Family Planning for Docs - Thriving or Surviving?

Thriving or Surviving with Dr. Dawn Armstrong

August 09, 2023 Family Planning for Docs Team Season 1 Episode 10
Thriving or Surviving with Dr. Dawn Armstrong
Family Planning for Docs - Thriving or Surviving?
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Family Planning for Docs - Thriving or Surviving?
Thriving or Surviving with Dr. Dawn Armstrong
Aug 09, 2023 Season 1 Episode 10
Family Planning for Docs Team

“Make sure to constantly be checking in with yourself and taking care of yourself for the longevity of you” - Dr. Dawn Armstrong

In this episode, we chat with Dr. Dawn Armstrong, a resident physician in the Department of Psychiatry at Dalhousie Medical School. We learn about her journey as a non-traditional medical student, being a mother to five children while also being in medical school, and navigating family life during residency. 

We appreciate your feedback - please leave a comment and subscribe so you never miss a new episode!


Contact Information

Dr. Dawn Armstrong, M.D.

Show Notes Transcript

“Make sure to constantly be checking in with yourself and taking care of yourself for the longevity of you” - Dr. Dawn Armstrong

In this episode, we chat with Dr. Dawn Armstrong, a resident physician in the Department of Psychiatry at Dalhousie Medical School. We learn about her journey as a non-traditional medical student, being a mother to five children while also being in medical school, and navigating family life during residency. 

We appreciate your feedback - please leave a comment and subscribe so you never miss a new episode!


Contact Information

Dr. Dawn Armstrong, M.D.

Radha Sharma: Welcome to season one episode 10 of Family Planning for Docs Thriving or Surviving. This podcast is an extension of our platform, a website created for Canadian medical trainees to highlight useful information about family planning and a medical career.

Radha Sharma: Our group has a mission to inform medical trainees about their options regarding family planning while navigating training, career and things in their personal life. Our research has demonstrated that personal stories are highly impactful, and we hope to provide access to a diverse number of stories, to current trainees on our podcast we hope to capture the stories of medical professionals who have navigated the training process and a medical career while planning parented parenting and the supports that they had along the way.

Radha Sharma: In this episode we have Dr. Dawn Armstrong. We are thrilled to have you on our podcast today and thank you on behalf of the entire team for taking the time to share your story with us.

Dawn Armstrong: Thank you for having me, happy to be here

Radha Sharma: What does a day in the life of Dr. Armstrong look like?

Dawn Armstrong:I would have to say, I get up around early morning. Get my day started, before my kids get up, and then I will get them up, off and going to school and on their way. I will, and then head to the hospital myself and do my rotation. I just finished my first Year residency, so that looked a little different to me every block I was on, but now I'm on like more of a solid schedule. And so I get to the hospital. I will. you know, do my, my day and I normally will like end in the afternoon. And then I kind of start like after school activities. Hopefully, we get dinner in there before, and then get bedtime. And then I finally have some time to myself and my husband. 

Radha Sharma: So for those of you that don't know, Dr. Armstrong is training to be a psychiatrist. So can you tell us a little bit about how the first year of residency went for psychiatry?

Dawn Armstrong: I had a great time in my program. You know it was a busy time it went by so quickly. But my program is amazing. They were, you know, one of the reasons I wanted to come to Dalhousie. They are very well rounded program. I knew they were very, they prioritize family and lifestyle balances, and I kind of saw that reflected through my first year. There was a lot of time that I was able to prioritize for my family and my own health. So it was, it was really great.
And then in psychiatry as well. There was lots of specialties as I interested in in medical school, but psychiatry - really drew me because I knew the lifestyle and work life balance was was
very favorable.

Dawn Armstrong: And yeah. So it went by quickly. It was. It was hard. It was just like clerkship, except you have a little bit more. I don't know independence. And so it was. It was okay. It, you know you by the time you like to get your, you know rounds in each rotation you're switching and doing another one, and you get uprooted. So it went by quickly with that. But it was, it was good overall. It was a very good year. Everyone was able to support me in the ways I needed. So it was good.

