A New Mother's Reflections on her Career
By Dr. Shabnam
My mom graduated from law school in Iran in the spring of 1978. That summer she met my father and they were married by late October. After honeymooning in Europe, they came to the United States so that my father could complete his PhD, which he promised my mother would take only two years, after which they would return to Iran. My mother loved to travel, and other than Farsi, her native tongue, she spoke French fluently, so she viewed their two years in the U.S. as a short adventure where she would learn to speak English.
The morning after my parents were married there were protests and riots outside of their hotel; they recall leaving the hotel and walking through broken glass to visit my grandparents before leaving for their honeymoon. Needless to say, they were unable to return to Iran once my father received his PhD, due to the disruption of the economy after the 1979 revolution and consequently, the Iran-Iraq war. Therefore, my mom was never able to practice law.
Given her experiences, my mother always encouraged my brother and I to pursue a career in which we would possess a transferable skill.
I loved Dr. Phillips. She was my dentist from the time I was five years old up through college. Every year, twice a year she would ask me what I wanted to be when I grow-up and every year, twice a year I would say “I want to be a dentist.”
Growing up I dreamed of traveling, getting married, having children and being able to enjoy raising them, but it was also important for me to give back to society. I realized pursuing a career in dentistry would afford me that opportunity. As a dentist I would possess a specific skill and I would be helping people, while still having the flexibility to pursue my personal aspirations.
As a new mother, I have discovered that the options my profession offers are invaluable. As a dentist you have the option of working as an independent contractor, a part-time or full-time employee, an associate, a partner, a sole practitioner or as an educator. Very few of us remain static in our role. As you establish yourself in your profession and in your family life, priorities will change and your profession can accommodate those changes.
Essentially, the beauty of our profession is that we help people in a direct and specific way, and every day, we have the luxury of leaving our offices feeling accomplished. The first day I returned to practice after the birth of my daughter, I saw 10 patients and did more than 10 extractions, a handful of fillings and several new patient exams. The satisfaction of leaving work accomplished every day has proven to be quite complimentary to my new role as a mother, which is a lifelong journey.
At this point, my daughter is six months old, and I also will also encourage her to find a profession that not only compliments her personality and skills, but also gives her the freedom and security that I am lucky to have attained.