Balancing Medicine and Motherhood: An Inspiring Journey of Dr. Susan Landers

From Neonatal Intensive Care to Authorship, Navigating Challenges with Resilience and Empathy

Photo by Kelly Power Photography in Austin, Texas.

“Dr. Susan Landers, a neonatologist-turned-author, shares her remarkable story of juggling a demanding medical career and motherhood, offering inspiration and support to fellow working mothers. 🌟 #AuthorInterview #MedicineAndMotherhood #InspiringJourney”

Dr. Susan Landers is a neonatologist who practiced medicine full-time in the Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for over thirty years and raised three children to young adulthood. She achieved many academic and professional accomplishments, and she also encountered many challenges along the way, both in her career and in her mothering. Her children presented her with common problems and others not so common, such as dyslexia,attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and an adolescent eating disorder. Susan suffered through one particularly difficult period during her midlife, when she developed depression after the birth of her third child. This downturn propelled her to make specific choices and a career change. She loves to tell stories that reassure younger mothers to know that they, too, can become a “good enough mother” especially if they work full-time. She supports mothers with her social media posts, her newsletter, and her blog. Her new book is “So Many Babies: My Life Balancing a Busy Medical Career and Motherhood.”

Which writers — working today do you admire most?

Margaret Atwood, (The Handmaid’s Tale) because she is such a force for free speech and can imagine a dystopian future for our world.  Elizabeth Strout (Oh, William and Olive Kitteridge), because she writes with such feeling and thoughtfulness, Lauren Groff (Fates and Furies, Florida, and Matrix), and Donna Tart (The Goldfinch) because they are simply brilliant.

Who are your favorite writers? Are there any who aren’t as widely known as they should be, whom you’d recommend in particular?

Barbara Kingsolver is always a favorite because she takes on difficult topics like child abuse, missionary work, our flawed child protective services system, and addiction. I admire Louise Erdrich for writing many stories about important Native American issues. 

What moves you most in a work of literature?

The characters, their strengths and their flaws always move me the most, e.g. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.

Who is your favorite fictional hero or heroine?

Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, (a trilogy by Suzanne Collins) because she is so courageous. 

What book are you planning to read next?

I plan to read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R.Tolkien which, embarrassingly, I have never read.

What books and authors have impacted your writing career?

I relied heavily on Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir.  Before I read this work, I loved her trilogy of memoirs The Liar’s Club, Cherry, and Lit. She tells such a such a tragic and relatable story of dysfunctional parents, child abuse, self-doubt, promiscuity, and alcoholism. 

What kind of reader were you as a child?

I was an avid reader of novels. My mother, an elementary school librarian, brought books home for me to read. She instilled in me a love of reading. I used to help her in her library in the summer, mending and shelving books.

If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be? And what would you want to know?

I would like to meet Toni Morrison and ask her how she knew what to write in Beloved. How did she portray the story of slavery so knowingly since she never suffered personally within the system of slavery? How did she know all about it, the damage, the injury, the shame, and all of it?

Which writer would you want to write your life story?

Barbara Kingsolver, because she really understands struggle and self-doubt. My spotlight title idea would be something like “Baby Doctor Turns Author,” or something about transitioning from a life of medicine (or a life in the NICU) to the life of writing. 

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