Career: Nurse; Doula (working towards becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife)
You work with moms and you are a mom, was this career choice something you always dreamed of?
I came from a family of immigrants. I was told from a young age to work hard and keep my head down so this naturally put a limit to my dreaming big. I was so fortunate to meet amazing nursing educators that changed the trajectory of my life and inspired me to believe and harness my potential. Birth work was something I always gravitated to from when I was training to become as nurse at the age of fifteen. Just being in the room when a person is becoming a parent is such an honor and is such a transformative experience for them as parents and me as the Doula. I knew that life would take me in this direction but never did I imagine just how it would do that for me exactly.
During pregnancy we make all sorts of assumptions about motherhood, and we have endless amounts of advice and stories from our family and friends.
What was the funniest story that still stands out to this day?
Some of the Latin American home remedies I find the funniest for example, some people believe rubbing a lime on the crown of the head will lower a fever. Vicks being a cure-all for any ailment and I’m pretty sure I still believe this… my 6 year old not so much, he believes coconut oil solves all things. The other night he woke up coughing, rubbed coconut oil on his chest and stated two seconds later, “Ahhh I feel better now!” and knocked out. So I guess mind over matter.
You have a busy schedule; can you speak about being a working mother? How long did it take you to figure out a schedule that works for you? Does the mommy guilt ever go away?
Being a working mother is in my opinion the most difficult part of motherhood; realizing that your schedule revolves completely around your little human is the biggest wake up call. I have left several jobs that have not offered me the flexibility I desired to be they type of parent I want to be. To balance work and family I manage my time carefully with my significant other to arrange our schedules in a way that puts our child in our care if not in school; it is absolutely a balancing act at all times however our dedication to working as a team helps keep things fluid. For me, mommy guilt began since the day I left him with a sitter (at three months) and has not left me since! It has become easier as he has become more autonomous and as I learn the importance of self-care and the value of mommy-time.
Finding balance between work and home life can be difficult for many of us. How do you manage and do you have any tips for new moms?
Absolutely! Be kind to yourself; make sure that your self-talk is positive. Also, make sure to schedule in that alone time and alone time can vary depending on the type of person you are. Some women prefer solitude while others prefer adult “alone time” in groups. Find what works for you but be sure to maintain your identity as woman.
Postpartum or feelings of loneliness are very real after giving birth. As a Doula how do you prepare moms for this?
On my prenatal visits with the expectant person I try to paint a vivid picture of what the initial postpartum period will look like and how support is so vital. Support can come in many forms such as having family present, however having family members that are supportive and helpful is key. Also being in tune with moms at the postpartum visit is important because at this point we will have already developed a rapport, offering resources for support groups as well as doctors. Knowing when to refer out is vital for a Doula and lastly being a pillar of support without any judgment sometimes people just want someone to listen to them.
As mothers we often put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be absolutely perfect. Society also expects us to be “Super Moms”. Do you feel like we can have it all?
Totally! Unfortunately, the way society is set up at the current moment it does make our lives as women more challenging so we do have to work twice as hard but it is possible. I am a firm believer in the “Compound Effect” by taking your goals and chopping them up into small attainable goals and work at it consistently we can achieve anything we set our minds to. Furthermore, I believe it is important we shut down this patriarchal notion of what “super mom” is and learn to be more forgiving of ourselves. Somedays I can feed my child this well-balanced meal send him off to school while looking like a runway model, all while keeping my cool… and other days he eats popsicles for breakfast and I’m taking him to school in a dirty t-shirt… it’s called balance and I have had to work hard at allowing myself to have these ‘less than Kodak picture’ moments.
Describe being a mother in three words or phrases: