Sarah Carvajal, RN
Tell us about your own journey and how your experiences have changed the way you look at motherhood and parenting.
I have a son who is almost two years old and lights up every room he enters. He has brought so much joy to our lives, but the early days were not so easy. Being a pediatric nurse, I thought I might have had a one up in the transition to motherhood. But I couldn't have been more wrong. I struggled so much in that initial postpartum period. I had a rollercoaster recovery, struggled with breastfeeding, and felt like I just couldn't catch a break. We had a "20-minute napper", and then ended up navigating the unfamiliar world of food allergies shortly after starting solids. It took me a lot longer than I thought it would to find that joy in motherhood. But I did, and so can you!
My experience has made me realize that there is a large gap in support between that transition from pregnancy to new motherhood. I truly feel that the Mama Coaches are helping to bridge that gap, one mama at a time!
Tell us a little about your nursing career.
I started my nursing career right after graduation from York University at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Being a former patient at Sick Kids, I always knew I would find myself back within the walls of the hospital, but on the other side of the bed. I loved my job, my coworkers, and the children and families I was so privileged to work alongside. After having our son, my heartstrings pulled me to a nursing opportunity closer to home, but still very much a passion of mine: working with families in the community setting.
What are the two most important lessons you've learned working with moms, babies, and families?
There are no "textbook babies". Every baby, every family is so unique, and their experiences are all so different. What works for one family, may not always work for the next.
Motherhood is a steep learning curve. New moms are learning just as much as their babies are. Most moms don't love every minute of their new role, and that's ok.
If you had one bit of advice to give to a new parent, what would it be?
Just because it's hard doesn't mean you're doing it wrong. This new role may very well be one of your greatest challenges. So be easy on yourself. No one has it "all figured out". Don't let those perfect Instagram squares fool you!
Self-care is a big challenge for parents. How do you maintain your own energy and outlook?
Sometimes as moms we wait for things to slow down in order to get in some time for ourselves. Here's the thing though: there's usually no slow down. We just go from one type of busy to another. But when we take care of ourselves, we are essentially taking care of our families. In my house, self-care will often look like a dinner out with friends, a mall walk with my sister, or a kickboxing class. Whatever it is, I make sure that when I'm feeling the need to fill my cup, I take the time to make it a priority.
Is there anything we've missed that you'd like to share with Mama Coach clients?
Listen, there's not one mama out there that doesn't have hard days. And there's not one mama out there that can "do it all". Society has put so much pressure on new mamas that some may shy away from reaching out for help. But every mama needs and deserves support. We're all in this together!
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