Radha Sharma: So like, I mentioned earlier in the podcast our goal is to chat with lovely medical professionals like Dr. Armstrong about how they've been able to balance family building while also having this amazing career in medicine. Can you tell us a little bit about what family planning looked like for you? And when you had your children?

Dawn Armstrong: Hmm, yeah, that's a great question. I have a different path into medicine, and a different kind of story related to family planning and medicine. So I had a child really young, and that kind of started my journey in parenting, and I had no idea I was going to go into medicine at all, like if someone would have told me I would have thought they were crazy. There was, yeah, not even a glimmer of health care in my future. And then I met my husband, and we had another kiddo. I was still pretty young now that I look back at that, and so it was pretty wild.

Dawn Armstrong: And then to think I had 2 kids at that age and then we weren't sure if we're going to have a third. So we had a surrogacy for a friend of mine who he was, a family doctor, one of the gentlemen, and through the surrogacy and through meeting him and becoming, you know, so close with him - it really made me interested in family medicine, and that time my mom also had a stroke, so there was like a couple of medical things going on where I started to become intrigued with like science and stuff. So I went back to school. When I was doing my undergrad, I did a 3 year undergrad of just science, I had 2 other kiddos and of my own. And then we thought we were done. I was gonna go to medicine, and that was kind of what we were thinking. We knew we still wanted a bigger family. I knew. My husband was more ready to be done. But we started adopting and fostering - and so we didn't actually end up adopting. But we fostered for 3 years while I was in medical school, which was a great, great thing that I did, I or we did, and we enjoyed

Dawn Armstrong: And then, when we knew we were gonna move here. We knew we were gonna have to restart the foster and adoption process. Didn't go through an adoption. So we decided to have another baby of our own And so now I went through my first year of residency, I had my fifth baby, and that's where I’m at. And now I'm in residency with 5.

Radha Sharma: And did you always know that you wanted to be a mom? Or was that something that kind of just happened? 

Dawn Armstrong: So it just happened as well. Again, I never saw myself as a mom or a physician and I, all my friends, and even, you know, everyone laughs at that. But once I recognized how awesome parenting was, I quickly realized that that was something I wanted to do more.
Such a skill and talent that, like medicine, you'll just constantly learn and reflect on yourself and grow. So it's quite a great process.

Radha Sharma: During that time what were some of the challenges that you experienced like going into medical school and having, you know you already having a family. How is that like, compared to your peers, for example, that maybe didn't have children?

Dawn Armstrong: I would actually say a lot of the positives about it. So, I think parenting is one of the hardest jobs anyone could ever do. And so for me, going into medicine was definitely not easy, but I was able to be grounded with being with a family, and so I found, like medicine, has such a persona of being so hard. But it's more likely, I think, because everyone is going into it at at a younger age and without family and so that creates this ability for people to be all encompassed with what;s going on with them. And you know, exams are a big deal and getting in is a big deal. And this is like their life journey, and they've, you know, wanted to pursue forever. And so there's so much expectation for many, many people versus me - I had no expectation going into medicine and then I was able to really have a lot of separation and grounding outside of medicine, where I had to learn to separate. I just was able to like really ground me, and I was able to have a lot of different perspectives, and when things would become overwhelming in medicine, I was able to take a deep breath when I got home and recognize it. You know, it's not the end of the world. I have, you know, healthy, happy kids, that's all I could ask for, and it became a way for me to function through medicine.

Dawn Armstrong: So it was a positive. There was negatives and the fact that I wasn't able to do a lot of the social stuff, and you know, immersed myself into medicine in the way that some other people do. So there were, yeah, some drawbacks, I'm sure

Radha Sharma: It sounds like you were able to kind of separate school from your actual life, which we're told to do as students, obviously. I think for a lot of people, it's hard to separate it when that's kind of your entire life. You don't have dependents or you know someone that you're caring for, whether that be an elderly parent or a child, for example. 

