Finding Balance While Working

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As a nurse I am considered an essential worker and going to work for me, honestly, is something I look forward to. I work with a tribe of women who prioritize the women and families in our community as if they are our own. Women’s health is something we don’t take lightly. Advocating, supporting, and providing for our patients is so innate that it has humbled me to my core.
After the birth of my daughter, I was fortunate enough to take 6 months off to be with her and focus solely on recovering, resting, bonding, and breastfeeding. This time is something I will forever cherish and to think some mothers only get 8 weeks for this process sadden and angers me (that is another post on its own!) I gave her every ounce of my attention in these 6 months and watching her blossom will always be one of my favorite things to do.
 
I returned to work and then weeks later a pandemic swept our world and (I think) took many of us by surprise. For a couple of weeks, I questioned my decision- both leading up to and after coming back to work.
Then I realized – my job has become more vital now than ever!
Throughout this situation, so many friends and acquaintances were reaching out to me – thirsty for help, information, guidance, and direction. Education is something that has always been so important to me, and I believe in the power of being educated. Many of you may be surprised to hear that woman’s health really wasn’t a focus at all until the early 90s when the World Health Organization started including females in their studies as well as their male counterparts. There just is not enough resources out there for women – let alone African American, Latino, or low-income women.
After welcoming a daughter into this world, my drive to provide more sparked something in me that was once a dull flame. I had to start my own business to provide support to families in need. Thus, The Gansett Gal was born – mid pandemic and years after pursuing a master’s degree in health education never knowing where I was headed.
 
In the short amount of time, I have been doing this I cannot tell you how much support I have gotten from other females who have been fueling their flame for years! This, behind my daughter, has given me a drive that will push me for the rest of my days.
So where am I going with all this?
 
Before my daughter, my career was my purpose, my identity, and my reason! Then man, oh man – here came this little girl who has become my world. Finding balance in motherhood and my career has become a newly navigated path. I have this piece of me that feels it’s so important to have this passion and show her how blessed her mother is to have landed a career in caring for those in her community. My only hope is one day she too lands her dream job in something she looks forward to doing day in and day out. The other piece of me is wondering if I am missing too much in these early days – when every day brings a new skill, trick, giggle, and babble.
It’s one thing to hop in my car and leave her with one of my incredible family members to go and do my job at the hospital down the road. It’s something completely different to be in the same room as her – trying to find focus on new endeavors but also provide her with the attention and guidance that she requires.
 
And here lies the forever challenge of being a working mom- balance. I hope all my mommas out there find their passion, teach their daughters to chase it, and know that you are doing the very best you can at any given moment!
 
Happy Nurses Week to the people I am proud to call my coworkers, my family, and my community. And to all my mamas out there – Happy Mothers Day! May you always know how important your job is inside and outside the home.
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Ashley Derderian Sousa RN, BSN is a registered nurse with 10 years of experience, and 7 years in labor, delivery, and postpartum care. Spending the first four years of her career in the Medical Intensive Care Unit, Ashley’s range of medical experience together with her compassionate and caring personality provide the ability to foster connection with the women, men and families she works with. With a passion for learning and sharing her knowledge with others, she is nearing completion of a Masters Degree in Health Education and preparing for the lactation boards in September to become IBCLC certified. Raised and now living in Rhode Island, Ashley is a world traveler, and previously lived and worked in New York City. She recently started her own company, Gansett Gal to focus on providing support, education, and guidance to those navigating parenthood. Most importantly, she is the lucky momma to a perfect little lady, Grace!

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