If I’m ever a parent, I think I’m going to have a really hard time ever relaxing. It’s bad enough worrying 24-7 that your child could run into the street and get hit by a bus, get kidnapped, or ingest some poison, but I feel like there’s a whole other set of worries for physicians, if only because they’re aware of the range of possible diseases. I can’t even imagine being a pediatrician.
In developmental biology, we’re going through embryo development, and with it, every step that can go wrong–from mutant proteins that cause certain cell formations to ectopic pregnancies. Similarly in genetics, we’re learning about genetic disorders, and some, like Rett Syndrome, don’t even develop until a couple years of age. It’d be enough to drive a health care professional parent crazy with anxiety. I wouldn’t be surprised if some pediatrician has some sort of time line chart to see if his or her child makes it through all the developmental stages successfully.
One coping mechanism, which I’ve found to be true among my classmates who have physician parents is good, old-fashioned denial. Freud would be proud. Maybe it’s helped give rise to some of my silly hypochondriac tendencies, because I swear, as far as I can remember, every time I had some sort of health problem, my dad would just take a look at me and say I was fine. Maybe it was his experience and ability to tell when someone looked “toxic” (really sickly), or maybe it was denial, or maybe it was my own obsessiveness. But either way, I guess the only thing you can do is play the odds, and hope that your child lucked out in the big gene draw.