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20th Jun 2018

8 ways the public health nurse was a godsend when I was a new mum

She even dropped by over Christmas - twice.

When I was told that a public health nurse would be visiting my house after we brought my son home from the hospital, I recoiled in horror.

I hate people being foisted on me; it makes me really uncomfortable, and I couldn’t imagine, in my state of new motherhood mania, having to pretend that everything was fine in front of an official sounding stranger. I think I was definitely missing the point of the public health nurse somewhat. I didn’t realise that she might just be the EXACT person in whom I could confide in about my fears over postnatal depression. As it turned out my public health nurse was such an incredibly intuitive and clever woman that I didn’t need to tell her anything, she just knew.

8 ways my public health nurse completely saved my life:

1. She visited on Christmas Eve… AND St Stephen’s Day

I had my son just before Christmas and was discharged from the hospital (despite begging to stay) on Christmas Eve. I was petrified. I felt like I’d been cut loose from the life raft with my tiny, helpless baby in tow and no one to help us should anything happen. I’ve no idea what exactly I was afraid would happen I just know that I was scared. And she came out to my house on a cold and sunny Christmas Eve to introduce herself and a promise that she would return on Stephan’s Day. This gave me such confidence knowing that she would be back in a day – all I had to do was survive 36 hours until the professional would be back to tell me just what the hell I was supposed to do.

2. She once dropped everything to DRIVE me to Holles Street hospital when my son wasn’t feeding properly

My son’s latch wasn’t right, I was home alone and I desperately needed to see a lactation consultant. My PHN rag the hospital to make me an appointment, bundled me and my son into her car and drove us to the hospital herself. What a hero.

3. She walked into my son’s room and told me categorically that I was doing everything right

This was huge to me that day. She was clearly so sensitive and experienced with all kinds of new mothers she knew just exactly what I needed to hear.

4. She told me that it takes a village to raise a baby

I think she was trying to tell me to accept some help. Very good advice for a new mother and something that I felt unable to do at that time. It’s hard to explain but in my postnatal state I was afraid to accept help because I was trying to be the perfect mother and I was terrified of not doing enough for my son.

5. She listened to my four-week-old screaming and crying and said, “That’s a fine, healthy cry – that means his needs are being met.”

To this day I just think this is the loveliest response to a crying baby. Her point was that often poor babies who are neglected eventually stop crying to communicate their needs because they come to learn that they will not get a response which is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.

6. She was unwaveringly openminded

I never detected a HINT of judgement or disapproval about anything we were doing with my son.

7. She looked into about ONE MILLION natural remedies for boosting milk supply and brought them to me when I was finding breastfeeding hard

She definitely has a vocation, not a job.

8. She held my son when I couldn’t bring myself to

And she seemed to understand…

How did YOU find your public health nurse? Let us know in the comments…