Maternity leave & Dentistry

By Dr Yasmin Shakarchy @dr_shakarchy

From Emeline Roberts Jones to Jeanne Sinkford, females have played a pivotal role in the evolution of dentistry. Coupling their momentous involvement with the conception, birth and rearing of multiple children makes their accomplishments all the more impressive. The foundations of illustrious women have continued to this day. Modern female dentists manage to balance personal and professional matters when forging impressive careers, and this is a topic close to my heart.

Having practiced for eight years, building both my dental ability and reputation within an area, I decided to enter the journey of motherhood. The pregnancy itself was difficult towards the end, requiring multiple weekly trips to the hospital for scans and a few scares along the way, but despite this I managed to work until a few weeks before my baby daughter’s birth. I even managed to attend, and won the Young Dentist of the Year award (Midlands) while heavily pregnant. Admittedly dentistry occupied my thoughts and time during that period, planning how to finish my orthodontic cases, smile
makeovers and leave patients safe.

The sheer fast paced nature of that time meant I had not fully understood what was about to happen. It was only after my baby girl was born that I realised I had spent that last nine months not understanding how much my life was about to change. There was the initial struggle of sleep deprivation, a period I like to remember as ‘survival mode’. Such was the difficulty, that it made the hectic schedule of navigating patient treatments and my own career seem like a walk in the park.

Raising a child has been the greatest accomplishment of my life, and Liyanna is the most beautiful gift this world could have afforded me. It requires patience, determination, emotional discipline and a lot more patience!

By the time I had returned to a state where dentistry could once more have a place in my life, it felt like it had drastically changed. From the nature of photography and digital dentistry, to the delicate alterations to improve outcomes.

I actually spent the last month before returning to work, reading incessantly about all of the latest modern innovations, catching up with the world I had missed. Thereafter balancing my life as a mother and my career in dentistry, requiring forward planning when it came to childcare and her routine. It needed the understanding and co-operation of my
husband, and larger family. It demanded the trust to allow my most precious girl to be left in the care of others. And, most importantly it required my own faith that I could rise higher than before.

Motherhood changed both me and my career. But, in truth it made me stronger, better. Coming back to the world of dentistry, I plan to to return with the strength to create something not only for myself but the girl looking at me as I type this so lovingly. To be
someone she could look upto.

To end, I wish to leave you with my advice. There is a saying in the middle east which says every flower has its own fragrance. It means that every aspect of life should be enjoyed. That period after graduation building your career, the pregnancy developing life in your womb and of course the challenge of raising a tiny human. During those months of maternity leave, if you’ve manged to leave your work safely, I would focus purely on those moments of motherhood. I would embrace and emerge yourself in it, and try to enjoy it all. Once you feel ready, slowly start returning to the world of dentistry, reading about changes and improvements, allowing this to gather pace until finally returning to work full-steam ahead, rising to a station higher than before.

Dr Yasmin Shakarchy graduated from The university of Birmingham in 2011. She is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons and a qualified cosmetic dentist, specialising in smile make-overs. Her talents have garnered praise and awards nationally, including winning Young Dentist of the Year (Midlands). She also focuses on a wide range of non-surgical treatments and is the co-founder of a specialised Facial Aesthetics Clinic based in Birmingham.

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