Family Planning for Docs - Thriving or Surviving?

Thriving or Surviving with Dr. Bev Young

September 11, 2023 Family Planning for Docs Team Season 1 Episode 20
Family Planning for Docs - Thriving or Surviving?
Thriving or Surviving with Dr. Bev Young
Show Notes Transcript

“We love having kids because we see them as better versions of ourselves, and we have the opportunity to try and guide them into people who are just really good people.” - Dr. Bev Young

In this episode, we chat with Dr. Bev Young, psychiatrist and co-founder of BRIA. We talk about rebranding your career in medicine, how childrens’ perspectives on your job change over time, mental health for women across the reproductive ages, and nurturing your relationship with your partner over time. 

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Contact Information

Dr. Bev Young, M.D.

Dr. Bev Young is a psychiatrist and co-founder of BRIA, a Canadian virtual mental health clinic for women across the reproductive life stages (trying to conceive, pregnant, postpartum and perimenopause). 

You can check out BRIA here:

Radha Sharma: Welcome to season 1 episode 20 of Family Planning for Docs - Thriving or Surviving. This podcast is an extension of our platform at, a website created for Canadian medical trainees to highlight useful information about family planning and a medical career. Our group has a mission to inform medical trainees about their options regarding family planning. While navigating training, career and personal life. Our research has demonstrated that personal stories are really impactful, and we hope to provide access to a diverse number of stories, to all our current trainees. On our podcast, we hope to capture the stories of professionals who have navigated the training process and a career while planning parenthood, parenting and the supports along the way. In this episode we have a special guest. Dr. Bev. Young, we are thrilled to have you on our podcast today and thank you on behalf of our entire team for sitting down and chatting with me today.

Bev Young: Thank you so much for having me. I love the topic, love talking about myself and my experiences, and also from my professional perspective, I think I can add a lot as well.

Radha Sharma: Awesome. Yeah, We'll talk a little bit about Better BRIA during the episode as well. And I'll be linking the website in the show notes from today's episode. So we'll start with the first question, what does a day in the life of Dr. Young look like?

Bev Young: Well, actually, it's very, very, very busy, and it's interesting because I've gone through a lot in my career, and I've recently made a change, and I would say that I am busier than ever now with my career, even though I'm, I would say more than mid life, and so sort of an interesting transition that I've had, but I would say that I start my day late because I'm a psychiatrist, and I like to do stuff for myself in the morning. And so I start my day late, seeing patients and my days filled with seeing patients, and because of my new clinic we do a lot meetings, and I meet with my co-founders, and we speak to fertility clinics and obstetricians and gynecologists and employers and insurance companies, and we do a lot of outreach and trying to form partnerships. So I love that about it, that I've sort of added this business. I'm not a business person, and I don't really get business, but I think learning the lingo and mixing it with medicine has been really really inspiring, and I found a new passion. So it's a very busy day, packed. I very rarely take a lunch break. I'm sort of eating in between meetings, but still seeing a lot of patients doing a lot of new assessments. And then at the end of the day I try to go for a walk. I think it's really important, because I am virtual only, I'm home alone during the day my 2 kids, who are 21 and 24 are out of the house and my husband's a physician as well, so he's out of the house seeing patients in the hospital, and at the end of the day I try to get up and go for a walk, because I think it's really important, since I'm sitting on my ass all day, and then my husband and I usually have dinner together. So it's really, it's actually a great day. I tend to stay up late. I'm a late, like a more of a night owl, so I'll always do work late at night, whether it's finishing notes or billings, or finishing meetings or communicating with my co-founders. That's when I tend to stay up late. Or maybe I'm watching the Netflix show with my husband, and that's my day, and I have to say there are very stressful days, but most of the time it's really, really fun. And I'm at a great place, a great stage in my career.

Radha Sharma: Thank you for sharing a little bit about the day in the life of Bev. It really does sound like it's jam-packed. For our listeners that may be interested in learning about how you got to where you are, how many years of training did it take you to be Dr. Young?

