My Home Away from Home
I love our AHGL family! I cannot tell you the number of smiles, well wishes, hugs, and inquiries I have received over the last few months regarding my pregnancy. I thought I would share some of my experiences with you as a tribute to all of the working moms that we have here at AHGL.
I started my career in 1999 at the age of 21 as a new grad RN in the emergency department at WMMC. My oldest son, Ian, was born at AHGL while I was working at WMMC in 2001. It was about that time that I decided I wanted to have a greater level of health care decision-making and wanted to expand my career as an advanced nurse practitioner. After Ian was born, I went back to work at WMMC part-time and started graduate school at UCLA.
During my second year of graduate school, my husband and I decided to expand our family and I became pregnant with Ethan. What a journey that was! Being pregnant in my second year of grad school, with a two-year-old and a part-time ED job! It was all very satisfying but not without stress. I was diagnosed with shingles during my last quarter at 7-8 months pregnant while performing comprehensive examinations. Regardless, Ethan was born on June 14, 2004, and I marched with my graduating class on June 19, 2004.
Now, at the age of 40, I find myself having another child (a girl!) to complete our family. Looking back on the journey with Ian and Ethan, it doesn’t seem so daunting to have another baby while working full-time. Many women find themselves in the situation of wanting to have it all—a great marriage, children and family, and a fulfilling a meaningful career. How do we balance all of this? By having what I call an “integrated life.” This means that “work-life balance” is really more about having less distinct lines between work and home life. I plan to have Eva come here to our daycare center so that I can continue to breastfeed. I plan to take some work home in the evenings so that I can spend time with family. Despite how busy my career has been, my son Ethan once
wrote a note to me, “Mom, thanks for making my life perfect.”
I certainly wouldn’t consider myself the perfect mom, but to children, unconditional love seems to fill in the gaps.
Karen Brand-Mayo is the Vice President of Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Officer for Adventist Health Glendale.