Dawn Armstrong: Yeah, that's exactly what I was trying to portray there. I saw so many of my co-classmates just like really just taking on the world with medicine. It seemed like a really stressful time for them. I took that perspective for me - being able to have kids was very different.

Radha Sharma: How was your medical school in terms of support? Did the program director ever reach out? Was it just kind of like, if you needed extra time to do something, you would kind of do it. How was the support system like?

Dawn Armstrong: Yeah. I really enjoyed my time at Queen’s. It was an amazing school. They were very holistic, and like looking at the whole person. They didn't, you know, you know, make a blanket statement to many people. There was this one time - I'll tell you a little story. There was this one time where I was meeting with a research supervisor for a project I had to do in like third year and I was sitting down in a meeting with her and some other students that were being supervised for her, and my phone rang, and I saw that it was my kid’s school, but I was like, oh, he probably just forgot his lunch, like no big deal like, you know, I got thousands of the phone calls before.

Dawn Armstrong: So I ignored it and left that meeting and found out that my son, when he was like crossing the street biking to school, and he was almost hit by a car, and they just wanted to warn us. He was fine, and they were just calling to let me know. But I was reflecting with them - they called it like learner wellness at Queens, where they would just meet with you - there was like a team that would do things like academics and personal growth and that kind of stuff. And I was meeting with one of my mentors, and you know we were reflecting on how I prioritize that in my head, and how that made me feel like a horrible parent to have done that. And anyways the school's amazing in supporting me. And she helped me kind of navigate family life balance in that way, because it can happen.

Radha Sharma: You mentioned that you had a mentor through like the learner, I guess at UofT. It's called the office of learner affairs. So I'm assuming the learner wellness thing is quite similar. Was that a program that you opted to do, or was everyone kind of assigned a mentor? How did that work?

Dawn Armstrong: We did get assigned mentors? that was a different person and was more of a formal process. And I know, I remember when I went into medicine everyone would talk about mentors, and I was like, How do I get people? And so this Dr. Fitzpatrick - She was kind of an informal mentor to me, just through learner wellness and supporting me through school, and she was a parent herself. So she, you know, talked to me about balancing like through CARMS, and and you know, taking everything into consideration. And those tough times where, like family, kind of interfered with medicine or medicine interfered with my family.

Dawn Armstrong: And Then I have a couple of other mentors that were more formal. and one was Dr. Hamer. I hope if she ever listens to this podcast - she's amazing. 

Radha Sharma: Shoutout!

And she knows, like she's my mentor. Yes, she she was a amazing support through medical school as a parent as well, and was really able to support me with, like many things, such as work, life balance, and how you know she navigated that career, and being a parent as well.

Radha Sharma: I think that's just an invaluable experience to have someone that has gone through the process, or has similar attributes as yourself. 

Dawn Armstrong: Yeah. It can be a formal process, but then it has to have, like a natural connection where you feel able to and stuff. So I hope everyone does find someone that they're able to have that support, like through school and residency.

Radha Sharma: You mentioned that you have a husband. How has he been in the support process while you were going through med school - Was he your rock? I'm assuming so. So yeah, if you want to talk a little bit about that?

Dawn Armstrong: Yeah. Oh, my goodness, I have reflected on this a lot because I would not be able to do it with them. A lot of people say, like, How do you do it, and I have to give so much credit to my husband. He is. He's a rock, and anchor is the word I use. He's just a solid you know person who just is always like reliably there, and can handle so much. He's in the military. and has gone back to school through that as well, but so he's not in medicine, and I don't know if we would have been able to do it all - all that we've done with someone else in medicine. It just would have been so challenging. I just I don't know, I reflect on it a lot, because he thought it was going back to medical school for the military. And anyways, now I reflect on, I don't know if we would have made it through with both of our schedules being so erratic and it's just kind of a wild ride to be able to do it with 2 people in medicine. 

Radha Sharma: What tips and tricks have you kind of found work for scheduling as a busy resident physician now? What's worked for you?