Bev Young: So I started off, I did medical school at Queens. It's actually where I met my husband, and then I did a 5 year psychiatry residency at the University of Toronto, which was fantastic. I loved it. It was a great experience. That's actually when I had my first child, which I'll go into soon. And then I ended up working at Women's College Hospital, and I started their reproductive life stages program. So I trained as a perinatal psychiatrist, and that means I treat mostly pregnant and postpartum women and then I moved over to Sinai - Mount Sinai, and I worked there for over 18 years, so that was really the bulk of my academic career. And then during the pandemic I was, I think I just got exhausted, like most of us, and I was seeing so many women, so many patients were getting in touch with me, saying, I need to see you again,  I'm home with my kids. I'm so anxious all the time, so just seeing more and more and more and more patients. And then finally I decided, you know what, I need to step away from academia and my partner, who I worked with at Sinai for many, many years, we both opened BRIA, which is essentially a virtual only women's mental health clinic and we see women from across reproductive life stages. So everything from trying to conceive, infertility, loss, termination, pregnancy, postpartum, PMDD, early parenthood and perimenopause.

Bev Young: And we have a huge team of women who work with us, and we really provide wrap around services for women at those stages. So it's been a lot of work. But really a passion project. And I really think it's invigorated me to tell you the truth, especially since the pandemic.

Radha Sharma: What kind of inspired you to start that initiative? 

Bev Young: So my partner, Ariel Dolphin, and I had always dreamed of opening up a one stop shop for women's mental health, because, unfortunately, in the public health care system when people are referred to a psychiatrist, they have to see a psychiatrist, and often, most often, they don't need to see psychiatry, nor do they want to see psychiatry, and we realize that most of the women needed therapy or couples therapy or sex therapy, or they needed a sleep consultant or lactation consultant or a parenting coach, and all these wrap around services, and that we didn't have access to. So my patients will come to me, I'd say, okay, well, really, what you need is therapy, not medication, they'd say, Who do I see? And I'm like, Go ask your friends. So we wanted to create that community for women so that they didn't have to go searching on Google and they can trust us because we're the experts in this field, and we have a lot of connections, and we know who's good. And we've interviewed and really tried to get the best of the best in this field, and then we wanted to extend it to all of the reproductive life stages, because we saw that women going through the fertility journey were sort of being ignored, and was the time just their physical health was being focused on and not their mental health, we know mental health has such a huge impact on on fertility, and how women deal with their anxiety during this tumultuous time, and on the other end of the spectrum no one was seeing the perimenopause women. And now, me, going through this phase, I see that we need to talk about it right? This is an area that women aren't talking about. And now we have this clinic where we can help you especially with the mood issues around that time. The other thing is, we realized through the pandemic that things could be done virtually so at Sinai we were very lucky. Ariel Dolphin, my partner, actually started with OTN, with Ontario telehealth network, she started the biggest telemedicine program in Ontario in 2014. So we were already doing telemedicine actually for pregnant and postpartum women. It was so seamless because they didn't want to have to go downtown. They didn't want to have to get childcare, pay for parking, you know if they're 8 months pregnant, it’s really hard to do with a newborn, it's really hard to do so. The telemedicine program was running seamlessly, and then, when the pandemic hit, we thought, wow, we can do this virtual care only so that people don't have to be running around the city. And it's worked out so well. And this way we can see women from across Ontario.

Radha Sharma: That's amazing. Honestly, I love hearing the the stories and the initiatives that you and others have kind of been trailblazers for, and it's so neat that with the pandemic all these virtual opportunities have come up, and I think it's incredible that you and your team are doing that work. 

Bev Young: Thank you. It's been really fantastic. I also think it's been fantastic for the clinicians, because it’s isolated in our own houses all over the place, and we can come together as a community, and we have meetings and case discussions. So it's been a really supportive community for them as well.

Radha Sharma: I mentioned earlier that our goal of the show is to chat with you and other physicians about how they fit family planning and family building, while also, you know, navigating this incredible medical career. Did you always know that you wanted to be a parent? Was that modeled for you early in life? Did it come later? How did you know that you wanted to be a mother?

