Not your typical mirror selfie, but this is no typical lady. Yes, it’s about that time again. My lucky number seven is Ria aka @thedoctormummy! And Ria is a real and proper doctor! Yup. That’s not fancy dress.
Ria is a specialist trainee in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. In other words, she studies very hard to do a job that not many people can be bothered to do but that many more people reap the benefits of. After working across Intensive Care, Paediatrics, Emergency Medicine and Sexual Health, she decided on a career in Women’s Health. Ria has been rewarded by working 13 hour shifts and being given lots of letters to put after her name in official correspondence.
Late last year, Ria had her first child, TJ, who is, imho, the cutest little boychild EVERRRRRRRRRR! However, her pregnancy was a difficult one as she experienced severe nausea and vomiting which was eventually diagnosed as Hyperemesis Gravidarum (let’s call it HG for ease). You know…that condition that Kate Middleton shone the spotlight on and made acceptable. I know all about the dreaded HG because one of my best friends was, like Ria, eventually hospitalised due to severe dehydration after being initially fobbed off by her GP *KMT*
I have really enjoyed watching Ria’s and TJs Instagram Stories double act. Her deadpan delivery increases the comedy value exponentially. She’s like a black, female Jack Dee…but funny. I have also loved reading Ria’s Instagram captions (she, like me, loves a good caption and I can only respect that *insert fist bump*). She covers topics from body positivity to the inadequacy of Kegels in preventing leakage during and after pregnancy to the importance of learning to love oneself before trying to be happy with someone else to the dentist who asked her twice if she wanted to close the gap inbetween her front teeth *insert straight mouth emoji* I am hoping that she doesn’t forget about us once her maternity leave ends and she is back at work, helping to improve the health of women.
I was lucky enough to meet Ria in the flesh at the Raising Excellence Motherhood Reconstructed panel event. She rocked up on her own and even asked a question *gasp!* I recognised her from Instagram straight away and made sure we had a chat and got a pic together for the ‘gram (see somewhere below). Insisting that she feels “shy and awkward”, all I got from her was quiet confidence, with the potential for wild…which is entirely up my street!
Some Reasons Why I Love Ria:
- She is funny as f*ck
- She has a very cute kid and I respect that
- She is black and excellent (hence she’s a doctor) and we need to see and celebrate black excellence much more than we do. But she is also so matter of fact about it. When I asked her how the hell she has done everything that she has done, Ria responded “I’m just really stubborn. I wanted life to be different for me and I didn’t understand why I couldn’t become a doctor if I worked hard. I don’t know where I got my hustle from, but, sometimes, it’s good to remind myself how hard I had to hustle.” Like, come on, man! *swoon*
- She is passionate about helping people, especially those whose voices are often ignored, which leads me to think that she has a nice bedside manner, which is incredibly pleasing.
I think you get the gist. And I think you will love her too.
Hey! Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Hello! I’m Ria and I’m married to James. Our son TJ is 10 months old and definitely rules the roost! I live in the Home Counties (can I just pretend I still live in London? No? Ok then…). I’m currently at the end of maternity leave but will be returning to my job as a Junior Doctor in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
*boos and hisses at a virtual Jeremy Hunt for approx. 30 seconds* OK, now that’s out of the way, what time do you get up on a typical weekday morning?
At the moment, I have the luxury of no formal alarm, but my son insists that we wake up at 7am everyday. Every. Day. My son generally rolls over and bashes until I give in and wake up. He’s definitely a morning person!
Oh. Well, I guess that’s kind of handy (until that one time when you need to be up at 7am but he decides that he needs a lie-in and you miss your appointment and have to start thinking up a reasonable excuse as to why because people with important appointments to get to don’t use their child as an alarm clock…not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything, of course…*#lesigh*) So, it’s 7am. Your boy is up. You’re up. What is the first thing you do?
Try and check my phone on the sly. Instagram, Facebook, emails and the news.
Snap! *deep sigh* OK, you’ve caught up on everything that social media and online has to offer. What next?
My son insists on being fed in the mornings?! So after getting up and changing his nappy we usually head to the kitchen where I try and cobble something together. I remember reading that food before one is just for fun, but this child eats for sustenance so I can’t get away with a lazy breakfast as much as I’d like! I don’t drink tea or coffee so rely on herbal tea to get me through the day.
Erm, food before one is just for fun? Were they referring to 13:00 hours? Anyway, moving on to less ridiculous sounding things, please would you take us through a typical morning.
