Parenting Stories at Michigan Medicine

This Wellness Office grant-funded initiative is collecting narratives about the intersection of parenting and careers in health care. We invite you to share your own story or artwork to help create a community of awareness, insight, and compassion for all those working in this profession.

Indicate your interest in participating here by December 15th

What is the motivation for this project?

Work/life integration in medicine is challenging at the best of times. Parenting, as well as the journey to becoming a parent, adds an entirely new dimension to the work/life challenge. We may feel lost, unsure, overwhelmed, conflicted, or guilty. Alternatively, we might feel joyous, hopeful, fulfilled, accomplished, or proud.

Even though parenthood is a major part of many of our lives, we don’t often feel comfortable talking about it at work. We worry about being judged as being less career-focused and that there could be negative impacts on our career trajectory.

Additionally, some topics are stigmatized (miscarriage, loss, or infertility) and/or are excluded from discussions (LGBTQIA relationships, single parent challenges, children with special needs) and are even more difficult to openly discuss.

We believe it is important to normalize and destigmatize discussions about the intersection of work and parenting. We want to help all parents and would-be parents to see that their feelings and experiences are normal, and that they are not alone on their journeys.

We are especially interested in highlighting diverse perspectives from Michigan Medicine faculty, staff and learners.

How can you participate?

Fill out the survey here: https://umich.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5q1kCoSQYROhCaq. Alternatively, you may send an email to parenting@med.umich.edu to indicate your interest. We request that you include your current employment function and a brief description of what you would like to write about to help us ensure that we are including a wide array of stories from a diverse group of participants. See below for options about submitting your story anonymously.


Who is directing this project?

Kelly C Paradis, PhD

Associate Professor, Associate Chair of Equity and Wellness

Michigan Medicine Department of Radiation Oncology

kyounge@med.umich.edu

Helen Kang Morgan, MD

Clinical Professor

Michigan Medicine Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Learning Health Sciences

hjkang@med.umich.edu


Who is sponsoring this project?

The project is sponsored by the Michigan Medicine Wellness Office.


Who is eligible to participate?

All Michigan Medicine learners, staff, and faculty are invited to participate.


What is the goal of this project?

The goal of this project is to create a lasting resource for anyone who is balancing the journey of parenthood with a career in medicine. There will be three outputs:

1. A professionally published manuscript containing selected stories and artwork from Michigan Medicine learners, staff, and faculty about parenting while working at an academic hospital

2. An electronic compilation of additional narratives from Michigan Medicine learners, staff and faculty

3. A recurring, live panel hosted by the Michigan Medicine Office of Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development where participants in this project will discuss and answer questions from attendees about parenting while working in medicine

In addition, we hope that this will spearhead efforts to create a community of support for parents at our institution.


What is the benefit of participation?

Authors of selected narratives will receive a free electronic copy of the final manuscript. By sharing your story, you will be helping others who may be facing similar challenges. Also, reflective writing can be a powerful and cathartic experience. We hope that in contributing to this project, you find that to be the case.


What kinds of stories are we looking for?

All stories related to the intersection of parenthood and careers in academic medicine will be accepted.


Will anything else besides narratives be accepted?

Yes! Submissions can also include artwork, poems, songs, or other forms of art that we can print. Artwork can be from children.


What are some example story topics?

This is certainly not a complete list, but here a few ideas: access to and taking parental leave, returning to work after parental leave, working while pregnant, specific work/parenting conflicts, infertility, pregnancy loss, LGBTQIA+ parenting, fostering/adoption, trauma/illness, pandemic-related parenting conflicts, discrimination based on gender/race/ethnicity or other personal attributes, traditional or non-traditional gender roles, and managing childcare while working. Your story should include elements related to both career and parenting.

Here are some examples of published narratives (but note that there is no requirement to model submissions after these examples):


How long should your story be?

We recommend that your story be between 500 – 3000 words.


Is your story guaranteed to be used in the printed manuscript?

We will aim to include a wide array of stories from a diverse group of participants. There may be some submissions that we cannot accept, but we will do our best to work directly with you to avoid that scenario. We will also have an electronic version of the manuscript that will have more room to include additional stories that weren’t able to be included in the printed manuscript.


Can you participate anonymously?

You can choose to have your story printed anonymously (see the following question and answer). We do request that share your Michigan Medicine email address with us so that we can verify your employment status and communicate with you about any revisions to your submission. Submissions to our survey (https://umich.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5q1kCoSQYROhCaq) and emails to parenting@med.umich.edu are sent to Dr. Kelly Paradis and Dr. Helen Morgan and will not be shared beyond the two of us. If you choose to be anonymous, your name will be removed from your submission for the editing process and will not be shared with anyone.


What kinds of information will we print about you?

You will have the option to decide whether you want your printed story to be anonymous. All submissions will be paired with the writer’s role (medical student, staff, or faculty). You can choose to be more specific, and to include demographic information at your discretion. Of course, any personal information that you include within your story will also be part of what is printed.


How will your submission / information be used?

Submissions will be organized by topic to create a cohesive manuscript that will be professionally published as a book available for purchase. By submitting a story for this project, you give us permission to use your story as described here. We may edit your story for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and length. Alternatively, we may ask you to make revisions. You will have the opportunity to review any edits that are made.


Is there anything you can’t put in your story?

We ask that you not use real names or identifiable descriptions of other people, or explicit language.


Is this a research study?

No, we do not have plans to conduct research using the stories that are collected. If this should change in the future, we will contact you by email to ask your permission to have your data included.


Who should you contact if you still have a question?

Please email parenting@med.umich.edu with any questions related to this project.


How can you participate?

Fill out the survey here: https://umich.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5q1kCoSQYROhCaq. Alternatively, you may send an email to parenting@med.umich.edu to indicate your interest. We request that you include your current employment function and a brief description of what you would like to write about to help us ensure that we are including a wide array of stories from a diverse group of participants.