Bev Young: So I'm one of those who always dreamed of being a mom. I always knew I wanted to have a baby, and I knew I wanted a baby right away. I mean for me it was important to find a partner, and it was important for me to get married first. But really the most important thing was to have a baby, and actually my husband and I joke because we met at Queens, and then he ended up going to med school in Calgary so we were actually separated for 3 years. It's a 3 year program there. So when he left, it was sort of understood that we would end up together, and he jokes that I would send him emails at the time, saying, just to let you know my ovaries are aching, you know. Let's get this going. Let's get this going. And he always jokes and says, What does this mean? What is it? Is there something wrong? Or do you need to go see a gynecologist? I'm like, No, I just want a baby. So we actually, when once he finished med school, we did get married, and I got pregnant right away. It was like, you know what we've been dating for 4 years. We got married at 29, and I basically got pregnant right away and had my first at 30, and was very lucky I didn't suffer from any fertility issues, and she was the first grandchild on his side of the family, so we had lots of family in Toronto. We both settled in Toronto. He actually came back to do his residency in Toronto, so we were all together, and it worked out really well. It was great timing. I feel like I was the pioneer of women having babies in residency, because no one in psychiatry was pregnant at the time. And I think nowadays people, it's caught on, and people know it's the greatest time to have a baby, so if you can do it in residency. I think that people were very supportive. It was exciting to have a resident who's pregnant. I'm the type of person who loves to work. So I really worked up to the end. As a matter of fact, I remember I took off on a Friday, and she came early on the following Tuesday. So I really did not have a break. But that ended up being okay, because I'm not the type of person who likes to sit around waiting. I need to keep busy. Really I was very lucky it was very seamless, it was a great time at that point. We didn't have the year maternity leave. It was only 6 months, but I had the ability to take a month off as medical leave, so I only had to make up 6 months of my residency and it was, it was just, I loved my maternity leave, and I have to tell you, after 6 or 7 months I was ready to go back. So, even though I really wanted to be a mom, and I couldn't wait to have a baby. I think that on mat leave you realize if you're meant to be a working mom or a stay at home mom and I knew I was a working mom, and I was ready to get back, and I was fortunate to have a lot of family around to help, and a fantastic nanny, and the other thing about where I was at at the time is, I happen to go back to a rotation that wasn't too labuor intensive so, and people were very understanding, I'd say the hardest thing was call, because for psychiatry, it is in house call, and I hated being away from her. But you know, really I can't complain. The psychiatry call is not, although it's quite labour intensive while you're there, it's not as frequent as some of the other specialties. So it worked out really really well.

Radha Sharma: And did you have your second child after residency then, or did you have both during residency? 

Bev Young: So I did so I had my second one after residency. So I was working at Women's College at the time. And that was really interesting because I was starting their perinatal program. And I was pregnant while seeing patients who are pregnant. So that is a really interesting dynamic right? First of all, you had to think about well, when do I tell people I'm pregnant? How do I tell people? I also didn't want to then see people who were going through losses because that was very difficult for them. So I believe my staff knew fairly early that I was pregnant, and it was a really great experience to be a new staff and be pregnant, and I would say again, people were very, very supportive. There were really no issues. I would say the only thing with my second that happened is that I ended up having a positive NIPT or there was a positive genetic test that came up, but it ended up being a false positive, thank goodness. But I remember that because everyone knew I was pregnant, very supportive, when I got the call from my obstetrician, she said, oh, you have this positive test, do you want to see a genetics counselor, or do you want to book an amnio? She knew me very well, and she also happened to be at Women's. I was at Women's College, and she was at Women's College to make things very easy. There's no perinatal program anymore. It moved up to Sunnybrook. She basically said to me, well, I booked you for an amnio, and I'm like great, I want to go straight for the amnio. And again that's my personal choice, and I respect whatever anyone else wants to do. But I needed to know. And so at that point I did tell the staff. They were all very, very supportive. I was able to go because I was working there. I was able to go right for the amnio, and it was all very easy and thank goodness, everything turned out okay. The only problem with my second - for me it was a great time, it was a great time, but as she knows, she's the best accident that ever happened to me, because she was unplanned, and the reason why she was not planned is because my husband was about to write his fellowship exams in the following year, and he is very type A, and very anxious, especially about exams, and he wanted to wait until his exams were over, and we had, like, I said, the best accident, but unplanned, although he was thrilled, and thank goodness, she was an unbelievable baby but I knew that I would have to take on the lion's share of her care, which is why it was really important that we did have family around. We had a nanny, a part time nanny. We had family, and my older daughter was in daycare at the time we chose to keep her in daycare, so it was quite expensive in terms of getting the help but it was worth every penny because he wasn't around as much. And so that would I say, I would say that was the only difficulty with that period.

