I'm at a place in my academic training where I have to decide between various paths. I am applying for post-doctoral fellowships and must choose between a more clinical track (read: flexible and easier but perhaps more isolating, and less prestigious) or a more clinical research-oriented track (i.e.: more academic, more nose-to-the-grindstone grant-oriented, more intellectual, longer hours and more take-home work, but greater opportunity to make a positive contribution to many lives at once, academically more prestigious).
And somehow infertility rears its ugly head yet again to muck up another part of my life.
I am finding that I would choose two entirely different things depending on whether I can have a child or not. Which of course, I don't know the answer to.
I've always thought that I would pick a softer, easier clinical path (maybe part-time) if I had little ones at home (especially if there were multiple little ones, or higher-order multiple little ones even). It has always seemed that then my family would be at the center with work filling out around the edges of my life (at least when my child/children were young). But if childless, my ambitious side has always thought I should do the most difficult, competitive, intense clinical research track.
I had thought by now it would be clear which way things were heading.
Deadlines are fast approaching. I'm being courted by one research fellowship that requires me to apply for a pretty hefty training grant (due later this week). And I am just filled with anxiety about it. I'm a shoe-in for this fellowship. Or I could pursue a more clinical track (which might feel like a cop-out if I don't have kids)... or I could not apply for anything hoping that I will be pregnant by July and can just take some time off for awhile and be (of course if I'm not pregnant by July or don't stay pregnant, this would be disastrous emotionally).
It raises all these issues of legacy and meaning and purpose. Which of course being infertile does too. And leaves me wondering whether to plan as though a baby is coming (when it may not be) or just keep going forward with my life and if a baby appears figure things out then...
Can you see how my head just goes around and around and around? (Looks sort of like the exorcist, except it's just thoughts. My head doesn't actually spin around).
Anybody gone through anything similar? Thoughts on gaining clarity?