Aleisha Hartrick, RN
Tell us about your own journey and how your experiences have changed the way you look at motherhood and parenting.
In 2011 I became a mother for the first time. I waited my entire life to have a baby, and a new baby girl was absolutely beyond a dream come true. Our second (2013) and third girls (2015) complete our family and it feels so perfect. They are our every heartbeat. Their giggles, their personalities, watching them discover this world... they make our cheeks hurt with laughter. They are incredibly precious, it is without a doubt soul stealing.
I was not prepared for how hard those first days, weeks, and months would be however. Healing was slow, feedings were hard. Anxiety would kick in as the sun set, I was so afraid of being up all night. Having three children comes with three very different birth stories, feeding hurdles, growth and experience. I have had an epidural, and I have had a baby without. I have breast fed, bottle fed, and pumped and fed. I have felt the pressure, shed many tears, and I have felt the guilt. I feel very well rounded in the world of motherhood at this point, and I have eased up on the pressures I put on myself to be a "perfect" mother. I'm not, but one thing is true - I am doing the best I can, and when I see how happy, healthy, and how free our little girls are, I know I must be doing something right.
Prentiss, Vaida and Marah are now 7, 5 & 3, and I absolutely believe we are heading in to some of the best years of our lives! Every stage brings something so new, so unique. They are just so passionate about growing, and I completely embrace it.
Tell us a little about your nursing career.
At 12 years old, I absolutely knew I would dedicate my career to babies. I vividly remember seeing an NICU display at the Festival of Trees in Edmonton. The incubator, the wee babies, the tiny diapers, all of it . I was glued. Instantly obsessed. I could have stayed there for hours, touching them, putting my arms through the holes. I knew then as strongly as I know now, I was meant to be an NICU Nurse. Never once have I looked back.
For the past 13 years I have been committed to the babies of the Level 3 NICU. The emotions that accompany comforting a parent through the joy of a new baby and the stress of him or her being in the hospital has shaped the way I view life. I have watched them face unfathomable pain, unconditional love, and every emotion in between. Those babies are incredibly strong, so are their parents. Memories of some I will carry with me always as it is impossible not to get attached. I love them fiercely. I am as passionate about my career now as I was at just 12 years old, dreaming of it. I feel very lucky to have this passion for what I do.
Aleisha made up a very useful and successful plan for my 3 month old and she is always responsive to my questions as soon as she can. She truly cares about what she does and is dedicated to my baby's success. I would recommend her to anyone having issues with their little one sleeping, or just needing some guidance/support. Thank you, Aleisha!
What are the two most important lessons you've learned working with moms, babies, and families?
Take is easy on yourself, and give yourself some credit. Break up the hard days in to moments - maybe it's a few minutes or an hour. Sometimes looking ahead at an entire day or night is just too much. One moment at a time. Each will pass, and you can take on the next.
Do not try to be anyone other than yourself. This goes for your parenting style too. What feels right for you, is what is right for your family. Own it and be proud of the parent you are.
We need to interact, connect, communicate. Get out of the house, go on that coffee date or park date. How good do you feel when you sit and chat with an old friend for hours? Make new friends too, they might be your old friends down the road.
If you had one bit of advice to give to a new parent, what would it be?
If I could give you one bit of advice it would be to work together with your spouse. Each of you needs to be loved so differently right now, so much has changed. Figure out the love you both need, and show it, every day. A random hug, a favourite home cooked meal, it can be something so simple.
Talk, talk, and talk. Not necessarily about things you "should" talk about, but just chat. All the conversations you ""need"" to have will just come.
Self-care is a big challenge for parents. How do you maintain your own energy and outlook?
I come from a family of "work-a-holics" for sure. Then I married a man who never stops, just like his dad who never stops! I guess it has shaped who I am and what I love. People often say they are shocked at how much I take on.
I will never claim to be in total control though, and I have come crashing down more than enough times. I am learning, and now I know I need to take care of me too.
I believe in meditation and yoga, and I am starting to explore that more. Nothing makes me feel more rejuvenated then a yoga class. Stretching is so important. I am a better mother and wife when I exercise, so that is an absolute must.
Gardening is one of my biggest passions for sure. The smell of the soil, watching things bud through from seed, feeding my family purely from food we've grown. The girls get so excited to eat right out of the pea patch. I have those same memories from 30 years ago, I love that.
Aleisha's Recent Articles
How Do I Know I Am Pregnant? Early Pregnancy Signs and SymptomsA twinge, a cramp, my boobs are sore, could it be? Am I pregnant? Oh the anticipation! It can be all consuming, I have totally been there! Every-single-little-thing that...
If I Could Keep You LittleWhen my daughter, Vaida, turned one, she received a book, “If I Could Keep You Little”, by Marianne Richmond. Every time we read it, I’m reminded that my babies are...
It’s Getting EasierChristmas is done and the New Year is well under way. I am back from a much-needed little getaway with my family. Joined by my sister and her gang, we...
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