My Two Careers
I was a physical therapist prior to my marriage, and worked during my first pregnancy, quitting the day before my eldest was born. I loved that profession. It fit me like a glove. I loved learning about the human body, watching it in motion, finding the dysfunction, and using my skills to help function return to normal, or at least to its maximum potential.
The profession was perfect for me because each patient was different, each diagnosis required solid scientific knowledge merged with creative energy to devise the treatment program perfectly suited for each individual patient.
The seriousness of my job did not escape me. I was dealing with the quality of people's lives, both in function and attempting to decrease pain and weakness. In some cases, my involvement with patients meant the difference between them regaining independence or not.
I loved the social interaction with the patients and other health care providers, and going to continuing education classes, writing new programs and marketing them to physicians in my area.
I loved motivating people to push themselves further than they thought they could go, and the thrill of accomplishment we would share with each mobility goal met. To see patients in the ICU, and begin passive range of motion, then move the the acute care floor, and start sitting up, standing with a walker, then moving to walking 10', the 20', then 100', then 300'. Then to see them as outpatients, working on higher level mobility and strength. PT's treat their patients, but they also sweat with them, cry with them, and rejoice with them. I couldn't think of a more fulfilling job for me.
As an ironic side note here, I used to work with quite a few elderly patients, and loved to listen to the stories of their lives. I was 22, 23 years old, but one tidbit I heard over and over from the venerable people I cared for was this: they wished they had had more children. I heard many versions of the same story. The things that arose in their life that made the idea of more children frightening had all resolved and were ancient history, but now they didn't have the family they might have. Over and over I heard that regret, that admonition of, "Don't be afraid". Never did I hear them say that they wished they would have had more money, travel, career. Never did I hear the regret that they had too many children. Only the lack of children came to their mind as they approached the end of their lives.
So, when I decided to marry and live my life open to the notion of having children, I knew I could not dedicate myself wholeheartedly to my job, and to motherhood. For me, one would suffer, and neither deserved anything less than my all. I was blessed to be marrying a man who was willing to shoulder the responsibility of financially supporting whatever family we ended up with, so my professional career came to an end.
Fast forward 8 years. I now had 5 children, and my husband was unexpectedly unemployed for quite a while. My license was inactive, but it would only take a letter to reactivate it. I had job offers coming to me for the last eight years, so I considered "doing my share", and getting a job. I began the process, and promptly found out I was pregnant once again. Thankfully, my husband's employment issues resolved, and that was that.
Fast forward again. Now I have seven children, but the youngest is 4. I could, in theory, get a job, and all my kids could be in school. It seems like my last chance, because if I get much older, the physical part of the job would be too much of a strain. So I contact the state, get the list of requirement to reactivate my license, and...
You guessed it. Pregnant again. At that time I was 42. And thrilled! For my regular 8 readers, you all remember my pregnancy with Melanie and the joy that accompanied it. It was a gift and a treasure to get to carry a life in me, and experience a newborn again, after being pretty certain I never would.
This time, since Melanie was born, the thought of going back to my profession hasn't really crossed my mind. I have had the experience, since finding out another baby is on the way, of longing for the affirmation my job gave me. I was talking with my mom, who is receiving PT now, and hearing about the owner of the clinic, who is my age with my professional background and interest, and the thought, "I could have been somebody" crossed my mind.
But reality corrects that notion, when I realize I have been Somebody to now NINE children, and a big SOMEBODY to my husband, and all the other people in my life. I am somebody, the somebody God apparently wanted me to be. My experience as a PT was awesome, and was not wasted. The knowledge and awe regarding the human body and it's formation has made my life richer nearly every day, and I have been able to care for those I love a little better because of this knowledge.
All in all, I am so very blessed to have been able to have such a satisfying education and career, followed by a very full and all encompassing life as wife and mother. I am truly blessed.