Hannah Oakes, RN
Tell us about your own journey and how your experiences have changed the way you look at motherhood and parenting.
Despite working on a daily basis with moms, dads, and their babies, I don't think anything could have totally prepared me for the realities of motherhood. My husband and I have two children and right from the onset with number one things didn't go to plan. Parts of the pregnancy, the birth, the recovery and the whole "being a mom" thing just were not what I had expected.
One of the things I found most challenging was the uncertainty and questioning as to whether I was doing the "right thing" for my children and my family. Did I rest enough during pregnancy? Maybe I shouldn't be feeding my baby to sleep? Why do I find it so difficult to take a break and focus on myself? There was a lot of self doubting. Sometimes I felt isolated when I realised others were doing things differently to what instinctively felt so right to me, and what worked for them and their children just wouldn't work for mine. I quickly turned to books and the internet only to find even more diverse and varied advice. At times I felt overwhelmed and guilty that maybe I could be doing a better job.
One of my main goals as a Mama Coach is to support families in a way that takes the guilt out of parenting. My professional experience as a registered nurse brings a commitment to provide a thorough nursing assessment and evidence based education in whatever role you might need help - as a lactation counsellor, sleep coach, or prenatal educator. It is though, equally important for me to do this with sensitivity to the fact that everyone is different and on their own personal parenting journey.
Another thing I found challenging as a mom was following through and putting into practice the advice of doctors, nurses and other health professionals. Even when my intentions were strong and I knew that something needed to change in our families parenting journey (mainly that I needed more sleep and time to myself), the reality was, I often fell short of making the changes I had been told I needed to make.
As a Mama Coach I understand how tough this parenting gig can be. Through home visits, telephone, email and text support I am here for you more than just "I say, you do!" I will work hard at getting to know your family and your personal situation, and offer the time, education, tools and support needed to increase your confidence so you feel you can begin to make positive changes.
Tell us a little about your nursing career.
The desire to make a positive impact on people's lives coupled with a passion for health education and wellness made nursing the perfect career path for me. The majority of my career has been working with babies, infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their parents as a Registered Public Health Nurse, and I have been doing this for a total of 4 years now. Making newborn and maternal home visits and providing nursing care, assessments, and education in areas such as infant feeding, growth and development, sleep, nutrition, and postpartum depression are just some of my areas of nursing expertise. Having a child is not easy, and I absolutely love supporting families through what some might consider to be one of the toughest yet most worthwhile jobs out there, being a parent.
What are the two most important lessons you've learned working with moms, babies, and families?
1) What is a problem or important for one family might be completely different for another. It's only a problem if it is a problem for you!
2) Being a parent isn't easy and it is not something you should tackle on your own. Talking openly about struggles and challenges with those you can trust and asking for help are so important. It really does take a community to raise a child!
If you had one bit of advice to give to a new parent, what would it be?
If you can, try to take one day at a time. Follow your instincts as you know your baby best but never be afraid to ask for help however big or small your question might be.
Self-care is a big challenge for parents. How do you maintain your own energy and outlook?
As a nurse I am always reminding parents about the importance of self care for healthy physical and mental well being. Practising what I preach is not as easy! But...one of the things that is most restorative for me is being outdoors. I love going hiking and trail running with my dog Sizzla in the beautiful forest we live so close to. I also love going out for delicious food and drinks with my husband and friends. My other passion is travel and and exploring the beautiful city and surroundings we live in.
Is there anything we've missed that you'd like to share with Mama Coach clients?
With my experience as a Registered Nurse, lactation counselor, infant sleep coach and mama of two children, my aim is to provide you with the help, support, and education needed to confidently navigate the best path for you, your family and your children without judgement and without you feeling guilty.
I am here for you! If you ever feel overwhelmed and like things could be better for you, your baby and your family, or like there is no one to ask who understands where you might be coming from, I am here to help and support you. I am looking forward to meeting you and family.
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