Mother knows best: Doctors, midwives, nurses share advice, insight into motherhood

May 7, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

In honor of Mother’s Day, experts from Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital — who are also fellow moms — shared answers to the following three questions:

  • What’s the best part about being a mom?
  • What does it mean to help others start their journey as a parent?
  • What is your biggest piece of advice to new mothers?

Here are some of their words of wisdom:

Tasneem Abdul-Basir

Nurse and mother of four: Ayanna, 17; Zakariyah, 14; Suhaylah; 13; and Laila, 7

  • To be a mom means to wake up every day and make sure that my children are happy, enjoying their lives, healthy and always feeling the love, and knowing that they are worthy. It means to put my all into them, instilling values and norms, and molding them into human beings who will be a positive and influential part of society. To meet their basic needs — shelter, food/water, clothing — but also their psychological needs and let them know that I am always there for them. To make sure they treat their sisters and brother with respect and kindness, to uplift each other. It means to make them understand that I always have their back and I will be their biggest supporter. It’s equivalent to having four pieces of my heart walking around. When I think of my children, I know I have to protect them, but also teach them to handle any obstacles they may face. Giving them the confidence to overcome all obstacles and keep on trying if they don’t win the first time. And sometimes that just means giving them a hug.
  • It means the absolute world to me to be a part of a mom’s journey into motherhood. It touches my heart knowing that they are vulnerable and nervous about taking care of their new baby, but also so excited about the new phase in life. The anticipation is the best. I love it. To me, having a baby is the most memorable event in your life. Women are so strong and can get through anything.
  • Give yourself time to get to know your baby. You will get into a groove with the feedings, diaper changes and sleep cycles. You need to sleep when your baby sleeps. Also, take some time for you — even if it’s a 30-minute walk outside. It takes time to heal so don’t rush yourself. Do your daily activities, but always attempt to rest throughout the day. Ask for help — and remember it’s ok to ask for help. Call on friends and family for support, even if you just need someone to talk to. You’re never alone.

Emily Affeldt

Midwife and mother of two: Cora, 5, and Naomi, 3

  • My favorite thing about being a mom is watching my daughters develop their own little personalities as they get older. 
  • It’s always such an honor to be a part of such a significant moment in these families’ lives. That feeling never gets old.
  • My advice to new moms is to be gentle with yourself, because motherhood can be hard.

Alice Chi

Obstetrician and gynecologist and mother of two: Audrey, 2, and Astrid, 3 months

  • The best part of being a mom is watching your little ones grow into their own person and seeing the world from their perspective. It reminds you of how the little things we take for granted can be so remarkable. Also, the cuddles don’t hurt either.
  • It’s so great to see my patients grow their families. I love to be able to alleviate some fears and worries of pregnancy and being a mom. It’s also so special to be a part of the team to help safely deliver babies and ensure the health of these mothers.
  • My biggest piece of advice to new moms is to ask for help and not to feel guilty. There’s a societal pressure to be “perfect” at doing it all: nurturing your kids, planning their activities, keeping the house clean, planning meals, balancing work, etc. But it’s just as important to have time to take care of yourself. 

Jasmine Ebott

Obstetrician and gynecology resident and mother of two: Elliotte, 3, and Amelie, 4 months

  • The best part about being a mom is spending time with my tiny humans who think the world of me.
  • Helping others start their journey as a mom is rewarding!
  • Take lots of videos and pictures to capture the little moments.

Okeoma Mmeje

Obstetrician and gynecologist and mother of Ezra, 2

  • Planting the seeds and laying the foundation for another human to become the best version of themselves. 
  • Sharing personal stories — the highs and lows, the learning trajectory, everyday joys, and the hugs and smiles that keep you going on the journey. 
  • Give yourself grace and space. Tomorrow is another day to start anew. Everything always works out in the end … have trust in the process. 

Kelli Munsell

Nurse and mother of two: Hailey, 7, and Hanna, 4

  • The best part about being a mom is any time I hear my girls giggle, or when they run and give me hugs the minute I walk in the door. It’s hearing them say “I love you, mommy” or seeing them figure out how to do something on their own for the first time. It’s watching them sleep at night and laugh with their friends or when they talk about their brother who is their guardian angel. It’s knowing that they will always have a friend in each other and someone who will always love them unconditionally. My kids are my whole heart walking around each day and getting to be their mom is the greatest gift and honor I will ever experience.
  • Being a part of a person’s journey to parenthood is an amazing gift. The honor of being present for that moment is one that I’ll never get used to and one that I hope I’ll never take for granted. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience that never becomes less exciting or powerful.
  • The most meaningful description of motherhood that I’ve heard is that the hours are long, but the years are short. So I just try to make sure that I enjoy every moment I can with them. Even when I don’t want to tuck them in to bed for the fourth time or watch the same movie for the millionth time, I try and remind myself that this season will only last for so long. Someday, they won’t want me to snuggle them while they fall asleep or watch a movie with them. Someday, that will cease, but I will always have those memories.

Click here for insight from even more moms at Von Voigtlander. And Happy Mother’s Day to all at Michigan Medicine!

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