What Is It Like To Grow Up With a Medical Doctor as a Parent?

03/06/2013 01:20 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

This question originally appeared on Quora.
Answer by Shikhar Agarwal, CS-IIT'12, Spiritual, Philosophical

My mother is a doctor (a gynecologist). The last part of my answer (The Sacrifice) describes what she really is: much more than a doctor. Let me describe my experience:

The Good

  1. Free medical advice! You don't have to worry about anything - she would know all the medicines, symptoms, preventive care et al. And if something was beyond her domain, she would know people who would also not charge anything - I think that was due to mutual respect (professional courtesy).
  2. Balanced Diet at home. From salads to junk food, she would plan it all!
  3. Special attention - In various social groups, I was known as "The Doctor's Son" when I was a child! People thought I was brilliant just because my mother is a doctor. I always used to enjoy the admiration of my peers during those times!
  4. More freedom - This is a follow-up from point 1. I could enjoy rain without umbrella, eat ice creams when it was really cold and so on - just because I knew I had free medical backup at home.
  5. No Ekta Kapoor Serials - These TV serials were related to stupid fights between family members, which were very popular in Indian homes. My mother was too busy to see them, and so, were not played in my house - one of the main reasons why I still strongly believe in family bonds..

The Bad

  1. Various Restrictions - With freedom, came certain restrictions too. As she was a doctor, she was always more conservative and cautious. eg, She always used to discourage me from wearing contact lenses - she had seen many cases go wrong during her practice.
  2. Beta Sweater Pehno (a popular ad line - which literally means "Son, wear a sweater") - More-than-necessary clothing - so that I don't catch cold!

The Ugly

  1. Her life was unpredictable. She used to get emergency calls at 4am or so. Sometimes, she would spend very long hours at work. There were times when I didn't see her for days - because she was busy in the evenings and I used to go to school during day. So I used to miss her a lot - I think I had a babysitter for some time, but this is not nice when you are a small kid.
  2. Sometimes she had tension because there were defects in the child births (she was a gynecologist), or some of her patients were not doing well. As a kid, I didn't understand this, and thought that I was the reason for her anger/tension. This used to make me sad.

The Sacrifice

It turned out that she missed spending time with me more than I missed her. She decided to quit her highly coveted and respected job and became a housewife. The Ugly part was gone. The Bad became better, and the Good became best. She sacrificed everything - money, job, respect, and opportunities - to help me have all these.

When I was in high school, she decided to join a charitable hospital to help the poor people in the community.

I graduated from one of the best colleges in India in 2012 and am working at one of the best places in the Silicon Valley. Its really a small token, but still I would say - I owe this all to my parents. Bowing down.

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