Carolyn Marshall, RN
Tell us about your own journey and how your experiences have changed the way you look at motherhood and parenting.
After being exposed to the magic of a maternal-newborn unit in nursing school, I knew I only wanted to work with children and families in my nursing career. My experience is working with preemies, newborns, pediatrics and families. It has given me the skills to teach families about their child so they can be empowered to make their own informed decisions and feel confident in caring for their child. This experience has also created a soft spot for me for mother's and families with preemies, or special needs children as I have cared for them across the spectrum of their life (newborn to teens). My own journey into motherhood has become more complicated as I am on an extensive infertility journey, but this adventure has made me more empathetic to those who might be or have been on a similar path.
Tell us a little about your nursing career.
I have spent my entire nursing career working with newborns, children and their families in Northern Ontario. I was an RN on a pediatric unit that was cross-trained with a neonatal intensive care unit for 5 years. During that time I also went back to school and earned my graduate degree. My graduate degree is in Nursing and I focused my thesis on pain in children. The last 4.5 years I had been working as the nurse educator in the NICU and the Pediatric unit. I have spent countless hours training other healthcare professionals about the unique needs of newborns, children and their families. I have seen such a significant gap in Northern Ontario and my community specifically in supporting mother's and families after the child leaves the hospital. I left that position to start my Mama Coach business full-time in hopes that I can help meet the needs of my community.
What are the two most important lessons you've learned working with moms, babies, and families?
1. Never underestimate the power of maternal/paternal instinct and intuition when it comes to their child
2. Babies are incredibly resilient
If you had one bit of advice to give to a new parent, what would it be?
The choices you make for your family are right for you and your family
Self-care is a big challenge for parents. How do you maintain your own energy and outlook?
I have always tried to make time for myself for self-care to keep up my energy, health, and decrease my stress level. COVID-19 really challenged me as some of my go-to activities were unavailable. I have always been a big proponent for alternative health care strategies like going to the chiropractor and getting massages, and this always seemed to help me.
I have always enjoyed spending a lot of time outdoors, and I spent a lot more quality time at my camp this summer. I also love hiking on trails near my home with my dog Larry. Spending time in nature and doing the physical activity outside is definitely something that is maintainable during the pandemic.
This summer I was also working on practicing being actively grateful for the things I had, and voicing it out loud to others, and spending that extra time to say thank you to those around me. Those exercises have really maintained my mental health and lessened the negative self-talk that can play a big part in self-care.
Another activity I do really enjoy is cooking. I love a good Pinterest search for a new recipe and trying it out on my husband, who will thankfully eat anything I cook for him.
Is there anything we've missed that you'd like to share with Mama Coach clients?
I have lived in Northern Ontario my entire life. I am passionate about bringing The Mama Coach to new mothers and families here as we are often an under-serviced area. I see you Northern Mamas!
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