Dawn Armstrong: Yeah, that's a great question. We just started linking our calendars on Apple because we didn't want to switch them over. But I've heard Google is a good one. We have, like we share our schedules to each other, and we can like when I register, you know, like my residency schedule or academic schedule link to my phone, he also links his to him. So he sees all academic scheduling and knows, and when I'm in class and knows what's going on. So
that was a game changer. I would have to say, as a parent there's a lot of guilt with parenting for many regards. But they're running their life, and he's managing it all while doing a full time job, but his job is so much more flexible and less chaotic and changing. So if he runs the schedule, he runs his life, and then I am tuning in when I can, and jumping in and so there is a lot of guilt with that, too, I was saying like, sometimes, I don't make a home like the kids don't miss me for dinner, because they just kind of like, Oh, mom misses dinner. And like if my husband missed they'd be like, this is odd like, where's Dad? He's always home for dinner. He’s always making dinner. I was just reflecting with my husband the other day about how sometimes I feel like a little bit of an outsider in the fact that I have to jump in when I can. And he, you know, he laughed. He's like the kids do, miss you. You just don't see it. And I was like, yeah, but he definitely holds on to the fort, and I try to get there when I can.

Radha Sharma: It sounds like your kids kind of know the schedule as well, because they know. Okay. My mom might not be home at this time, but she's gonna spend time with us at this time, which I'm wondering, because they kind of saw you go through medical school already. Do you feel that as they're getting older, they kind of know what's going on already?

Dawn Armstrong: I was a COVID clerk, so it was a little different of schedule than most.
So I feel like my residency life has been a little bit better. You also have a lot more scheduled vacation and residency, which is nice. So it's getting better. I think the kids are recognizing that I have, like you know, a career, and it was hard. And now, you know, it's going to start paying off.
Dawn Armstrong: One thing I wanted to mention on schedules - me and another mature student were discussing this a while ago, like the hardships of residency and clerkship. Because you are really at the mercy of other people's schedules. And so when you get placed with a supervisor, and you know, maybe they're in their sixties and their kids are grown up. Or maybe they didn't have kids or they just love working, which I'm one of those people. They have scheduled their life around that. And you are at the mercy of that. So if they want to show up at 7:30 and work till 8 at PM at night, you're kind of doing it with them. And it's unfortunate when you know you have a different perspective of work life balance. You know, you're kinda like, Oh, like, I just want to make my own schedule. I maybe only wanna work 2 days a week for the rest of my life. I maybe wanna you know work hard like that when I retire, or my kids grow up, or something, and that's kind of my perspective. So it's been a little hard for the last 2 years in clerkship. And now 2 years in residency, going with other people to have different work life balances than mine. And I don't want to disappoint them. 

Radha: Yeah. When you are done residency hopefully, you'll have more flexibility. And you know, picking how you want to work. But in that transition phase of clerkship and residency you're really available 24/7 for your supervisor, or your preceptors, which

Dawn Armstrong: And you know, it's really hard to set those boundaries and disappoint them and worry about being evaluated. And saying, like, No, I have to be home at 5, or I had to be home at 4:30, or had, you know, setting any expectations just in medicine. It's such a, you know, a culture of working hard.  And especially when there are a lot of medical students, you know, that do that which is great for them, you’re like the odd person out. It just feels hard to do.
And things like your podcast insights are great ways for people to start having a different mindframe and mindset and openness to.

Radha Sharma: Definitely, and I think just even having a conversation about it, or hearing other people talking about things. And then maybe, if someone hears this, you know what I never thought about the way that supervisors have their own schedules based on their own lifestyle before. And yeah, really, just sparking conversation is the first step. There's many steps to go.

Radha Sharma: I’m going to shift gears a little bit and talk about your kids if you feel comfortable. How old are they now?

