“Who inspires you?”
Most moms have been asked this thought-provoking question once or twice in their lives. In response, some may have mentioned a famous person, or maybe a relative, such as their own mother or grandmother. Many times, the inspiring people in our lives are people we know personally and have an existing relationship with.
But when it comes to naming the impactful people in our lives — those people who have influenced us with their personality, brilliance, and success — not many people can claim that part of their inspiration comes from that of their friend, a pediatric neurosurgeon. I, however, have been blessed to become friends with Dr. Libby Infinger who works right here in Charleston!
This amazing woman is one of only about 50 female pediatric neurosurgeons in the United States, and she is definitely a mom to see in the 843! Read on and become inspired by Dr. Infinger and her passion for saving the lives of children in our community!
Moms to See in the 843: Dr. Libby Infinger
Hey there Dr. Infinger! Tell us a little bit about you, your family, and what brought you to Charleston!
I’m originally from Ohio, but my family had a house in Mt. Pleasant so we spent summers and holidays here. I came here for residency at the Medical University in 2007 and ended up staying! I’m married with two kids: I have a son who is 11 years old and a daughter who is seven. I met my husband when I was in medical school and we got married during my residency. I found out I was expecting our first child while I was still in residency. Being pregnant as a chief resident and operating all day every day was extremely hard! But I had the support of my husband to get me through, and I still draw on his help each and every day so I can put part of my focus on my career!
Tell us, what inspired you to become a pediatric neurosurgeon?
My dad was a pediatric neurosurgeon and, therefore, I had early exposure to the field. I can honestly say, however, that I didn’t grasp what it all meant, but I knew I wanted to do medicine and perform surgery of some sort. During medical school, I was most drawn to neurosurgery so I pursued getting into a neurosurgery residency. The program is seven years long, and during those years of training, I fell in love most with the pediatric patients and their families. So I decided to do yet another year of training and do a fellowship in pediatric neurosurgery to become a pediatric neurosurgeon!
What are some of your passions in life and how did these passions lead you to where you are today?
My family is definitely the most important thing to me. Because of my strong family relationships, I have a sincere passion for creating excellent relationships with my patients and their families. I love working together with them to help them cope with health challenges that may be terrifying to them. But through our relationships, I can help families navigate the process and hopefully make it less scary.
How has your life as a mom impacted your professional life and the care you give to your pediatric patients and their families?
Being a mom gives me a whole new perspective when dealing with my patients and their families. I can’t help but think how terrified these parents must be when faced with a life-changing diagnosis and the need for brain surgery. I definitely feel like I can relate to them more since I am a mom, and I make sure to treat my patients as if they are my own kids.
As a mom, what are some big challenges that you have faced when it comes to being a working professional? What sacrifices have you made during your life in order to be successful in your career?
It’s a little bit of give and take. You have to realize you can’t do everything perfectly all the time! Sometimes you may miss little things here or there, or may not have everything exactly perfect, but you have to learn to juggle! You also have to prioritize life’s events and be there for the big things that are important to your kids that they will actually remember. And, definitely, don’t beat yourself up about missing a few things here and there.
What is the best advice you can give to other working moms?
Give yourself some grace! Remember that you’re setting a good example for your kids in doing what you’re passionate about in life. You’re showing them that it’s possible to have a family and still do what you love! And also, Moms, don’t compare yourself to others!
What are some of your future goals? Are you working on anything specific, either professionally or personally?
I’m excited to hopefully grow our hospital’s pediatric neurosurgery program! Currently, we only have two pediatric neurosurgeons, and I hope we can expand in the future!
If you were able to go back in time and have a conversation with yourself as a young girl, what would you say to her?
I’d say find your passion and go for it! I didn’t know any female neurosurgeons in medical school and, thus, had none to look up to. But I never doubted that pediatric neurosurgery was what I needed to do. I’d also tell myself that all the sacrifices are worth it when it’s something you love to do!
Thank you Dr. Libby Infinger for sharing with us about your passion for helping children and their families in such a vulnerable time in their lives!
Check out more of our Moms to See in the 843 series by clicking on the image below!