On being a nurse midwife.People tend to think “midwife” equals “home births.” But really I’m an advanced registered nurse practitioner who takes care of women across their lifespan. I empower them and help them see how each point is beautiful. Being female can be daunting at any age so I’m here to walk women through all stages of life.
A typical day for me in the office is wide-ranging. I never know what I’m going to see in clinic, from OB issues to more general medical concerns. When I’m done w/clinic, I’m on call on a regular basis, where I start around 5 p.m. through 5 a.m., up all night. Then I go back into the office and still see patients! It requires stamina for sure.
On supporting your health.
Women often say to me, what’s the number-one health supplement I should be taking. What it takes to make you feel your best is personal, but if there’s one thing everyone can benefit from, it’s vitamin D. Every provider sees it a bit differently, but you can have your levels checked so you can see how much you need. Supplements start at 400 IUs, and typically a regimen would be somewhere around 2,000 IUs daily (check with your doctor!).
On the illusion of the “perfect” mom.I’m also a twin mom; my daughters are almost 23. I feel that the uptick we’ve seen in postpartum depression is definitely linked to social media and today’s societal pressures—the idea of being that perfect mom and being strong. The suggestion seems to be that you can’t have an off day, but you can and you will!
I tell my patients going into motherhood that things aren’t like what they seem in books, in the world, on social media. When my girls were infants I thought to myself, how did everyone make it through this? The truth is, we all struggle. But if you lean into honoring yourself while being consistent and kind to your children, you’ll be the best mom. And make sure you’re getting the rest you need and the support from other moms. You don’t need to be Wonder Woman!
I went back to school weeks after having my twins, when I was still breastfeeding, and now I think to myself, what were you thinking? You had nothing to prove. But this was my goal, to help women and help them just be their best. The most rewarding part of my job is being there as a cheerleader for other women—through adolescence, pregnancy, birth, coming of age and identifying with their bodies, all of it. Certified nurse midwives have a range of things we can offer as champions, and I’m grateful to share my perspective with the community of strong Dudley Stephens women.