Dawn Armstrong: I'm very happy to talk with my kids. I have a 14 year old boy, a 10 year old boy. The surrogacy kiddo is gonna be 9 this Christmas ish. A 7 year old girl and a 5 year old boy, and then we have our almost one year old daughter now, so we've got quite a mix and array of ages there.

Radha Sharma: How has it been for your oldest to now see a baby in the house again? How is he dealing with that? 

Dawn Armstrong: Yeah, he is so great because we had such gaps between our kids and so he's pretty good at that. The other thing I always say is, it's great Birth Control for him, like he not that he is sexually active that I know of, but I can tell you like we always joke about this - this is what happens you know, when you're gonna have a baby. And so he always laughs. He's like, Oh, Mom, like I'm never gonna have kids - not like not any time soon, because he recognizes how hard they are and like the sleep deprivation and scheduling and all that stuff. So it was good birth control for him. He's good at helping it around the house, though, so it's good.

Radha Sharma: When you were, I guess, because you have such a broad range of children now. So I'm wondering how your experiences have been parenting maybe the first child versus now? 

Dawn Armstrong: I had my first kid, really young, didn't want to be a parent by any means, not natural to me at all. It was the first baby ever held. Just, very, very, very shocked with my life changing at that point. Me and him kind of grew up together. And anyways, we have like this thing with him in our life, because he'll constantly he's very much like me, so constantly point out, like you're being unfair with the other kids, you wouldn't let me get away with that, and I'm like you're so right like I never would have, and constantly ask him for feedback, and saying, How do you feel about like that discipline, or you know that's going on, and also educating him on, I wouldn't now have done that with you like, although I'm letting them get away with this. I, maybe should have let you get away with it. So you know I'm learning to, and he's constantly my guinea pig. I try things out that don't work, so I'm constantly asking him for feedback.
I think that makes him feel good because he's had some autonomy and responsibility in the family.

Dawn Armstrong: Every kid is so different. Like they're honestly like, it's so funny. Most of my kids share the same genetics, and they are so different. And then time to learn. I've read a lot. I'm starting to read a lot of books about parenting and learning so much, so like a couple of books that I recommend to most people - The Whole Brainchild is great and The Good Enough parent, which is really good, it’s an old book, just getting through it now, but it just kind of says that just showing up and being present is the best part. And, you know, learning through trial and error with parenting, because it is a wild ride.

Radha Sharma: Do you have a lot of friends that also have children? what does your social circle look like? Are you able to kind of gain support from them as you're, you know, moving through parenting with your kids and at this point in your career?

Dawn Armstrong: Yeah, that's a great question. And this will shock most people. We actually don't have any family support or close knit friends - like we have a lot of great friends but we've moved so much that we kind of lose those connections and supports over time.

Dawn Armstrong: So I had a good friend group when we moved to Kingston. And then, yeah, had to restart over again. I made a lot of really close friends with the year ahead of me that didn't have kids yet, but were kind of at the same age as me, and stage of life, and
although they were. you know, helpful and supportive through Med School, they weren't able to like, you know, be that support, and a family dynamic that I need. They were great family friends, but being able to like, confide in them over, like what should I do with my teenager? Or how should I navigate this? And like it was just out of their scope a little bit?
Moving here is the same. I moved for the psych program here - It's a great program. So happy. But I lost all those connections and then chose to have another baby, which I'm kind of like - Well, it was a tough move. And we have family here, but they're not the family that, you know come and help out by any means, or like, you know, are in our lives too much. So you can do it if you don't have support. It just is harder, obviously. And on that note of like support, I did find it challenging, going through medicine. I was in this like in between world where at school pick up and drop off and play dates and everything - I was a fellow mom and I had kids that were all the same age as my staff physicians. But it was this weird world where I wasn't part of the group. I was a learner, and it was like you have to stay, you know, arms length away. But then, in medical school, where I should have had my peers, I didn't really fit in. There were some other parents in the group, but had different age kids and were I think, both in the military. I was the only parent in my class that had a bunch of kids, and at that age. So there were definitely times where I struggled with like, where do I belong? And how do I navigate friendships and support?

