Pharmacist. Moms. I deliberately put one word to represent a whole sentence entirely because so much goes into just one of those words alone. Some people literally have not a clue of what entails in the duties and responsibilities that come with being a pharmacist. A pharmacist helps save lives and prevent catastrophic disease states and their progression that lead to detrimental consequences on people’s lives and health. To add to that job description the immense responsibility of being a mom and you get a power house in that one human being. A pharmacist mom may be in charge of a whole retail, hospital, long-term care facility and many other settings. They may take care of hundreds to thousands of patients in just one day. That is an immense responsibility to possess. That same mom after work goes home and has a whole family with other human beings to take care of after work and truly only she can fathom what she accomplished that day at work and home. I am a mother and a pharmacist and I would not change a thing except the culture that I sometimes observed the last 16 years of my pharmacy career and I would like to challenge that thinking and propose a new way of looking at things.
I believe we have a choice to either help, encourage and uplift each other with all the things we go through and understand each other. I will never forget something I witnessed 14 years ago when I worked for a big chain pharmacy as a student intern. I witnessed my preceptor, a new mom, run around all day and in between she would go sit on the floor in a dark, small coat closet to pump to sustain a life- her newborn baby girl. She told me that she was always so nervous because it was dark in there and a few times technicians opened the door by accident not knowing she was there and the embarrassment it caused her. I was not a mother at that time but tried to support her any way I could by making a sign to let the pharmacy team know that she is busy and not to open the small, coat closed door. I thought to myself is that how it would be for me when it came to my time when I became a mother? Luckily I found a very supportive boss who was a mother herself and I had a separate room to accomplish what I needed to do.
I will never forget the very first day I went back to work after having my first baby. It took me what seemed forever to get ready for work and I literally had 3 giant bags to carry all of my supplies to continue to pump. I can not tell you how many times everyone that saw me told me that I look like I am going on a trip or moving somewhere when I was just going to work. I know depending on your position, there are many times a shortage of staff and we have to pick up a lot of extra work and work faster and run around more and what I am about to propose may make your job even harder. We have a choice of whether or not to judge a pregnant pharmacist who is nauseous or super sick because of a possible change in performance at work. You may have to pick up an extra shift or help her with some duties. I came across a very powerful quote for me that had a huge impact on my way of thinking and it went like this, “In a world where we can choose to be anything, choose to be kind.” We have a choice to help each other and give those new pharmacist moms advice and encouragement and wisdom because we were all there and can help the next generation stick together. I will never forget a pharmacist that one day stayed at work a little longer to help me because it was such a long, stressful day and I could not get a break at all to pump. Seven years later I am grateful to her for that and her showing me compassion and being so professional about it. Years later, that same pharmacist became a mom and was having a hard time keeping up with work and pumping and I helped her and she admitted to me that only then she truly understood why I was so grateful to her for helping me in the first place. Let us be kind to each other, help and support each other because the very pharmacist you help will someday help you or pay it forward to another pharmacist mom. Until our environment changes or conditions for mothers get better in the pharmacy world let us make it as easy as possible for each other. Let us not judge each other and what path we choose to take when it comes to child care as I had tons of pharmacist moms judge me when I chose to go part-time for a little while and turned down amazing positions as only we know what is best for our families. So I challenge you today to double think the next time you have to make a choice to build up another pharmacist mom and help her in her struggles. Let the world see us not only as Pharmacist Moms but extraordinary human beings with a super power to also support and care for each other.