Photos by Brooke Boyd
Around Town, Parenting

Dr. Katharine Saussy

Husband: Jed Antoun 

Child: Parker, 4 weeks

Occupation: Dermatologist at Sanova Dermatology 

Hobbies: Hanging out with her dogs, reading, family walks, trying new restaurants, Mahjong, and traveling

Born and raised in New Orleans, Dr. Katharine Saussy embodies the heart and soul of the Crescent City. Though she ventured out for college, medical school, and residency, something always pulled her back to her hometown. Now a dedicated dermatologist, Katharine and her husband Jed have settled in New Orleans to start their family, recently welcoming their four-week-old son, Parker. Katharine is passionate about her work, her patients, and the unique challenges of the community she serves. Despite her love for travel, she can’t imagine living anywhere else, a feeling many New Orleanians know all too well.

1.What does a normal day look like for you now?

KATHARINE: We’re only four weeks in, so I wouldn’t say we have quite a schedule yet, but that’s what we’re working on over the next couple weeks. We’re trying to get into some resemblance of what a routine looks like, and it remains very flexible because we’re feeding every two to three hours. We wake up, I’ll feed him, and then try to pump first thing in the morning. We’re trying to work on supply and getting that supply for when I go back to work, which, for the working mom, is a lot. That is a little daunting, but we’re getting there. We do our best to get dressed, do our skincare routine, put on our sunscreen, and brush our teeth in the morning. Usually, we’ll have appointments, get lunch with a friend, or go out for a walk— something to get out of the house. I think from a physician perspective and now as a mom, it’s important to keep some resemblance of what brings you joy because the whole postpartum period has been a fun journey, but also a very interesting and hard journey. Mental health-wise, I need to get out of the house every day at least once. I’d like to interact with another human being besides this human. Any time for yourself, I feel like that’s a big plug: finding at least an hour a day for yourself when you’re not caring for this human.

2. What inspired you to pursue your career?

KATHARINE: I always knew I wanted to do something in healthcare, or I really wanted to be in the CIA. I’m serious! I went to college, and I was going to be some sort of political science major. Then, I actually had a pretty heartbreaking encounter when I was in the park one day and there was a medical emergency there. But I was like, you know what? Under pressure, in chaos, and in a storm, I actually feel very calm—which would still be good in the CIA—but I decided to go into healthcare instead. I’ve found that I’m an introverted personality in how I reboot, but I am an extroverted personality in my [ability] to communicate with people and feel calm in social and chaotic situations. I knew that in healthcare, as a dermatologist, you’re always interacting with people, and you’re forming relationships that can last literally a lifetime. I hope that I’m still practicing when I’m in my 70s and 80s. I just love that [I’m] interacting with people during the day.

3. What are some joys and challenges of being a mom?

KATHARINE: I’m breastfeeding, so, whether you’re formula feeding or breastfeeding, there’s probably similar challenges in the sense of making sure you’re providing enough. With formula, you know how many ounces they’re getting for the next number of hours. But when you’re breastfeeding, you don’t really know. One of the challenges for me is knowing that I’m giving him enough and that he’s growing and gaining enough weight. That’s been one of my biggest challenges so far outside of postpartum recovery. And then obviously the sleep: I feel I’ve actually done really well, and he’s a pretty good sleeper. It’s amazing what your body can do after you have the baby… how many hours you can go without consistent sleep. I mean, I was shocked. You’re just running on adrenaline. It’s actually kind of cool to just see what your body can do. Is it great for you? Probably not. But it’s fun to see that, because I didn’t believe it until I experienced it. There are also endless amounts of joys. You look at them, and you feel joy. Sometimes there are tears, but as far as joys go, I’m health-literate and educated, and I still look at him like it is such a miracle that this thing was created! 

4. What is the most important thing you hope to teach your child?

KATHARINE: A couple things come to mind, but gratitude is one of them. When you are internally and externally grateful, and you share that with other people, it’s every aspect of your life. From someone holding the door for you or someone picking up your trash or someone coming to clean your house, to having a patient that gives you positive feedback. We can’t do anything in life without other people. Everything we do in life has other people involved, and it’s so important to always be mindful of that and to communicate that with other people. More is not always better. I want him to understand that you need very few things in life. You don’t need much, and you can still be just as happy and just as successful. I’ve really tried to just be content and present with where we are, so I’ve been very grateful for that as well.

