Agnes Mayer, RN
Tell us about your own journey and how your experiences have changed the way you look at motherhood and parenting.
I have always been a very empathetic person, at times to a fault. Even before having my own son, I felt for these Mamas laboring and enduring some out of this world pain. After having own son and experiencing labor, I feel like I can be even more empathetic and supportive. It's like a sisterhood, once you've had a baby, Mamas are bonded.
I also feel like my own birthing experience has allowed me to build a better rapport with my patients and also allow me to share my own struggles with Mamas and for Mamas to understand that they are not alone. I think it's so important for Mamas to know that they are not the only ones having those experiences.
I can also relate to Mamas because my own birth story was nothing like I had hoped or planned for. I pretty much went through it all and feel like I can truly understand what some Mamas experience.
Tell us a little about your nursing career.
My path into Nursing was not linear. I first started in Sciences and realized 3 years later that I really liked to work with people. At the time I was working in a Physio clinic and it inspired me to apply to the Faculty of Nursing.
It's ironic because when I was a little girl, one of the professions I thought I might pursue as an adult was Nursing. I completed my BsCN in 2004 and in 2006 started working in Labour & Delivery. From the first delivery I saw, I was hooked. Helping a Mama bring their baby into the world is beyond special. It is an honor to be apart of such a life changing moment for the couple. What I enjoy the most about being a nurse is helping Mamas; being there to help and support them.
I recently attended a prenatal class with The Mama Coach- Agnes Mayer and I just HAD to rave about it. I’m having my second baby and never attended a pre natal class for my first. This time around I knew it was important for my husband and I to do one. The class covered everything from pregnancy, signs of labor, medication options during labor, to changing a diaper. It was fun, informative and there were no unnecessary videos! On top of attending the class Agnes is also happy to answer messages from mamas to help and support them through such an incredible time in our lives! I really wish I had done this class with my first!
What are the two most important lessons you've learned working with moms, babies, and families?
1. Every Mamas journey is different and that all of us Mamas struggle. It may seem like on the outside that everything is perfect, but inside it never is. Not only that, but that there is no such thing as perfect, and more importantly, that we should never compare our experience as a Mama with other Mamas. We each have our on journey and it's not better or worse than the other Mamas, it's just different. We are all different people, so it's normal for us to have different experiences, to experience motherhood differently. The important thing to keep in mind is that we should always be supportive of each other, because we all have struggles.
2. Motherhood is a journey, where we are constantly learning and being tested. We need to be kind to ourselves and patient. We need to realize that we won't have it all figured out and we shouldn't expect that of ourselves. How on Earth can we expect to know everything about motherhood and babies when we've never experienced it before? Of even if we have, we are all different, so we need to take different approaches. You are not a failure because breastfeeding is challenging or like myself, you didn't know that you had to teach a baby how to sleep. It just means that you are human and that you are learning. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself. You are doing the best you can with what you know and as your baby gets older, you learn more and become more comfortable and confident in your skills as a Mama. Remember to be kind to yourself, speak to yourself like you would to your child. Remind yourself that "You got this!"
If you had one bit of advice to give to a new parent, what would it be?
Be patient with your baby but most importantly with yourself. Nothing prepares you for motherhood and no matter how many books you read, you're still going to face challenges. Just take it one step at a time and remember that you're doing the best you can.
Self-care is a big challenge for parents. How do you maintain your own energy and outlook?
I struggle a lot with self-care. I think it's part of being a Nurse, always taking care of others. It became even more of a struggle once I had my son. I didn't have any time for myself and it took a huge toll on me, as it does with many new Mamas.
It has taken me a few years to realize what helps me fill my cup and what I can do to help keep it full. I love going to Barre. I think that exercise is so important. It doesn't matter what type you do, find one that works for you and do it. I feel so much better after I've gone to a class. I'm physically ready for the day, but more importantly I feel like my spirit is ready for the day. I also try and meditate and be grateful for the good and the bad. I also enjoy reading, watching bad TV and also spending time with friends. The hardest thing I find being a Mama is finding the time to get together with my fellow Mama friends. It's important to get together sans kids, to be able to talk honestly with each other, drink and laugh and be ourselves. I know that when I'm around my son, I'm a very different person. We all need time to be ourselves, to de-stress, enjoy a glass of wine or 2 and have some laughs with our friends.
The key to self-care is to start out with baby steps and to ask for help. We can't do this alone. The more we feel supported, the better we feel about ourselves and the more full our cup is.
Is there anything we've missed that you'd like to share with Mama Coach clients?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You don’t have to struggle alone. I don’t know why we women think that we should do this alone? Back in the day, our Grandmothers and Mothers had each other for help. They had their neighbors. They had a village. The village doesn’t exist anymore, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Help is out there. More importantly asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. Knowing when you need help and asking for it is vital for you, for your baby and for your mental wellbeing. Mamas you are not alone and you don’t have to do this alone. There is help. I can be your village, I can be your help.
Agnes's Recent Articles
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