Founder of The Village Perinatal, Registered Nurse
As a child I loved to play “baby doctor” and pretend to “deliver” babies. I also loved to play house, where I always wanted to be the “mommy.” I have always believed there is a strong correlation between what you gravitate to as a child through play and what becomes lifelong passions, goals, and possible career paths. I believe this because my play would turn into my reality (minus the doctor part).
When I discovered the art and skill of nursing, I fell in love. I knew it was a calling. I went through nursing school with an open mind, but deep down I knew I wanted to work with mothers and babies. I couldn’t believe that the first job I landed was my dream, in L&D. A few months later I hit the ground running in the real world of obstetrics. While I knew it was my passion and calling, I would be lying if I said I didn’t question my choice on a weekly basis.
I think this can apply to almost all nursing career paths. When it’s good it’s GREAT (what a blessing), but when it’s rough, it’s really rough. I thought I was prepared to handle the worst, but I don’t think even the most seasoned nurse ever truly gets comfortable. The pain of a loss, the scare of a massive hemorrhage, the abruption that walks through the door at 3:00am. I truly stand behind the fact that a L&D department cannot function without a TEAM. I have had a phenomenal team of support even on nights. I’ll always remember my charge nurses and colleagues that did everything in their power to keep a full-moon unit (if you know, you know) running smoothly. Whether it was covering for my patient that wanted an epidural while I had a primip starting to push, or staying after shift change just to make sure I’m caught up on charting after a STAT c-section. I cannot imagine getting through any shift without a supportive team.
One of the biggest struggles I faced was with moral dilemma. I was torn with wanting to give a patient my full attention during labor, while attempting to balance the intense demand of charting on two pitocin induction patients. As nurses, we want to help people. We want people to have the best birth experience as possible. But the demands of a high acuity patient load, charting with the intent to “cover all your bases”, and recognizing that a lot of unnecessary interventions take place were all obstacles in the way of my dream career. I learned how to advocate for my patients, wear many hats, and take one step at a time. I also learned that if you don’t recognize the patterns of excess stress, the job can take a toll on your mental health. My grounding thought at work was this: The work you do in L&D is foundational. I was always known to shed a tear after seeing the parents faces at the moment they saw their new baby. Healthy and happy societies start with healthy and supported families. It’s fundamental. That’s what kept me going. What rewarding, beautiful work it is to be an L&D nurse.
Fast forward to the birth of my son. What I thought would just be a 12 week maternity leave turned into me becoming a full time stay at home mom. It wasn’t a decision I took lightly. My husband’s job requires him to be gone 4 days a week & his schedule is not very predictable or flexible. We went through every scenario possible in our heads, but our parents aren’t retired & able to help. Daycare isn’t feasible in our area with a nursing schedule. A nanny would almost negate the money I earned working. Part time or PRN would have been easier for my family, but there wasn’t a position available. In fact, they seem to be hard to come by in my area (for L&D & postpartum at least). Being a stay at home mom is something I am so blessed to do and something that presents challenges everyday just like any job. The benefits I have noticed since I left my nursing job are that my level of stress has gone down, as have my spending habits, but it has also left me really missing my passion for birth work. Trying to balance the “I’m so lucky to be a stay at home mom” truth while also coping with losing a huge piece of my identity (women’s health nursing) is something that I’ve really struggled with. I battled a lot of emotions that I never really shared with anyone.
After a year of reflection and having a piece of “me” missing, I decided to launch The Village Perinatal Support. It gives me an outlet to do what I love while also being a mom (with another baby on the way), which is the most important job title I’ve ever held. I still miss working at the bedside with families, but running The Village allows me to channel my passion in a different way. My goal for The Village is to educate, support and empower families in the perinatal period. If I can help just one person, I feel great about that.