Radha Sharma: Thank you for sharing some of the challenges, but also supports that you had, and it's really nice to hear that you had such a supportive circle both at work and then at home. I know specialty to specialty, and then generation to generation things have changed quite a bit. You mentioned that, you know you were the only psych resident that was pregnant and now it seems like it's becoming a little bit more common. And a lot of our guests on the show that have recently graduated residency, or are in residency, have talked about, you know, being pregnant during fellowship or residency, and how the culture has changed quite a bit. So yeah, it's great to hear that you had a positive experience.

Radha Sharma: I know you mentioned that you had, you know, your husband as a support system and then at work. Who else was in your corner? Who was in Dr. Young's village to make everything seamless at that time?

Bev Young: So we were very lucky, because we have a lot of family in Toronto, and my mother in law was exceptional. My family is in Montreal, and although they're very, very supportive, they are in a different city, so if we ever needed them, for instance, my husband and I, we thought it was very important to maintain our relationship as a couple, and not just as a mother and father. And this is something I recommend to my patients and all women in general, all parents is that, the kids need to know that they have parents who love each other and want to spend time together. So I would say when we would go away, we made a point to go away, just the 2 of us. My parents would come into town, and because I have 2 girls and they tend to fight a bit we would sort of separate them, and one set of grandparents would take one at our house, and then we'd leave the other one in my in-laws. So we always had tons of family help. So if you can have family around, it's so incredible to have that if they're helpful, you know. I always say it's got to be helpful help, and not all family is. But to be able to let go and just say, take my child, you know I trust you. I know you're not gonna do anything dangerous, just, you know, be with them and love them and for them to have a relationship outside of the parents is really important. So family help was really key. We did have a nanny with my first, and then once we put her in daycare we had another Nanny, when we had sorry we only had one nanny. We didn't have 2, but we had another one a different one for my second, while my older one was in daycare, and that was really great, because the nanny had a community of nannies, and the kids. We happen to live in a very child- friendly neighborhood so all the kids would hang out together because I think that socialization is really really important. The other thing I want to say is you know, for me being at home with the second  again we didn't have, I think it was still only the 6 month mat leave, but as a practicing physician, I think we only got maybe I can't even remember, I think we only got paid for 4, 6 months, but as a practicing physician it was great, because I can actually go back to work part time, right? I didn't have to go full time, and I can make my own schedule, and I have to tell you after 4 months I was like, I have got to go back to work, not full time, part time. And I did have a part time nanny, at the time who could help or my mother in law was helping me. And just a funny story of how important it is to know yourself and know whether you're meant to be at home, or when you need that extra stimulation, I remember sitting at home and breastfeeding my baby, and just watching Oprah or Ellen and my husband would come home and say Bev, your IQ is dropping 10 points a day, and I'm like, I know it is. I wasn't even offended because he was so right and that’s when I knew you know what I need that external stimulation. And even though there are groups, mummies groups. I had, I actually had some of my med School friends who are off on mat leave at the same time as me, which is really nice. It's to me it wasn't the same as having that intellectual stimulation that I got from work. So everyone has to make their own decision. But for me it was the right decision.

Radha Sharma: And because you've had you know, you've had one child in residency, and then you had one as a staff. What are the pros and cons of having kids at those separate times? I know there's no perfect time. But what are the big things that kind of jumped out at you as you reflect on, you know, having or raising your kids at those separate times?

Bev Young: Well, I think as a resident, I love being a student, and I think that there's no rush to finish. So I want to put that out there that you know, I think we have this sense that we've been at this for so long with medical school and residency and fellowship, and by the time we actually get paid a decent salary, it takes so long with all the education we get. But there really isn't a rush. You will make enough money eventually, enjoy your residency and take the time off that you need. So I would probably recommend residency, and I think nowadays, especially, the departments are so supportive, and the specialties are really really even encouraging, and not just the pregnant person to go off, but the partner as well. Right? So I love that. It's been so supportive and encouraging. So if you can, I would always say residency, I mean, the other thing is, once you get into a career, you get really, really busy, and it is much harder to take that time off. You're also putting more on your colleagues right? I mean, you're not going to be there so you can't pick up the call, or they have to take over your patients. And I think, although psychiatry tends to be an extremely supportive specialty, I think there still is that burden that you're putting on others. So and then there's this rush because we don't technically get a year off, and we don't get paid for a year, certainly not. There is this rush to get back to make money again, because financially, it's very, very expensive. So I'm gonna say, residency, obviously it depends on where you're at in terms of your readiness, and whether you have a partner or want a partner or your age, of course. But yeah, I thought residency was the best time to have a baby. 

