By Martelle Esposito
This week, we hear from Christina Council-King, MD, MPH. Christina talks about being a mom and a family physician, and how these two important roles impact each other.
What are you most proud of in your life?
My son! I truly feel like he is my greatest accomplishment.
What is your passion in life?
People! I love being around people, learning and immersing in various cultures, and traveling to different countries.
If you could compare yourself to an animal, what would it be and why?
An elephant! They are gentle giants and actually very intelligent with an excellent memory. They are extremely social creatures and family oriented, which is similar to me.
Can you describe a time when you felt on top of the world?
When I graduated from medical school. It has been a dream to be a physician since I was a young child, so to finally fulfill that dream was one of the greatest feelings in the world.
Do you have any words of inspiration to live by to share?
One of my favorite quotes is, "To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world." You never know the impact you may have on someone's life.
What's does the transition from not being a mom to being a mom feel like?
It is surreal. It is definitely exhausting, but it is a feeling that is just indescribable. In an instant, you have this tiny person who depends on you for everything, but there is an immediate feeling of unconditional love.
What has been most surprising to you about your role as a mom?
I never realized that we (as Americans) are not as breastfeeding-friendly as other countries. It's difficult to find sitting areas to breastfeed while in public.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting your mom journey?
Breastfeeding is not as easy as it looks!
Can you describe a time when you really felt your mom power?
There was one time when Jackson (my son) had a upper respiratory infection and of course because he is so young, he is unable to effectively bring up phlegm. After a feeding, he was extremely congested and had difficulty breathing. It was one of the scariest things to see him trying to catch his breath. I immediately flipped him over and started hitting his back as part of infant Heimlich Maneuver.
What have been the keys to unlocking your mom power?
I think love drives any parent to do anything and everything for a child.
How has becoming a mom impacted your work as a physician?
It's difficult! I want to give my patients 100% of my attention and provide quality care, but I also want to be able to spend time with my son after work and on weekends, which can be difficult at times.
As a physician, have you changed the way you approach your patients since becoming a parent? If so how?
Yes, I think my patience has improved, and I am more empathetic to parents, especially new mothers.
Can you describe a time when you really connected with a parent who was either a patient or whose child was a patient of yours?
Yes, last week I had a first-time mother who was having breastfeeding difficulties and was very stressed over it. I could completely relate and offered her the advice I received from breastfeeding support groups and my own lactation consultant. I also told her "you're doing a great job," which was something I really needed to hear when I was about 5 weeks in to my motherhood journey. By the end of the visit, I could see she was reassured and felt more confident in her natural abilities as a mother.