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A Mother’s Day Tribute: Wendy Rose Shares Lessons Learned Through Motherhood & Nursing

A d-mom shares her story

Laura KolodjeskiLaura Kolodjeski

As a mother myself, I get especially excited by Mother’s Day and, I must say, I have really been looking forward to what we have to share with you this week. Leading up to Father’s Day last year, we had the pleasure of sharing four heartwarming Father’s Day tributes from some members of the diabetes online community (DOC). Since we received such genuine responses from each of the four men we asked to be a part of that series, I thought it was only fitting that we ask some female members of the DOC to do something similar for Mother’s Day.

Our first featured mother is Wendy Rose, mother of three and author of the Candy Hearts blog, who tweets under the @MrsCandyHearts handle. We knew Wendy was the perfect person to kick off this tribute series not only because she is a devoted mother of a child with type 1 diabetes, but also because she is a registered nurse and can help us celebrate National Nurses Week! Read along as she shares how her role as a mother and RN influence one another.

Wendy Rose is a mother of a child with type 1 diabetes
Wendy Rose in nursing school

 Q:  As a mother and a registered nurse, how do you feel the two roles influence one another?

When I graduated from nursing school in 1995, I didn’t think too much about the impact my career as a registered nurse would have on my mothering experience. I was in my early 20s at the time, and motherhood wasn’t anywhere on my radar.

About eight years later, my husband and I learned that we were expecting our first baby. I immediately pulled out all my old nursing manuals to revisit the sections about pregnancy and childbirth. I felt as if I didn’t know the first thing about what was happening! Even with a ton of reference books, the whole experience seemed like foreign territory.

And it was.

Breastfeeding. Diapering. Child proofing. Potty training. The first fever, throw-up, and earache … I flubbed my way through all of it. All the while, I still had my handy dandy school books, but they didn’t help me much.

I spent a number of years working in specialty units, such as the emergency room, post-anesthesia care unit and labor & delivery. My career flourished, and with each new experience I found new confidence until my daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at an early age. Diabetes really threw me for a loop!

Nursing school did NOT prepare me for the experience of raising a child with diabetes. I couldn’t believe how little I knew, and found myself spiraling into a pit of insecurity about my ability to manage her. For years, I hardly ever told people in the diabetes community that I was a RN, because I was afraid there was some sort of unwritten standard that I would fall short of. Fortunately, I discovered that wasn’t the case at all.

One of the mind games I had to deal with was separating “real life practice” from “professional practice.” For example, when administering insulin in the hospital setting, the policy requires two RNs to verify the order, confirm the dose in the syringe and make sure it is given to the correct patient. At first, the idea that I was going to give injections to my child without anyone looking over my shoulder felt outrageous! I second guessed every decision I made for a long time. Eventually I relaxed, especially after she began wearing her insulin pump. It acts as that “second set of eyes,” I guess.

Wendy Rose with her 3 daughters
Candy Hearts blogger Wendy Rose with
her three daughters

Today I work as an after-hours pediatric telephone triage nurse. I have friends, neighbors, casual acquaintances, and Facebook friends who come out of the woodwork with their questions, especially when their kids are sick. I can rattle off standard information from any protocol (Call your doctor), but when it’s one of my kids who are sick – well, that’s a different story. My brain becomes a mound of mush and my heart hurts until they feel better. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to call a colleague and disguise myself as a random mom just so I can hear someone reassure me that I’m doing the right stuff.

Being a registered nurse has been a rewarding experience, but a definite test in critical thinking skills and endurance. Being a mother has been rewarding, but a definite test in patience and perspective. Together both roles continue to teach me the deeper meaning of loving unconditionally, caring indefinitely, and re-discovering strengths I thought had been lost forever.

What a moving response to a relatively simple question, right? I can especially relate to Wendy’s statement about wanting reassurance from a friend when caring for your child. I think it’s a mother’s instinct to always want the absolute best when it comes to your kids. I think you’ll see a similar message come through from the other mothers’ responses we will be featuring this week. So be certain to check back!

All the best,

Laura K.

Disclosure: Wendy Rose received no compensation for this post. All opinions contained in this post reflect those of the interviewee, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies or affiliates.

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