Maddie Amyotte, RN
Tell us about your own journey and how your experiences have changed the way you look at motherhood and parenting.
I am the proud mama of my two babes Rowan and River. Though they are close in age, these two pregnancies, deliveries, and babies couldn't be more opposite.
Rowan is 2, and is the feistiest little red head. To be honest, I thought I knew it all before she was born. I thought i'd easily be able to translate what I had spent years teaching to new moms into my own role as a mom. Turns out it isn't that easy.
When I was pregnant with her, I moved from Edmonton to Fort McMurray where my partner works. Like lots of moms in YMM, I knew no one, making my journey into motherhood extremely isolating.
My pregnancy was the perfect storm. 32 weeks of extreme morning sickness, an evacuation from our home due to a wild fire, and then a delivery gone wrong where we nearly lost our daughter.
Looking back, it's easy to see how that ""perfect storm"" was a recipe for postpartum depression and anxiety, but I didn't see it.
Rowan had a lip tie, wasn't able to breastfeed for several days due to breathing difficulties, and then had a nasty case of reflux! No amount of shift work could have prepared me for the exhaustion that ensued after a few months of waking hourly to feed her. This journey was extremely humbling, and allows me to empathize with mamas going through similar struggles in their own journeys.
Tell us a little about your nursing career.
It sounds silly now to say, but I think I always wanted to be a nurse. Actually, I always wanted to be a baby nurse. My little sister is almost 3 years younger than me, and since she was born, I have LOVED babies.
I loved babies so much that I had my heart set on being a labour and delivery nurse. I was lucky enough to complete a perinatal internship, where I gained incredible knowledge working a birthing centre in northern BC.
Once it was time to start looking for jobs in my home town of Edmonton, AB, there were no labour and delivery jobs available, so I dove in head first as a new graduate into Neonatal Intensive Care.
Working in the NICU has taught me so much about babies, but more importantly it has taught me about working with moms. The moms I had the pleasure of working with were are some of the most amazing people, going through what is surely the darkest days of their life. Every single new mom out there needs support, guidance, and reassurance, and helping this special group of moms has given me so many tools that I love utilizing with new moms in the community.
My intense love for learning and being challenged brought me across the hall of the Stollery Children's Hospital to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and Cardiovascular PICU, where I still work casually while not on maternity leave.
I absolutely love Maddie, she is so supportive and knowledgeable. She helped me with lactation the day after getting home from the hospital where I was having a terrible time due to stress and fatigue breastfeeding. Without hesitation she came and supported me every way she could, which helped me gain confidence in breastfeeding. Maddie is also there to answer question whenever I have them, her quick responses and answers are always appreciated!
What are the two most important lessons you've learned working with moms, babies, and families?
Two things that i've learned through the numerous babies and families i've worked with are that no two babies are alike, and that support is the largest contributing factor to mom's mental health.
If you had one bit of advice to give to a new parent, what would it be?
If your pregnancy, delivery, or baby feels like the perfect storm, you WILL make it through. Find your tribe, and lean on them. We weren't made to raise babies in solitude. Seriously, we weren't. It takes an entire village to raise just one baby, and doing it alone doesn't make you a super star, it makes you super tired.
Self-care is a big challenge for parents. How do you maintain your own energy and outlook?
Though I am a big advocate for self care, I have yet to master prioritizing it. For me, self care looks like giving myself grace rather than guilt, and making a conscious effort to put my own needs first. Naps are great, and dishes can wait. I also am a big believer in getting ready for the day, even to just go to the grocery store. Doing my hair, makeup, and getting out of my PJs makes me feel like I have it all together, even if I don't!
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