Radha Sharma: We'll shift gears a little bit and talk about your kids. I guess they're adults now, but they're still your kids, still your babies. So they're 21 and 24, you said?
Bev Young: Yeah, Yeah, so they're big girls. They're out of the house. I'm an empty nester. That was also the impetus for leaving, because I knew that I could work from home. My kids weren't at home, and it was really a great time to kind of redefine myself. You know, it's such a great phase now, because I can actually be with them as adults and speak to them as adults. And I love this stage. I'm not one for lamenting the past. You know a lot of people - I see a lot of women, for instance - who have babies who are infants, and then they hit the toddler phase, and like, Oh, I missed that cuddly phase, but every phase is great. Every phase comes with another new really exciting components. So I love being able to, although I'm still their mother, I love doing fun things and being more of a friend in certain situations, although they still need guidance and you know, they still are somewhat dependent on me. They're both still in school, so financially and even emotionally, although they try to separate, I find the kids still need their mummy. My older one is doing a masters right now in medical science. And my younger one is doing something completely different, she's more into media technology and writing. And just a cute, funny story when she was in grade 10 she had to choose her courses for the following year, and she came to us and she sat us down. And she said, Mom and Dad, I'm really sorry to tell you this, but I'm never taking another science class in my life. We were like, what do you mean? My husband said, well, not even biology. And she said, no, why would I take biology? I don't want to do this, I'm really sorry, I am not doing the sciences. Anyway, we always joke and say she's gonna be the most successful out of all of us. But you know truthfully for my older one, who we're not sure where life is, gonna take her. But if you know, we've sort of talked to her about medicine and how it is a very difficult career nowadays, and it's a very difficult career for women and for moms especially so that's a whole other podcast, I think. But I don't think that medicine is the be all and end all, especially going through COVID and seeing how difficult it is especially for family doctors and any primary care physician and the hospital workers. I mean, there's a lot of stress and you know, to juggle that work life balance is even harder nowadays. So they're gonna take their time and wait and see, because, as I say, enjoy being a student, there is no rush, go travel, see the world and enjoy life because you're only young for a short time.

Radha Sharma: I love that I was gonna ask you, actually, because we've had guests on our podcast that have younger children, and then others that have older children. And I'm always curious to hear how their perspectives on, you know, seeing you as a doctor, or both, you and your partner be a doctor, and then also a parent, how their perspectives on that have changed from when they were younger to now? It sounds like some of that, probably, you know, spills into what they want to do one day. But, I guess if you can talk to us a little bit about how their opinions and stuff have changed about that? Because I'm always curious to see.

Bev Young: Well, I have to say my kids did not love having a psychiatrist as a mother, because I, as they said, would never take their problems seriously, because I saw some serious problems. So I remember in high school, for instance, they would come to me with a problem, and they'd say, why aren't you helping me, you're not being a good psychiatrist. You know you're not listening to me. And I'd say, listen, when, if you still have this same problem in a week from now, then, I will take it seriously. But this is gonna get resolved tomorrow, and it's not gonna be an issue. They say we don't like having a psychiatrist as a mother. So it's very funny, I think now they can appreciate it more. I think that if you ask - unfortunately, my husband sees more terminally ill patients. So I think that after hearing what I do and what he does, I don't think they're interested in either one of our careers. But I think more than that, more than what we do as physicians, I think my husband and I are both very strong feminists and having 2 girls, I think we've tried to raise them with the attitude that they can do anything, that they shouldn't be limited by their sex or their gender, and they can do anything with their life and we're here to support you. And I think, interestingly enough, I think they're both very interested in some sort of women's field, whether it's women's health or helping women. My younger ones involved in a women's online magazine so writing for women, helping women through health care, I think that to us is the most important thing. And really we're perfectly fine and maybe even would be better, happier if they don't end up in medicine. So that remains to be seen.

Radha Sharma: What's been the best thing about being a parent? 