I have two modes. Either super productive and everything is done by midday (housework wise), or incredibly disorganised and standing around in my PJ’s at lunchtime going “didn’t I feed you already?” Mornings are usually spent at home, unless I have an appointment or need to do the weekly Aldi run. Planning that is a military operation due to the lack of car parking spaces! I’ve lapsed recently but also try to do a home-based postpartum core strength/pilates workout. When I was on it, I found it was helping me physically as well as also giving me some structure to my day, which I found useful.
Mother and child
So, apart from the Aldi run, do you manage to get out of the house?
As I said, our days aren’t very structured at present. I do try to get out on most days, although it’s often the afternoon by the time I’ve gotten organised! I drive when necessary, but, if I can, I walk or use public transport.
All that walking must build up an appetite. So, lunch. When? What?
Lunch will be sometime after the morning nap, at around 1:00pm although that isn’t fixed. I love avocados so will usually indulge. I’m trying to increase my protein intake so something like an omelette which is quick and easy works well for me. TJ tends to eat what we eat. I decided to go for baby-led weaning, mainly because I was too lazy to puree. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but, now, he refuses to be spoonfed, so a meal can take at least 30 minutes for feeding and cleaning up. At least he’s not fussy and he eats Caribbean food, which was very important to me.
Sorry, but did you say that you love avocados? Erm, excuse me while I vomit. Please continue with your day…*vomits*
Ok, this is usually my active time of day. I go out, meet friends with babies of similar ages (I’m lucky to have an active NCT group who I meet with regularly), brave the library (my son is a shrieker so I have to time this carefully) or head into London if nothing is happening locally. I also go to see my Grandmother in London at least once a week on the train. She is 87 years old and has been housebound since she broke her hip, but she lives for my son. It was really important for me to make sure that my son knows his Great-Grandmother. Since TJ has started crawling, she has been able to follow him around, while I end up in the local Jamaican takeaway, getting her dinner. I’m basically her runner *insert sad face* Recently, during a London trip, I decided to take my son to The Garden in the basement of the Science Museum in London. It’s a free, interactive space for younger kids. He loved it!
TJ is super lucky having his Great-Grandmother in his life. And I respect that food is very important to her. *fistbump* What time do you get home?
Varies hugely, but I like to get home in time for TJ to wind down before bed, so, usually, no later than 6:00pm. TJ goes to bed at 7:00pm. He is fed to sleep and goes down in his cot. Unfortunately, how long he stays there is anyone’s guess. He has never slept for longer than three hours, and he still breastfeeds during the night so, for my sanity, we co-sleep. I can’t wait until he’s a lazy teenager so I can return the favour and wake him up repeatedly…
You and me both, girl. You and me both. It’s one of the things that keeps me going. *deep sigh* So, TJ has been fed and is down. Do you get fed?
We eat once my son is in bed, usually at around 7:30pm. I’m ashamed to say that my husband does most of the cooking. It started off being because of my shift work, then it was because of food aversions during pregnancy, and now it’s pure laziness, but I’m getting better. He is quite adventurous and creative in the kitchen. He has an Ottolenghi cookbook *insert smug face*
Listen, in this age of gender equality, I don’t think that is a problem at all…unless he can’t cook, obvs. Then it’s a massive problem. The worst. What happens after dinnertime? Do you get a chance to relax?
My husband and I will often chill out in front of the TV and have a chat, catching up on the day and any plans for the week. We love rum and have a respectable collection of spirits so will sometimes have a cheeky cocktail!
I knew there was some *adopts RiRi intonation and sings* “wild, wild, wild” in there! I just knew it! Yes, girl, I’m down for a Dark ‘N’ Stormy* if there’s a splash of Appleton Estate knocking about. Mmmm… Sets you up nicely for bedtime, I bet. What time do you get your head down?
At around 11:30pm. My son has usually woken up at least once or twice by then, so I give in to my tiredness and go to sleep.
Be honest, how heavily does social media feature in your day?
Way too much. I try to convince myself that it’s necessary, but I’m also trying to work on reducing how much I stare at my phone. The only problem is I want to read articles online about how to reduce screen time, and that’s a bit silly isn’t it?
If you’re not already fangirling over Ria on Instagram, you can catch her here: @thedoctormummy
Or you can catch her speaking at the ICHG 2017 (she’s got a lot to say on the topic of hyperemesis, yunno!)
She hasn’t got a blog…yet!
*For those unacquanited with this drink, according to Aunty Google, a Dark ‘n’ Stormy is a highball cocktail made with dark rum and ginger beer served over ice and garnished with a slice of lime. Lime juice is also frequently added.