Jennifer Fleeson, RN
Tell us about your own journey and how your experiences have changed the way you look at motherhood and parenting.
When I learned I was to become a first-time Grandmother in Oct 2018, (I have two adult children, Aubrey and Nevin) I dug deep into research and discovered the bleak statistical outcomes of new mothers and infants. I was determined to fill the gaps of our failing healthcare system for my daughter and grandson. It was during this time my passion for all things pregnancy and infant/child was reignited. Together, we have since worked to overcome unnecessary pregnancy/labor interventions, latch/feeding issues, quick diagnosis and interventions to stave off mastitis, early torticollis interventions to prevent plagiocephaly (flat head), and sleep issues. All things that could have caused major stresses and medical issues had she not had the 1:1 support that was desperately needed. I knew then what direction my nursing career needed to go in…I was going to be a Mama Coach!
Tell us a little about your nursing career.
I started my nursing career in 2002 in the PICU, followed by Maternal-Child Health and L&D, then more recently, Home Health. It was in Home Health that I discovered my love of the 1:1 model of delivering care. Too often in a traditional hospital setting, this connection of individualized care was missing. I quickly realized that it was this critical piece of the puzzle that was making a huge difference in my patients. It was a win-win situation. So I decided to blend my passion for mom-baby patients, with the 1:1 ratio I already knew worked and found the perfect "recipe" for me.
What are the two most important lessons you've learned working with moms, babies, and families?
1. No two situations are the same. Even within the same family, each baby/child presents with their own individual issues. The "cookie-cutter" approach found in books rarely works for everyone.
2. Most mothers/parents would be surprised to learn that their fears, challenges, and questions are not unique to them. They all have more in common than they think! I encourage parents to be open and vulnerable when talking to other parents about their struggles, I can almost guarantee they will find comfort in one another!
If you had one bit of advice to give to a new parent, what would it be?
You're doing big, hard things! You don't need to have all the answers to be a good parent, be open and flexible to try new things if what you're currently doing isn't working for you. And most importantly, be gentle with yourself. Support yourself the same way you would a friend. You deserve it!
Self-care is a big challenge for parents. How do you maintain your own energy and outlook?
Self-care is NOT selfish! The older I get, the more this rings true for me. I'm the best version of myself when I'm recharged, balanced and rested.
For me, connecting to nature recharges my soul. Hiking, snorkeling, traveling to places that I can explore new lands, or just hanging out in my hammock reading a book, brings me so much peace.
On the flip-side, I can binge-watch a show like nobody's business.
Balance is key.
Is there anything we've missed that you'd like to share with Mama Coach clients?
Trust your gut! (And you're here reading this for a reason, so I imagine you're already pretty good at doing that.) I promise to listen to you with empathy as you share your struggles and to deliver care with kindness and compassion. My hope is to end our time together by giving you a sense of empowerment as you continue your journey throughout parenthood, and maybe share a few laughs along the way!
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