Bev Young: Well, first of all, I want to say, there are a lot of things that aren't, I mean, it's very, very difficult, right? It is the most difficult thing that anyone can go through. I think people often say, Oh, I'm getting married. It's such a huge change. I'm like, hmm! That's not an adjustment. When you have a baby that is the biggest adjustment you'll ever go through. And I think that I'm gonna quote my husband here when he says that we love having kids because we see them as better versions of ourselves, and we have the opportunity to try and guide them into people who are just really good people. So they have our qualities and it's interesting. We often talk about it because one has his personality, and one has my personality, but they're better than us. They're better versions of us. And to be able to see that, so it's not a mirror image, it's actually someone who, we consider, you know, smarter and more athletic and more beautiful and more in every way, inside and out. I mean, it's such an incredible thing to see them as like, not just our kids, but as people in the world. And we have so much hope, and we're so excited to see their future. I also think that it's interesting, because I think when you have kids, it can make you closer as a couple or it can tear you apart. And the interesting thing at my stage is this is the time when most people become empty nesters. Their kids are off at university, they're starting their new jobs, they're leaving the city. And people say, Oh, my gosh! Wasn't it so hard when they left? And I'm like, no, I actually love it. I mean, I love it because I'm using my daughter's room as my office. So I actually have my own office at home, and I don't have distractions. But really I love it because I get to reconnect with my partner, with my husband, and I think this is a time when a lot of divorces happen, and so I often tell, I tell all my patients, my friends, you gotta nurture the relationship. It can't just be all about the kids. So at the beginning, when you say, what do you love about having kids? I loved seeing my husband as a dad, that to me was just incredible, what a great father he is and has been throughout these years. So in the beginning it was so fantastic being able to see my partner as a loving father, and it sort of made me fall in love with him as a dad, that he was so great as a father and so wise and still is so fantastic. But really he's still my husband, he's my partner, and that has to continue and it can't be all about the kids. So I think that's really important. As we get older and the kids get older and more independent, first of all to nurture that independence so they don't need us as much, and also that we have a life outside of being a parent, because when they leave, we need to be able to continue with that life and our own identity, even if it means redefining ourselves at that point, we really need to be able to reconnect with ourselves and our partners.

Radha Sharma: If you had a magic wand Bev, and you could go back in time in this hypothetical universe and change anything about your journey thus far would you change anything and why?

Bev Young: It's a great question. I don't think so. I mean, I've been very, very fortunate. I've been very fortunate in my career and my career path. I feel very fortunate to have my 2 kids, I mean, I love my girls. I myself come from a family of 2 brothers, and I always said I can't believe I have 2 girls. I'm not a sister. I have no idea what it's like to be a sister and I think seeing their relationship, although, trust me, it's been very tumultuous at times. It's come to a really nice place where they're actually best friends right now, and that's been fantastic for me. So I've been very fortunate. I'll divulge one thing that I do think is important for people to know about, and there was a time when I was very busy in my career. I was 40, and I did find out I was pregnant. And you think, after the second pregnancy, I would learn to not have another accent. But unfortunately this was a time in my life. We did not want children. We weren't ready for another child, and I chose to have an abortion and terminate the pregnancy. And sometimes I think, oh, do I have regrets about that? And I really don't. I mean, my life is so great where it's at right now, and although it was a difficult decision, and it was heartbreaking, and I think any loss is heartbreaking. I do think it's important to really examine where you are at that point in your life, whether it's good for you, whether it's good for both of you and we are both part of the decision. And sometimes I think oh, would that be a regret in my life? And it certainly isn't because I'm so happy right now with my 2 girls, and with my career and life happened in a really fantastic way, and I'm very, very fortunate, but I do want to bring it up because I think it's a very individual decision, and for other people they might not have made that decision, and maybe they would have made it work but for me it was not the right thing. And let me tell you, my husband went straight for a vasectomy because we did not want to have another accident and
so that's the one thing I certainly don't regret, but I do think about what my life would be like with a third child, and I just think my life is so chaotic, and especially now with my my new career, I think that I'm so overwhelmed as it is in a positive way, but I think that work life balance is very different, and you have to know yourself and how much you can take on.

Radha Sharma: We really do appreciate your vulnerability and sharing your stories with us. I hope that listeners that maybe have been in similar situations, or maybe just want to hear that perspective and have never, it's really helpful to hear that for our listeners, and honestly for myself as well. So thank you for sharing that and being vulnerable on our podcast.

