Marie Milburn, RN
Tell us about your own journey and how your experiences have changed the way you look at motherhood and parenting.
Since as far back as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a mom. In 2012, my wonderful husband and I welcomed our son Bennett. The world stopped in that very moment. Literally I was in complete awe of this little guy who changed our lives in an instant. But wait. I felt like I had been hit by a ton of bricks. Due to an induction, I was days behind on sleep before he was even born, swollen and in the worst pain of my life, and why wasn't breastfeeding as easy as I'd thought? Mama Guilt. Let me tell you- the struggle was real. Once we tackled those hurdles we began the dreaded baby sleep issues (or lack thereof I should say).
In 2015 we welcomed our beautiful daughter Britain after a scarily fast delivery- much to the contrary of our first experience. Once again, we were in awe. How could she be so darn perfect!?! Although it was a little bit easier of a transition, it still posed its own new set of issues. Mama guilt quickly popped up again- am I spending too much time with my newborn and not enough with my Bennett? The sleep deprivation- enough to drive a person crazy. This time, I had a few tools under my belt to help us, but with the lack of sleep, everything seemed challenging in a different way.
I returned to my neonatal nursing job after both of my maternity leaves with a newfound sense of awareness and empathy for those special mamas and their families. The NICU remains dear to my heart, having worked there for over 10 years.
Tell us a little about your nursing career.
As I grew up, it became clear to me that I wanted to follow the career footsteps of my beloved Grandma and become a neonatal nurse. After completing my nursing degree, I was fortunate enough to land my dream job in a specialized Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Edmonton, allowing me to gain valuable experience working with critically ill babies. After developing a strong foundation of knowledge, I began to look outside of their individual health needs and into the framework of these precious bundles- their families. How could I comfort and encourage them and what advice could I offer? This became a key component of the job for me and truly a passion for my career and my path to become a Mama Coach.
I am the mother of 7-month old twins, who were NICU babies for the first 6 weeks of their lives. I thought NICU life was hard, until I got home and was suddenly all alone without the help of the NICU nurses! As new parents, my husband and I struggled with a lot of things, especially sleep (ours and theirs). I had heard about the Mama Coach through a friend, and found Marie's page. Knowing that Marie was a registered nurse that worked in a NICU made me know immediately that she was the right fit for our family - and I couldn't have been more right. Marie coached us from super early on, and continues to coach us today. I had read so many books about sleep training before my babies were born, but was incapable of putting any of the concepts into practice until I had the support from Marie. She made the concepts seem easier for me, was so knowledgeable, and was always a text or phone call away when I needed help! It truly takes a village to raise babies (especially twins!) and Marie is a very important part of our village.
What are the two most important lessons you've learned working with moms, babies, and families?
1) Everyone will find their groove as a new parent. It takes time, patience, and above all - a strong support system
2) I strongly believe above all that it takes a village to raise children.
If you had one bit of advice to give to a new parent, what would it be?
Each family faces their own struggles as they enter the realm of parenthood. Babies do not come with an instruction manual and nobody is an expert on YOUR baby. Be kind to yourself and remember, you are doing the best that you can do.
Self-care is a big challenge for parents. How do you maintain your own energy and outlook?
I must admit I am still trying to master this, but I have found some things that help. When someone I trust offers to help, I try to use it! Even if that means just heading to the grocery store by myself without packing up the kids, or taking a nice hot shower. I also try to remember to stop and take some time to do some of the things that I love- like listening to music, hanging out with my husband and friends, or getting some fresh air. These are the things that centre me. I’ve also learned that I need a lot of sleep and that’s okay. Self care to me means taking time for ourselves, so that our children can have the best possible version of us!
Is there anything we've missed that you'd like to share with Mama Coach clients?
Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs out there, but also the most rewarding. Try not to get wrapped up in everything that "needs to get done” or how you think things “should be” and just breathe. Live in the moment. Dance. Let the house get messy. Be silly. Sing. Visit with friends- lean on them for support. Remember that you got this mama.
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