorney and works long hours. In addition, I did a fellowship and served a chief resident in residency. It was difficult to prioritize myself - and this almost never happened. Breastfeeding made everything more difficult initially, but I stuck with it. It took me at least a year to feel somewhat like myself again, but I am much stronger and capable of more now.
Do you feel like your school/job is “flexible” to any family issues that may arise?
Yes, only now because I moved to private practice.
What is one item/strategy that you have that helps to make life easier as a mother and medical student/physician? (i.e. organizational method, electronic device, calendar tool, etc.)
Organize and plan ahead; know how to prioritize yourself and family, because no one else will - especially at work.
What kinds of things do you do to “relax”? Hot bubble baths, spa time, shopping, and yoga.
Do you feel that your experience as a mother has made you a better doctor or future doctor? If so, how? Yes, I am more sensitive the needs and issues of my patients who have children.
What advice do you have to the women who want to pursue medicine with children?
Do so very carefully, and realize that it will be very difficult. Enlist family support as much as you can. Having a supportive partner helps. Go part time or spread things out if you need to. Things get better after residency!
Are you a physician or medical student mom who would like to share her story? Send me an email at Mrs.Mommy.MD@gmail.com