Radha Sharma: Because I feel like a lot of medicine is outside of the curriculum, or outside of school, the social support that you have - not even just friendships, but just having people in your corner. So how did you cope during that time - where there hobbies or things, I guess spending time with family was probably one of them. But yeah, how did you keep going during that time?

Dawn Armstrong: I think really relying on my husband and chatting with him about you know how I was feeling.I did manage to make some friends. So some mom friends that were like outside of medicine. So those were some really core people in my life. And then I just remembered not to take things too personally when I wasn't necessarily connecting with - like I was connecting with staff from a parent's perspective, but then not in the hospital. It was just
an interesting road to navigate, if I like where I fit, and I didn't ever want to cross a line or step over boundaries. I did not take that stuff personally. And then not, you know, being in the same time of life with all my co- classmates was definitely challenging. But there was some amazing relationships I made, so that I'm very thankful for those

Radha Sharma: And what is the best part of being a mom to your kids? I know there's probably so many amazing things. But if you were to give me one or 2 that come to mind.

Dawn Armstrong: Yeah. I think it's such a privilege to raise kids. Wwhen you're talking about surviving or thriving - I was definitely surviving with my first kiddo. I didn't really acknowledge or appreciate what I was forming in my role of being a parent. And I think because you're so busy with parenthood and life that you're not recognizing that you're like literally raising a human to be brought into this world. And you know, there's just so much to be done, and so many ways of navigating it. And so it's such a privilege to be able to like, grow, and transform a human.
It is such a neat thing, and you grow so much through that process, and again, like changing with every kid you're like, I think I have it down. And then you're like, absolutely not. So I think, like watching them grow, seeing them navigate situations, and like also, when you are looking at them doing something you're like that's reflective of me or this style. So a big thing that I've been growing with over the last year is like, I've never let my kids fail as much as I should have. My son just started Junior high, and that was kind of their messaging with the schools like - let your kids fail. This is low stakes until they get to high school. And let them learn how to study poorly or fail an exam, and then you help them from there and let them do it. Don't step in. And I was like, Okay, and I stepped in on all the kids crafts. I stepped in when they were going to fall off the monkey bars, and I'm like, I totally robbed them of that learning experience. And so anyway, something I'm working on a lot on myself right now.

Radha Sharma: I feel like, I wonder does it come from needing this sense of control? I find that with a lot of these episodes, a common theme when people think about, you know things that have worked as parents and things that haven't and then also, being in medicine, is this like type A type B personality - not not to say that everyone can be categorized in these. But you know I do feel like going into medicine - there is a sense of learned perfectionism almost. 

Dawn Armstrong: Yeah, definitely. Now, like a good example, my kid started at Junior high and is studying not doing it well at all. And you know, watching Youtube videos to think he’s studying, and I'm like, No - and how I had to perfect my studying with medicine. So I wanted to intervene with him, but I had to learn through an older age and not go thinking I was going to medicine like learn how to study and so I'm robbing him of that by trying to do it for him or like navigate it for him. So it's definitely about control.

Radha Sharma: If you had a magic wand and could go back in time and change anything about your journey, whether it be in medicine itself, with family planning, really anything. If you could go back in time and change something, would you? And why?

Dawn Armstrong: Again, I have a different perspective for myself, going into medicine with kids. I lost myself for about 2 years. Getting into medicine’s hard, and by the time I knew I wanted to go into medicine I started, you know, wanting to get a good GPA. And wanted to get all that.
And it was hard for me to let that go when I got into medicine in my school, like Queen’s was great about, you know more about competency and comprehension, and not necessarily 95%.
But I still lost myself in that, for like a year to 2 years - I studied way more than I needed to. I, you know, gave up my summers, I was researching and working and looking for awards and all this, and then through clerkship I realized I lost a lot of that time. And it was more about competency, like things that they always said at school, but I never believe that they said like, if it's important, it will come back. And I was like, Yeah, right? And then I would still like study it like crazy. And you know, it was said with clerkship, It was, you know said with cases it was said on rounds - It was said with education. It was so funny, and I was like, Oh, like, you're right like, if it is, you know a big thing, we're gonna learn it. So I think it was my biggest regret - was just the amount of time I dedicated away from my family. At first, just not recognizing priorities.

