Image source: Lucy Osborn MACN and her son Arthur at a cafe. Supplied.
Happy Mother’s Day!
I would like to extend my praises and love to all those who “mother”.
There are so many people who have a mothering role in a child’s life that need to be celebrated today. These people are often overlooked for not being the stereotypical “woman who birthed the baby” but you are just as important.
I also want to acknowledge all the mums whose babies left our world too soon. The love you carry in your hearts, for the ones you can no longer hold, is within us too. Your children will never be forgotten.
This is my first Mother’s Day. Yay, I am so privileged to have a beautiful healthy son named Arthur. He is just so cute!
It is so important to acknowledge that everyone’s journey surrounding pregnancy and having children is different. But it is just as important to know everyone has their own journey and varying outcomes.
It is never easy or straight forward but it is always filled with all the possible emotions, even ones I didn’t know existed. My journey started with being told I may never conceive, due to PCOS, to being blessed with Arthur during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Being separated from friends and family, working with sick babies and watching friends, loved ones and colleagues battle with conceiving, miscarriages and infant loss all occurred along the way
This, to me, is the reality of having a baby, the highs with the lows.
As those who read this column know, I work in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in Melbourne. As my pregnancy progressed I knew it would be difficult, to be working with babies who were the same or younger gestation as me. However, I did not anticipate when it might become an issue. I assumed it might be earlier in the pregnancy.
And yes, I know that the babies I work with are a tiny percentage of the babies born every day, but no matter how many times I told myself and other people told me, I was still petrified.
One morning at work, when I was 26 weeks pregnant, I got a really sore back. It came on all of a sudden and it hurt!
It was within the space of an hour that I had convinced myself this had to be the start of early labour, I noticed every Braxton Hicks and I freaked out. My amazing colleagues were so supportive and calmed me down and encouraged me to go to The Women’s Hospital, just to get checked out. Obviously, all was fine, but it was a morning I will never forget.
Good birth education* and learning to trust my body to grow our baby helped me combat some of these anxieties. If you are pregnant and are working, and the work you are doing is stressing you out, please seek some support from your colleagues and healthcare professionals, do not suffer alone!
For those who know me personally and professionally, you will know that I am a very driven and hard-working person. Initially the idea of maternity leave scared me and being a mum scared me. I was worried I would lose my drive, my time and my capability to achieve my goals.
Truth be told, I was worried I would lose myself, be a bad mum or not enjoy being a mum. I just couldn’t see how being a driven, hard-working professional and being a good mum could work alongside each other.
But, as soon as Arthur was born, I knew it would sort itself out.
It became a matter of letting myself trust the process and making decisions as they rose, rather than looking too far into the future. There is no doubt my pathway is looking a little different, but my goals have not changed, and they are still just as achievable.
Arthur is the best thing since sliced bread.
I am taking a year away from clinical work but am still maintaining my teaching roles and my PhD studies. My Partner works full time as a paramedic, and he looks after Arthur when I am at work or studying. I also find time to work while Arthur sleeps, or should I say if he sleeps!
Overall, my experience being a mum and a nurse has been great so far, I still have so much to learn, so much to do and so much sleep to lose. But I’m taking every day as it comes and learning as we go.
Shout out to Jackson for Mumming when I need support. You are the best!
This Column, the Scrubs that Fit, follows the journey of Australian College of Nursing (ACN) Emerging Nurse Leader (ENL) alumni Lucy Osborn MACN as she navigates through the nursing profession. The column began as a space to share the highs and lows of being an early-career nurse and has transitioned over time to focus on how to grow within the ever changing world of nursing. The Scrubs that Fit draws on her experiences as a University Unit Coordinator, Clinical Support Nurse in once of Australia’s biggest Neonatal intensive care units and as Chair of ACN’s Next Generation Faculty.