Bev Young: Yeah, for sure, I think it's very important to hear, I think, on the other hand. And one other thing I'm going to add, because I do think it's important to help advise the people who are younger and going through the medical career in terms of looking ahead and planning as much as you can plan, and the one advice I always give is to freeze your eggs. So I really, you know, I happen to have kids younger and truthfully by the time I hit 40 I was like, I've got my 2 kids already. I am good. I am happy. But there are some women who unfortunately, for whatever reason, they can't have children earlier, and they have to wait maybe because their career, because they don't have a partner, and that's important to them. Maybe they're not ready to be a mom until that point. But just because you decide you're ready, it doesn't mean your body is ready, and especially as you age, I think it's really really important to have that assurance, an insurance that you have embryos from when you were younger, and that was not available by the way, when I went to school, and I know now it is an option, and if it could be something that is funded, I think that would be, I think that's the most incredible thing. And that's really, if you really want to support residents and fellows, I think, support them by paying for their eggs to be frozen, because our education takes so long, and it's just not fair to expect us to wait until it's all over to start a family. 

Radha Sharma: Are there any other pieces of advice you have for our medical learners and people that might be listening to the show?

Bev Young: I'm gonna say one more thing about women, because this is something I've learned about in my career, and that especially women in medicine, we tend to be very Type A and organized and planners and list makers, and like to plan out our future. And we like to have a lot of control. And unfortunately, things happen in your life that aren't in your control and sometimes having a baby doesn't fit into your life plan at this very stage. Sometimes you might try to conceive and have difficulties that need fertility treatments and sometimes you might not find the right partner. Sometimes you might choose, or else you might choose to be a single mother by choice. Life throws curve balls, and it's really important to be able to take a step back, figure out where you are and move on, and not to get stuck in this timing of, I need to get pregnant by this age or stage, or if I don't find a partner by this stage, then X Y Z. I mean, I always think you know, if you get to your mid thirties, and you don't have a life partner at that point why not freeze your eggs, especially if you can get funding for it? But I think it's hard not to be this type A, controlling. I mean, I think that I think medicine sort of chooses people like that. So if you can go out and just enjoy the moments, take a break, there's no rush, as I said before, travel, do electives away, do your residency, if you've been in Toronto your whole life, get out and go see the world and go do a residency in a different province or different country. Or you know, I just think that when we get into medicine, we're so focused to finish and to get our career set. And although it takes us so long to get to that point, if you can afford it financially, take a break, enjoy it and try to have that attitude of not being in so much of a rush and it's good for your mental health. I have to end with mental health, of course, because it's just what I do. And the other part of this is, look after your mental health obviously, and part of that might mean taking a break, or traveling, or socializing and being with family or comforting people. But I think the other thing is to remember that it's really important to be at a stable mental health, to have stable mental health, mood, anxiety, before you embark on having kids, because it really is the highest risk period for anxiety and depression. So I think we often look after, before we plan on conceiving and being pregnant and and having a baby, we look after our physical health, so we try to exercise and diet, and take the right vitamins and try to eat well, and we often don't think of mental health in that capacity as well, and I think it's really important to make sure that you're at a good stable, high level of functioning before you embark on that very lovely but very hectic and vulnerable journey of motherhood.

Radha Sharma: Definitely. And Dr. Young, we have one final question for you. It's in the name of our podcast, are you currently thriving or surviving? 

Bev Young: I am thriving. 

Radha Sharma: Yay!

Bev Young: Yes, yes, I mean, I think again, a lot of it has to do with redefining myself at this stage of my career and part of what we talk about at BRIA is, in menopause it's a great opportunity to find yourself and think of yourself as having a new identity, and and really having that knowledge from all those years of experience, and going through the next part of my life with all this energy and motivation and stimulation. And, I'm just so happy right now. So you're catching me on a good day. 

Radha Sharma: I was gonna say, right on!

Bev Young: I’m thriving. 

Radha Sharma: This actually concludes episode 20. We want to give you another huge thank you. It was an absolute pleasure chatting with you and hearing about, you know your journey with parenthood, your perspectives on mental health, and how you've navigated it all. You can find Dr. Young's contact information in the notes from today's show. This is Bev and Radha signing off.

Bev Young: Thank you so much.