Dawn Armstrong: You know, not taking things personally is something else I had to learn through that like the constant evaluation. The oxygen mask analogy. But like on the plane with you and your loved one - you put it on yourself first so you can take care of them. It's a good analogy for Med School, it's like, you know, make sure to constantly be checking in with yourself and taking care of yourself for the longevity of you. You can work so hard and forget about yourself. But you'll burn out quicker and it's definitely harder. So just taking care of yourself, it's important.

Radha Sharma: And do you have any other advice for medical trainees? I know you talked a little bit about, you know, prioritizing yourself and making sure you have time to spend with your loved ones and self-care related things. But, is there anything else that you want our listeners, whether they're residents, whether they're medical students, to kind of take away from this podcast today?

Dawn Armstrong:  This might not be the most favorable advice. But if someone is in medicine or thinking about medicine, but also thinking about a family - I would like to say that I guess there's no perfect time to have kids. There's, you know, there's always reasons to delay one or the other. But if you work hard, I know you can do it. I did it. You know I'm older. I didn't have family support and have, like, I have tons of student loan and I have lots of kids. It was hard, you and I had a supportive partner, and I was mentally able to do it. So I mean, I know everyone's different. But for me I find it hard when people are in medicine, and they're like, I'll have kids one day. That's what I want a priority. But like one day. And then maybe you know, they start trying to have kids and it's harder for them. And I just my heart goes out to them when that like that happens. I heard this story, I was on a rotation. And this was like a unit that I was working on. And I was working with the staff, and the staff was saying that someone like started this unit years ago. And like ran this unit for like 30 years, 40 years, maybe. And now they retired and are really sick and unwell, and in palliative care, and passing away. She was saying how unfortunate it is, like, you know, no one's thinking about them, and there's not like a party, or it's just, and she's like he dedicated his life to this unit. Anyway, she was reflecting to me about how medicine is just a job in the end. But we kind of forget that it is and at the end of the day. You know your co-workers are probably not going to be showing up at your bedside, but your family members are. And so, if you know, prioritizing your family, whether that be kids, or, you know, really just putting the time in for them and making sure that you have them when you want and prioritize them, because at the end of the day, medicine is just a job.

Radha Sharma: I think that's such a powerful message. Because there's so many competencies, and it takes so much to get in and keep going that it can consume your life if you let it. But it is a job you clock in any clock out, and there's tasks and responsibilities just like any other job.

Radha Sharma: Dawn - we have one last question for you today. We ask all of our guests this, and it's in the name of the show. Are you thriving or surviving? 

Dawn Armstrong: Right now I am thriving, sometimes surviving. One thing I didn't mention was like this, with the daycare crisis like we are, you know, pulling our hair out, trying to find daycare for our youngest. And so that's that I feel like I'm definitely surviving and not thriving in that way, For medicine, and in general doing pretty well.
Radha Sharma: Amazing. Well, I hope the daycare stuff works out so you’re more shifted towards the thriving side of the spectrum. 

Dawn Armstrong: It was a pleasure being on with you. I'd be happy if anyone ever wants to talk to me or ask questions to me like, feel free to share my email or contact. And I'm looking forward to seeing all the other participants and listening to your podcast in the future.

Radha Sharma: Amazing. Thank you so much, Dawn. And we're just gonna give you another thank you on behalf of the entire team at Family Planning for Docs. It was so great to sit down and chat with you and hear about your unique experiences, navigating parenting while also being a medical student and now a resident. We wish you all the best with residency training. You can find our guest’s contact information and the notes from today's show. 

Radha Sharma: This is Radha and Dawn signing off.

Dawn Armstrong: Thank you.