Nurses Offer Lifeline By Pampering New Moms In Weekly Meetings
Nothing — and I mean nothing — really prepares you for motherhood. You think you know about sleeplessness and about the enormous responsibility of keeping a tiny human healthy. But even if your expectations of the daily grind (and joy) of parenting are right on target, there’s something you just can’t prepare for until it slaps you in the face: ceasing to exist in your own right.
OK, not really, but that’s what it feels like sometimes. Even something as simple as going to the bathroom requires planning, and all the people (friends, relatives, nurses) who doted on you when you were pregnant never even ask how you’re doing anymore; they just want to know about the baby.
That’s why the weekly group held at the hospital where I delivered was such a lifesaver. It was run by two of the hospital’s maternity nurses, and their goal was to provide a place where exhausted, hormonal new moms could feel like themselves again. They always asked how we were doing — not just about our babies — and they actually cared about the answers. They listened to our new-mom fears and answered our silly questions (which they had to have heard a hundred times) without making us feel like we were hopelessly clueless. And they would hold our babies so we could take a bathroom break without fear, which might have been the best part of all!
I’m still in touch with some of the moms I met through that group. Our “babies” are 12 now, and it’s been fun to watch them grow up and welcome younger siblings into the world. I haven’t seen the nurses since I popped in for a visit when I was pregnant with my second — you had to “graduate” from the group when your little one started walking — but I often wonder if they know what a difference they made. Do these two nurses know how eagerly we looked forward to that weekly meeting? How fervently we prayed for no runny noses or fevers so that we wouldn’t have to miss it? How, as much as we cheered for our babies’ first steps, we also grieved, knowing that our time in the group was coming to an end? I hope that they do. I hope that they know how much they mattered and that we still remember.
Image source: Flickr