5. What are your favorite things to do as a family?

KATHARINE: My husband and I love to go try new restaurants. We bring [Parker] along the way. We’re only four weeks in, so I’m sure this will become more difficult as time goes on, but I’m figuring this out as we go. Bringing him and exposing him to different environments is a big thing for me. We kind of did that with our dogs too; anywhere we could bring them, we would bring them. I love my dogs; they’re definitely the loves of my life along with Parker now. So I would say: exposing him from a very early age, in a safe way, to different environments so he can start to get used to it. Does he have any idea at this point in time where he is? Absolutely not. But, we want him to be the kid that we can go to dinner with and he knows how to sit in a high-chair and how to eat dinner with us as a family. Also traveling: we’ve now gone on a couple different weekend getaways nearby, so we’re getting him integrated into our life as much as possible, but also making a routine that works for him, keeping him safe and growing.

Photos by Brooke Boyd

6. How will you maintain a work/life balance?

KATHARINE: There’s definitely going to be a transition period. Find your groove, and give yourself grace. That’s been a big phrase I have to tell myself: you’ve got to give yourself grace; you’ve got to give yourself the time to figure it out; room to fall and not succeed, and then rebuild. That’s a big thing in parenthood I learned very early on. As far as work-life balance goes, once Parker is going to school at three months, routine-wise, he’ll be in school five days a week and we’ll both be working five full days a week. We both try to stay active, so finding an hour at least three or four days a week where we can go work out is going to be part of our routine. Having dinner together will be part of our routine. We’re starting to make a bath time/bedtime routine, just so he has some consistency. As far as balance goes, again, I’m figuring it out. It’s important to take time for yourself. Work-wise, one of the benefits of being a dermatologist is that we work extremely hard and on weekends and nights, we’re not working. That already helps set a little bit of a work-life balance. That doesn’t mean we don’t have notes to finish or we’re not on-call certain times of the year, but what I’m going to try to do is at a certain time, cut off my email and text responding. My sister lives here, and my mom lives here. Most of my family is a few hours away, so I see them once a week at least. I have a couple of benchmarks in the week that keep me grounded and keep me centered with the people that I surround myself with.

7. What are some things you learned throughout your pregnancy?

KATHARINE: Having perspective and being grateful was a huge part of my pregnancy. I had the perspective that I’m so grateful to be at this point in my life and to be at this point in a healthy pregnancy, which made all of the little things not feel big and heavy. Learning the art of slowing down: I can’t tell you with full honesty that I mastered that, because I kept going to the very very end and pushed myself almost every day and regretted it at the end of the day. That’s something I would want other people to know is that you need to make sure that you have that balance and are able to have those rest periods, whether it’s a weekend or when you get home from work. Continuing to exercise is very important if you’re able to do so. It helps with glucose control, your sugar levels, weight gain, and your own mental, physical, and emotional health. Eating: making sure you’re drinking plenty of water and you’re eating a well-balanced diet. Preparation: getting as prepared as possible is huge, whether it’s getting all your postpartum gear together, going to the grocery store and stocking your freezer up, or setting up your little stations throughout the house with diapers and changes of clothes. 

8. Do you have any advice for other new parents?

KATHARINE: Prepare for what you can prepare for, so that you have more room for the unexpected, the flexibility, and the winging it. Prepare for (if you have the resources) help. Prepare for postpartum. Talk to people, friends, and family that you’re comfortable with; talk with your provider about what to expect postpartum and how you can be prepared for that. If you have a spouse, try to have conversations before the baby arrives about how they can be helpful to you. Giving yourself grace is huge, huge, huge. If you’re someone that needs to be around other people, once a day, plan something to get out of the house. Those are things I try to do every day that have truly been, mentally, really really helpful.

9. What is something you’re looking forward to?

KATHARINE: I’m actually looking forward to going back to work. It’s going to be hard, so I’m definitely nervous about the transition. I know it’s going to be a new routine and trying to find a new work-life balance. But I truly love what I do, and I love who I work with, which I think is really important. I miss them, I miss my staff, I miss the other providers that I work with and having that social interaction with my patients and with my office. As far as being a mom, I’m just looking forward to watching him grow into this human, just looking at all those little steps, hopefully influencing him to be a good human as he grows up.

Quick Q’s

  1. My guilty pleasure is……….Creole Creamery ice cream (but I don’t feel guilty about it) or sushi.
  2. My favorite date night is………. Trying new restaurants. 
  3. My favorite girls night out is…………. Also trying new restaurants… I’m a happy hour/early dinner kind of gal.
  4. Something that makes me laugh is………. Memes.

This article was originally published in July 2024.

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