The Essence of Motherhood: Dr. Sharon Weber
Dr. Sharon Weber, surgical oncologist with the UW Carbone Cancer Center, reflects on how becoming a mother changed how she practiced medicine.
Six years ago, I was lucky enough to become a mother of twins, a beautiful daughter and son. There is simply no way to prepare for the profound expansion in one's heart that motherhood brings. As author Elizabeth Tone noted, the decision to become a mother is "to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside of your body."
While I am sure that there are many paths which prompt spiritual growth, there is no doubt that becoming a mother has changed how I practice medicine. I find myself realizing that everyone I see either is or, at least has been, loved the very same way I love my children, and this realization helps me relate on a much deeper level with my patients. I also certainly have a more informed view of what a diagnosis of cancer must mean for the family of my patient.
Becoming a mother has caused me to feel more equipped to be honest and straightforward with my patients, since having children invariably makes you more aware of the challenges that life can bring and more determined to have the courage to face those challenges.
As Meryl Streep has said, "Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to its essentials." More experience with those essentials has taught me to be more responsive to the emotional needs of my patients and their families. But it has also allowed me to encourage my patients to take on the challenge of their diagnosis so that we can work together toward the best outcome. I know how very much I want to be there when my children have their children, and that makes me far more determined to help my patients fight to survive their diagnosis and be there to see the lives of their children unfold.