Story of an Immigrant Doctor Mom

3 generations of Indian women doctors

My mother immigrated to the U.S. from India in 1974 after completing medical school. She and my dad had been married for 2 years (they had a “love marriage” different from the stereotypical arranged marriage that most Westerners know about). My dad was working in Kuwait as an electrical engineer and thought that moving to the U.S. was a great next step. My mother had no frame of reference and figured why not. She moved without any immediate family or support.

When I think about my mother’s experiences growing up, I never recognized how many obstacles she had to overcome to build her life here. The early 1970’s was not the easiest time for a woman of color, let alone one who worked. That was still outside societal norms, especially in The South, where my parents settled.

These obstacles ranged from professional to personal.

  • Dealing with neighborhood moms who excluded her
  • Racism from patients
  • Feelings of isolation

In India, there were more women in medicine than in the U.S. She was astounded at some of the questions she got when she moved to this country. With very little support (my grandmother did move here shortly after I was born), she managed the best she could.

In this intensely personal conversation, we talk about it all – regrets as working mom, what she would do differently and her biggest piece advice for working women.

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