MiM Mail: Considering medicine as a new mother in her 30’s

Pierre Van ZylMiM mailbag

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Hi there! I’ve just discovered this blog, and have been binge-reading posts for the past three days!

I am a 35 year old brand new mother to a baby girl, living in Toronto, Canada. I have a successful career in Management Consulting (commerce undergrad, MBA), and while I enjoy many aspects of the work I am not personally or emotionally fulfilled by it. I began my undergrad in science, and for a variety of reasons (including a lack of confidence and discipline at the time) I decided being a doctor was not for me and I transferred programs. I’ve questioned this decision, off and on, for the past ~10 years. At the risk of sounding cheesy, with the arrival of my daughter I feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility to provide an example of pursuing a life and career that is meaningful and fulfilling. And so, I am considering applying to medical school at the ripe old age of 35 (I’d need to start from scratch with post-bacc and MCAT, and so I’d likely be at least 37 beginning medical school).

I’m hoping some of you might provide some insights / POV on the following:

Has anyone here pursued a similarly non-traditional career change? If so could you share your application preparation and process? As much detail as possible would be extremely helpful, including MCAT prep and approach for gathering the necessary volunteer and shadow hours.

Has anyone here pursued this path at a similar stage (mid-late 30s + kid(s))? I could be mid-forties by the time I complete training. Am I totally insane? Are the extraordinary costs (foregone income, tuition, time) to my family too great? How awkward/uncomfortable/lonely (or not) is it to be so much older than your classmates and colleagues?

Can anyone provide more detail on the hours and schedule during medical school and residency? I know it’s intense and unpredictable, but exactly *how* intense and unpredictable? I come from a career with long hours and lots of travel, so I’m trying to understand specifically how my work/life balance would change during school, residency, and practicing. My interest is in either OB/GYN or FM (at this point).

Thank you in advance to anyone that is able to help me think through this very difficult decision. This is a wonderful community and resource.

Meghan