Nurse Talk - Motherhood in the life of a nurse
I've been searching long and hard for a Nurse to feature on Brave Development's blog. Throughout my years working with children and, now, being a mother myself, I have come to learn the true value, love and importance of our Nurses, especially the role that they play in the first few years of our own and our children's lives. Honestly, in my opinion, they are the cornerstone of healthcare. We can easily take their profession and the immense sacrifices that they need to make to take care of us and our little ones for granted. Anyway, today's post was written by an inspiring friend of mine. One that always speaks life into my profession, my calling to serve others as well as my mothering, which I am eternally grateful for. I'm so glad you all get to learn from Baphiwe today.
When I chose my career, it was merely on the basis that I've always loved to engage with and take care of people. Nursing in the Emergency Room tended to provide such a thrill that the adrenaline was basically what drove me to do the 12 hour shifts. When the clock hit 4pm, I always got excited that there would only be three hours left before my shift was over because at that time, my feet would be pulsating and aching and all I could think of was a hot bath where I could soak my feet.
In the later years, little did I realise that looking forward to going home would change drastically when my first child was born. Life as I knew it was no longer the same and the dynamics thereof were something to grapple with.
By the time my son was 2, balancing the equation of being a mom who is also a full-time nurse, thus, worked 12 hours a day, was not an easy one. When I left for work in the morning, my little man would be asleep and when I got back from work, he would be asleep as well. Just knowing that I missed an entire day of his life and more importantly that he missed an entire day with me was such a hard pill to swallow. It's what inspired me to look at finding different ways of managing my time and ensuring that the time I spend with him was of absolute quality.
After some careful consideration I finally decided that I would rather work nightshifts, which at the time seemed to make sense as he would be asleep while I was at work and I'd get to spend time with him once I returned home the next morning. Although this worked to a certain extent, as time passed and he grew older, he also started to realise that I would sleep more during the day, which was when he wanted to play and engage with me. So, it was back to the drawing board - Another re-evaluation of my life and how to better spend or plan my time so that I could give a 100% to both my passions, motherhood and nursing.
You see, nursing offered me:
An opportunity of giving back
An opportunity of helping the ones in need
It taught me compassion
It taught me to appreciate the value of health and life
It gave me flexibility of time with the scheduled off days
While doing the re-evaluation, I quickly realised that although the above mentioned values of being a nurse were such a blessing, my son did not necessarily benefit directly from them. So, I had to find a way to take the teachings from my career and instil them in my child. Truth be told, my son was missing out on truly knowing and bonding with his mother, as I was always tired, sleeping or working. Which led me to greatly depend on a nanny to assist in raising him.
It dawned on me that the core development needs of my child such as for love, adequate stimulation, empathy, play and even crazy things such as; baking, painting or just being fun together, were aspects that my little one was missing out on. Yet, as a nurse I was trained to find the time and motivation, even in an extreme fatigued state, to ensure that I always gave my all to my patients. In a way, I assumed a mother role within the wards that I worked in. Which led me to realise that I was more than equipped to provide all of the above to my son as well.
I did some further evaluation and was reminded of a dear friend of mine, in high school. Her mom was a nurse who worked night shifts, two out of four weeks in a month. Unfortunately, her mom was rarely home in the evenings which, might I say, enabled my friend to engage in a lot of unwarranted or unsolicited things during those years. Adolescence does not mean adulthood! Even in their teen years, our children require hands on parenting and supervision to ensure that they are kept safe, guided and stimulated accordingly. I must say that looking back now, being a mother myself, I recognise that it must have been tough on both parties and that we all don't have the luxury to be at home 24/7.
Now, as a working mom I can without a doubt say that, either way, we have to make big sacrifices, whether it's in work or parenting and more often that not, each call that one has to make becomes tougher and more daunting as time goes by. Which is why I believe in the wisdom to trust in something greater than myself.
My oldest son is now 10 years old and we've added another addition, another little boy, who is now 2 years old and I thank God for both of them, everyday. I'm in absolute awe of the blessings given to me as both a mother and a nurse. Not everyone get's to say say that they assisted in resuscitating and bringing a person back to life and then at the end of that day hear the words “mommy I love you”.
There is so much one must be grateful for, none of us are perfect and I have not come across anyone who has a formula for mastering both the skills of the professional life or parenting. However, whenever I go to bed, whether be it day/night, I sleep knowing and thanking God for the opportunity of both.
My only hope and encouragement for the one reading this, is to understand that being a parent is hard and we all know this, however there is always a way of balancing your career and your family. As they say God never gives you more than you can handle.
A Nurse's expectation has never been to be recognised for what we do, we do it because God called us. In the same way, we have been called to parent our children. It is equally as rewarding to work in a profession where we get to love, care for and nurture our patients and even better to be able to do it with our own off-springs. Be kind to yourself. Evaluate and re-evaluate as you go along.
We are chosen to serve, whether you serve as a clinician or a parent, we are blessed to have the opportunity to do both.
Signed a serving mother