Making it work - Dr Marsha Mungalsingh balances family and work
Between seeing patients, picking up the children from school, taking them to extra curricula activities, squeezing in some family time and managing a practice, Dr. Marsha Mungalsingh certainly has her hands full.
A working mother for the past nine years, Dr. Mungalsingh said she has always had a very busy life, even during her pregnancies.
“I would say I have been a working mother from the day I found out I was pregnant almost nine years ago. I was a medical senior house officer then working on the medical ward at Mandeville Regional Hospital. Shortly after I transferred to Bustamante Hospital for Children working as a medical officer in the skin clinic.”
Even with really bad morning sickness, Mungalsingh showed up for work every day to tend to her patients.
“At times in mid-examination of the patients, I would burst out of the clinic into an adjoining bathroom to puke. I would then return to advice being given by the parents of the patients, ‘Put nutmeg unda yu tongue, Doc’, or those who had ice mints ready at hand, offered. Even while at Bustamante, I still offered my services on a weekend to do night duties ’till I was about eight months pregnant.”
She would drive to Mandeville from Kingston on a Saturday morning or after a tiresome weekend duty and would head back to Kingston, early Monday morning to continue another work week.
She worked so hard at times that she literally worked herself into labour.
“My second child was born the same day that Prince Harry visited Bustamante Hospital. I had just finished clinic, then I went to my antenatal visit when my OBGYN — I was shocked when I heard my him say — ‘Don't you see that the baby's head is down!? Get your bags and head to the hospital!’.”
She thought being a working mother of one was being difficult, until she became a working mother of three.
“I thought that being a working mother of two would be the hardest thing I would ever have to do. Then I became a working mother of two who brought her children with her to study (for) a master's degree in the UK. Then I became a working mother of two who was now a specialist and pregnant with her third child, venturing into opening a private practice.”
The dermatologist said for her strength she leans on God, her husband, her father-in-law and mother, and with their help, is able to able to do things she has only dreamt about doing.
“My job allows me some flexibility, as I don't have to do night duties, but my restrictions come at pick up and drop off times, as at times patients have to be waiting on me.
“For family time, my husband ensures he takes us to fun places or we have movie time once per week at home.
“The truth with regards to ‘me time’ is I have very little. This is limited to a one-hour slot on a Sunday evening when my husband takes the kids for a drive so I can just sit and paint my nails.”
With a hope to, in the future, spend more time with family and to continue to instil the values her mother instilled in her in her children, Mungalsingh ended with some wise words for working moms.
“My advice to other working mothers out there is to take a break if and when you can for some well needed ‘me time’. Eat healthy, meditate, think positive thoughts, ask God for strength and the blessing of good support around you. Put God and family first and all else will fall into place.”