Instructions Not Included

Last Updated: November 1, 2019
mom with daughter on shoulders

Rachael’s Story:

Parenthood has been one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. It’s pushed me to grow and change, but it has also been one of life’s greatest challenges. With my first child, I had a c-section and was very sore during the first couple weeks. After a couple days of being home from the hospital, a Public Health Nurse came to our house for a check-in. Since I was still recovering from the c-section, it was so nice to have the nurse come right to me rather than trying to leave the house. I felt anxious in my new role as a parent and was having a really difficult time breastfeeding. She taught me a much more comfortable way to breastfeed, weighed my baby, and overall helped to put my mind at ease. I felt very vulnerable during those early days of motherhood. It can be very scary to feel unsure and not all that great at something. It really shakes your confidence. I was also lucky to have the support of my grandparents for the first two weeks while I cared for my baby. It gave me the opportunity to bond with my son and allowed me to recover much more easily because I had help with meals and cleaning. 


After I had my second child, I felt overwhelmed balancing motherhood, my career and trying to get everything done in a day. I decided to reach out and speak to a counsellor and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Sometimes, I think you just need someone other than your partner to vent to and not feel judged. It has been so helpful that I continue to see her to this day and my children are now 3 and 7 years old.


I am a newborn photographer so I talk to a lot of moms about this sort of thing. Postpartum care is SO important in our busy culture where moms can often feel isolated. I see a lot of working parents and they go from being busy and great at their jobs, to feeling out of step with their new role as a mom or dad. It’s such a big learning curve and those little check-ins from family and friends can mean so much. From my experience, I recommend that new parents try to line up help BEFORE the baby is born, if possible. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for support and let people know what kind of help you would like. Maybe it’s meals, house cleaning, or just a listening ear. As a community I feel it’s our role to reach out and support mamas as they heal and go through the transition into parenthood. There are so many ways to do this, but for me it I think that letting moms tell you their needs is better than just scooping up the baby. Take care of mama and baby will thrive.

- Rachael


Children don’t come with instructions. Southwestern Public Health can help. 

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