Tonight I gnaw at honey glazed rotisserie chicken pieces with my 2 toddler boys doing the same on either side. Our home-style meal is accompanied by sweet Hawaiian bread rolls and paper cups full of room temperature water. I rack my brain briefly on how I could have sneaked in peas or string beans somehow. But a completely effortless preparation plus the silence rendered by the TVs “off” button is such an amazing combination: I take in the serenity as we sit and eat quietly. We might have yogurt for dessert, or maybe canned cling peaches. At 7:30 pm, it is a great time to try our semblance of a night time routine again. I relish this brief time of just us when their dad arrives and the rowdy excitement starts again. I consider whether it is better to study tonight or wait till the wee hours of the morning. But one thing remains true today like every other day: I really need to study.
Proper nurture and care, including nutrition, leads to healthier children and healthier futures. Never has this been more emphasized than when a newborn arrives and “Mommy” is implored to do the most natural thing known to man: to nurse or breastfeed her baby. But I learned early on about the real challenges associate with this and other recommendations. Having obtained a Master’s degree in Public Health and after teaching perinatal health care for over 4 years, I was so sure I knew everything there was to know about nursing a baby as I prepared for the birth of my first born.
Believe me when I say nothing could truly prepare me for first-time parenthood! Everything I thought I knew went out the window, especially the principles of breastfeeding! All of a sudden, this concept absolutely made no sense to me whatsoever as I struggled to exclusively nurse my infant for the first several days. I was enlightened to the amazing miracle that it was, the body responding directly to the needs of a little baby instantaneously. It is so fascinating that I could just think about my son and milk production would be stimulated. It was amazing, yet it was a struggle and very uncomfortable, and there were related disappointments. All in all, I learned that the challenge would continue with the very real need to provide for and nurture my little ones.
It does continue as I struggle to figure out the best ways to care for them, whether it is to share my undivided attention or recuperate by wandering off for a quiet moment to myself. But overall, I could not be in a better place than here at Hopkins in the Accelerated Nursing Program where I have high hopes that I will gain the ability to help provide for them, meet their needs, nurture them and dedicate time to ensuring that they get enough of me. I have high hopes that once I am done in December of this year, I will obtain a steady position that will allow me the privilege of caring for others. In so doing, I learn daily more and more ways to take care of my own “Pediatric unit”, applying nursing interventions to their everyday needs such as making sure they eat nutritious meals, practice proper hand hygiene at home, and take medications correctly and at the right time schedule. After Level I, I actually feel equipped to practice evidence-based practice and safety in my own home.
There are many Student Nurses who are also “Student Parents”. It is an exciting time for us: a time to exemplify hard work and dedication to our children. I for one wouldn’t trade it for the world.