Humans in Healthcare #44: A life well lived

a reflection on Mother's Day

Hi friend, Amy here, your authentically honest full-stop human, community builder, and creator of Humans in Healthcare. Are you a clinician looking for community? Join a curated membership space for clinicians in transitions, clinician creators, and clinicians needing peer support and empowerment.

*Today’s newsletter chapter has nothing to do with healthcare. I shared this on social media one year ago. It remains in my top most viewed posts and still gets impressions to this day. Happy Mother’s Day.

A life well lived

I was watching a show on Netflix, arriving to one of the final scenes of a middle-aged woman nearing her last days, given a terminal cancer diagnosis. She was reflecting on her life and the time she spent worrying about what she would become in her career. But looking back, all that really mattered to her was the relationships and time spent investing in her daughter, husband, and friends.

On her deathbed, she regretted the time wasted worrying about the professional she would (or wouldn’t) become.

I feel this deeply as I often think about what I’ve done and not done in my career, what I will or won’t become.

If it matters. If I matter.

I look back at my own mother:

  • Became a music teacher

  • Then stayed home for 7 years raising 4 children in a tiny town with little support, one of whom is non-verbal with Down Syndrome and Autism, requiring 1:1 assistance in everything. All while my Dad spent every week across the state 6 hours away for his job, driving home on the weekends to see us, then driving back.

  • She re-entered the education workforce, eventually becoming a School Superintendent, one of the few women in a male-dominated field

  • Now in post-retirement life has built an incredible consulting business, sits on leadership boards, and continues to advocate for the many needs of my special needs brother

Sure, I saw her rise in the working world. I saw her succeed despite challenges to be seen and heard as a female in a male-dominated field, to be taken seriously. The double standards that we expect of women in leadership. The sideline critics. The same challenges that I have personally faced. The grace under pressure through it all and her ability to stand strong in her integrity.

Yes, she rose in her career and impacted many. But what she did is not what has impacted me the most.

It’s how she lived. Lives.

  • A woman who loves and serves unconditionally

  • Lives joyfully and wholeheartedly despite circumstances and the challenges she’s been given (and there have been many)

  • Practices authenticity and extending grace

  • Has never ceased to love and guide her children even through the most challenging years of strong-willed and stubborn temperaments

  • A pure optimist, her favorite color is yellow

I appreciate her professional accomplishments. But I will remember her for not what she did, but how she lived.

Just as I will stand on her shoulders and the shoulders of the women who have gone before me, so too will my daughter, reaching for an outstretched hand to welcome her in. I can only hope that my daughter will remember me like I remember my mother.

How I live. Not what I did.

As I celebrate and reflect on Mother’s Day — it’s not lost on me that my greatest contribution to this world may not be what I do, but how I live.

It’s not lost on me that my greatest impact may not be how I rise in my career — but who I raise.

Children who see people.

Children who love people.

Children who are kind to people.

Children who are gracious and generous to people.

Children who turn into adults.

Adults who may raise the next generation.

To the mothers struggling to feel like they matter in the working world as I do — remember that Motherhood is a profession.

You are rising by raising generational changers right within your own home.

I celebrate us today. And I see you.

Happy Mother’s Day.

~7 year old me and my mom

In humanity,


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