In May of this year, Petits Genoux had a contest to show our solidarity with the front line workers that are doing so much for our communities during the Pandemic. I was curious as to how I would feel being pregnant during this time and more so how it would feel to be working in a frontline position while carrying my first child.
We did a story asking people to nominate a loved one that was doing just that and we found Amanda E Nazar Murphy - expectant Mom and Nurse based out of Alberta, Canada and we asked her about why she loves the work she does, what her desires are for her little one, and what it feels like to be an expectant Mom during these times.
Can you tell us a little bit about your own childhood?
I always tell people, when asked, that my childhood was idyllic. I grew up as an only child, in Ottawa, Ontario. I was very close to both my parents and have fond memories of many adventures with them. Blasting the soundtrack from The Big Chill, traveling through Europe in an RV, driving up to the family cottage. Unfortunately, my father passed when I was 18 years old, and this had a profound impact on me.
Who had the biggest influence on you?
I feel so blessed to have had many incredible people impact my life. Primarily, my father, who was born in England to Irish parents. He is remembered by friends and family as being funny, friendly, diplomatic, supportive, and loyal. He pursued his Masters’s degree while working full-time and with a 4-year old underfoot. I would also like to mention my great-aunt on my father’s side, Nuala. She is 85-years old and larger than life. Still traveling, pre-COVID of course. She has many friends and is always up to something. She was so happy to hear that my husband and I were pregnant.
What do you find most fulfilling about being a nurse and what is the most challenging?
The most fulfilling and the most challenging, aspect of being a nurse is the connection I form with all of my patients in their most vulnerable moments. It is not always pretty, and I often come home completely emotionally spent, but connecting with people and learning more about them is the best part of my job. I am thankful to work in a small town hospital that allows us to spend time with our patients. That is not always the case in big city hospitals, where the nurse to patient ratio is much higher.
As a Mom-to-be during this Global C-19 pandemic and Anti -Racist uprising, how has it affected your feelings about being pregnant at this time; Has it shifted your ideas about how you will parent?
I cannot say that the current political and cultural climate has affected my pregnancy in any significant way, however, I have given a lot of thought to how I will parent and what kind of children I want to bring into the world. While I always anticipated raising “good humans”, I would say that this is even more important now. For example, through social media, I have been made aware of some incredible resources that provide parents and children with education on positive racial identity early on. Notably, The Conscious Kid. I encourage all parents to seek out this organization for more information on how to have conversations with children about race.
What does being a good mother mean to you? What kind of a mother do you aspire to be?
As with anything in life, perfection does not exist and I don’t strive to be perfect. As a mother, I aspire to learn from my kids, be open, honest, and humble with them. I know that kids need boundaries and love, and all I want is to help them achieve their potential. I see my “job” as a mother as one of guidance and support. Whatever they seek to do, my role will be to help them be the best they can be. I also think it’s important to show my kids what struggle and success look like, so I anticipate continuing to work and pursuing my own personal goals.
What does ‘self- care’ look like for you?
I am a big advocate for self-care! For me that means just taking a moment for myself, whether it is getting a massage, meeting up with some girlfriends, or going for a hike. For parents, mothers, in particular, it is so easy to get lost in your child’s upbringing. While I do believe in putting your children first, it is so important to remember who you were before becoming a mother. As women, we have to remember that we are more than just one role we play. Yes, we may be mothers, but we are also women, friends, sisters, daughters, and in my case, a nurse.
Are you enjoying being pregnant?
(laughs) This is a hard question for me to answer. I am definitely enjoying being pregnant because of the “reward” at the end, but I have to say the impact on my body is not so enjoyable. I have had daily hormonal headaches, some nausea, and lower back pain, and I am only 18 weeks pregnant! I anticipate more discomfort along the way. I am still working shift work which has definitely had an impact on the quality of my sleep. As well, I get nauseatingly hungry while working which requires me to bring a fridge worth of food with me to my shifts. The negatives aside, sharing these experiences with other mothers is the silver lining. I find myself laughing out loud when friends and colleagues recount their experiences of being pregnant.