Physician Mommy Finds "Home" in Woodland

After living in New York City for ten years, Dr. Sonia Reichert was ready for a change. "The real eye opening moment for me came when my oldest daughter learned to walk. It was winter time and several months passed before she first walked on grass at a park - and she cried! She was scared of grass! That's when you know it's time to leave the city!"

Fortunately for Dr. Reichert, an oncologist, and her husband, a gastroenterologist, they found their dream jobs. And, as luck would have it, those jobs brought them to what has ended up being their dream community too. "We were both thrilled to get jobs at Woodland Healthcare. We had no idea just how much we would end up loving living here. It feels like home!"

In fact, the area has become so comfortable for Dr. Reichert that she says she doesn't even miss her homeland Australia anymore. "When I lived in New York, I would think about Australia and wonder if I should move home... Now, here in California, I don't have that thought anymore!"

So what is so special about this place? Well, Dr. Reichert says for one thing - her children will no longer grow up afraid of grass! "They experience nature so much more here - they see where vegetables grow and they shop at farmer's markets and interact with animals," she says. "They can play outside and enjoy this wonderful community."

Even more importantly, Dr. Reichert says her family has been touched by the kindness of the people they meet here. "It began when we first moved here and I would walk through town with my little baby. People would stop me and comment on how beautiful she was - just kind, sweet people. And my patients and colleagues are so wonderful - they seem truly happy to know that I have a family and support me so much."

With two small children (three years and almost two) and a third baby coming in just a few months, Dr. Reichert says she truly appreciates that support. She says being a "physician mommy" can be a challenge, but says she is fortunate to have a husband who is a great partner. "My husband is very involved," she says. "We partner up and share the workload. We also are very lucky to have similar schedules, so we leave home at the same time and typically get home at the same time." They also try to sneak in some together-time whenever possible - including catching a meal together at the hospital cafeteria if they are both in-between patients.

Dr. Reichert says being a mom has truly helped to make her a better physician. "As an oncologist, there are some tough days. It is hard when a patient doesn't do well, but I go home to my kids and give them a hug and it helps me to realize how fortunate I am. And likewise, I think our children are growing up seeing firsthand the benefit of helping others - they know that mommy and daddy help people who don't feel well. They see that helping others is important."

When asked what advice she would share with other moms trying to find balance, Dr. Reichert says first and foremost, recognize that you are not alone. "I think we all struggle and we all feel like we are not doing a good job at one time or another... But the fact is, everybody feels that way at some point! Just because I am a physician does not mean it is any different for me. At the end of the day, we are all mums. There is no secret!"

This Mother's Day, Dr. Reichert says we should give all moms a little extra support - and the first person you should pat on the back is yourself! "Know that you are doing better than you give yourself credit for - and that you are more amazing than you could ever realize!"

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