Registered Nurse and Lactation Consultant
Whenever there has been a natural disaster or an epidemic, I’ve always been concerned because parents still need to give birth. Babies come when they want, they don’t stop being born because of something going on in the world.
Half of the job of a lactation consultant is to encourage parents, and I’ve learned it’s really hard to smile with your eyes. I try my best to talk to our families just like I would any other day. Because in-person lactation classes on the floor and in the community were halted I have been doing a lot of one-on-one teaching for families in their room about newborns and beyond the first few days. There isn’t a lot of community programming right now so hopefully I have been able to make a difference. I have also adapted my practice and have been providing virtual breastfeeding follow up support for our St Joe’s families.
My husband and I have two children, ages five and three, and it’s been hectic at home. How are we managing? We’re doing the best we can.
We can feel that our families have been more anxious. But the family birthing team is so resilient. Even though it’s been a hard time, it’s still a happy place.
My husband is a manager at another hospital and has been able to work from home. It worked really well for the first five weeks but when it looked like school and childcare were going to be closed for a while, we had to reevaluate. My manager has been supportive in letting me be flexible with the hours that I work, going back to working some shift work so we can trade off with the kids at home.
We don’t have any family in the city to help and we’ve been trying to keep our circle really small – especially in the beginning. It’s been challenging at times but we’re doing okay and at the end of the day, the smiles of my kids give me energy to carry on and keep helping the families I work with.
Giving birth during these times can be daunting and isolating, and with the restrictions on visitors the past few months, it has been really hard for families not to share these special moments with their loved ones and have their siblings or parents visit the hospital.
We can feel that our families have been more anxious. But the family birthing team is so resilient. Even though it’s been a hard time, it’s still a happy place. We may look different these days, but we’re still here for our families no matter what.
Lindsey Peacocke is a registered nurse and lactation consultant at St. Joseph’s Health Centre.
As told to Jennifer Stranges. Photos by Medical Media. This interview has been edited and condensed.