A mother of three children, how is that like I am sure you run a busy house hold?
Well, it´s great to tell you the truth. I´m extremely lucky. They are all so much fun to be around, and Saga (my 7 year old daughter) and Dagur (my 5 year old son) are great friends (around 85% of the time-I just hope it will last) so they can play while I nurse and get Blær (my 6 months old daughter) to bed/nap. It´s busy, don´t get me wrong, but in a good way. Now I´m at home with my youngest, for a year, so my typical day, is waking up just before seven, we get dressed, eat breakfast, listen to some music and then my husband Daniel takes Saga and Dagur to school just before eight. He then goes swimming before work, and me and Blær have some quality time for an hour, before she takes her nap. While she´s napping, I´m cleaning the house, do laundry, work, shower, drink coffee or rest, it all depends on my energy and mood. Blær´s naps vary from 30 min-2 hours. Then she most often naps again at around 14 and we go take a walk and pick up the kids from school just before four a clock. We go home and I prepare dinner, do homework with Saga, we eat at six, the kids take a bath and go to bed at eight. First Blær goes to sleep, then we try to read and spend some good time in bed before sleep. Sometimes it´s hard to let every body wind down and relax, and I´m stressed to get everybody to sleep, but then I try to remind myself that it´s hard to relax around a stressed person so… you know I try to breathe and relax my self and most of the time it really works. But I go to sleep at the same time as they do, most of the time.. It just, you know, life works well if I´m not tired and I need to take good care of that, or me, and if not, I get frustrated about the laundry, preparing food and everything, hence if I´m not tired, everything is ok, I´m smiling and the kids smile too.
I understand your husband works a lot, do you have any help with the children?
I do, nothing scheduled, just whenever I need to. From our mothers. We both (me and my husband Daníel) have the best moms outthere and they love spending time with the children. So if I need to work or study or see my friends (which I really need to do more of), I do call them and ask if they can lend me a hand or two. But I have been on my way to contact a babysitter for perhaps 3 years, to being able to go out with my husband or friends, see a movie or just take a walk or go to the swimmingpool. I´m working on it – lets see where I´ll stand in 3 years time.
You have an incredible job as a midwife, tell me a little bit about how you got interested and how is to work as one?
Well, it´s a bit complicated. I think it was allways ment to be honestly. When I was a kid I picked books at the library about how a child is born, how they are made and I was fascinated about it. I remember seeing pregnant women in showers at the swimmingpool like goddesses and I just really was fascinated about this journey and first I wanted to become a doctor because I thought they delivered babies, but then I found out I was wrong. They do take care of the women if something goes wrong here in Iceland but they´re not with every woman and they don’t see the healthy women that go through pregnancy and birth without complications. So that was easy for me, a midwife I would be. It´s great to work as a midwife. It´s never the same, you know. We meet all these different women during pregnancy, each one for at least seven times, and then we take care of them during labour and we take care of them and their newborn during home visits for aprox. 7 times during the first ten days, so the work is never the same and extremely rewarding. Sometimes I feel like I float home smiling from work at the delivery department at the hospital- but I work shifts, so sometimes it´s hard to go home and take of the gown without finishing, for example after a hard labour, you know, get to see it through the end, and feel the joy, but of course it´s not the end for everybody, not the right word, it´s just the beginning for them J My high at work was having the honour of delivering my nephew, and my best friends children and it was just amazing. Just seeing my sister and friends during their most important moments of their life, seeing this vulnerable yet strong side of them, its hard to describe in words.
How old were you when you had your first child?
I was thirtyone years old, and I couldn´t wait. So I had finished my studies as a nurse and a midwife, and read all the books outhere about pregnancy, birth and the newborn. I was very ready to say the least.
How were your pregnancies? How did you feel?
Well it was not as I thought they would be, honestly. I really thought they would be all romantic and magical but for the first three months I felt very tired, and working on morning, evening and night shifts were at times a challenge. And for the last few months I had lower backpain and had trouble moving around. But I had to remind myself that I was not the same, you know, life and my feelings about everything is not the same when I´m pregnant. I have to remind my self to reconnect and rebalance myself. I had a baby growing inside me and just stop trying to do everything the same and to exspect the same from myself because I´m not the same, you know? Life is very different. It´s so strange how sensitive I was about my body. Leg irritations during evenings, and night, I had to find out what to do, and for excample I didn´t feel it if I skipped sugar and I felt so much better if I had less salt. But I really wanted sugar, and chocolate, it was challenging. I also found out I felt so good in water. So I went to the swimmingpool once every day, most often in the morning, with a bottle of water, and just focused on breathing and connecting with my growing baby and that was like a meditation for me, and very important, so I just wouldn´t forget that little one and you know let the day go by and just do what I used to do. I also felt really good doing yoga. I did pregnancy yoga during all my pregnancies, kundalini with some meditation and it supported me in connecting with myself and to give myself time just to focus on my body and baby, being able to feel some romance and magic.
Did you do anything specific for your self during pregnancy or something you suggest to your clients or pregnant women in general?
Well, just give yourself some time. Time to focus on your body, and try to enjoy the change, and if you don´t feel good or if you can´t find comfort, then talk to your midwife and get some advise. I think it´s important to be kind to yourself. Listen to your body and if your tired then you need to sleep more, and find a good balance between movement and rest. Walking is great during pregnancy and swimming as well. And a healthy diet is important, for your baby, mind and body. Be positive, look at the changes on your body as a beautiful thing. Your body is growing and changing your hole life, and it´s a huge change to grow a baby, this tiny human being, and it´s so amazing really, your heart grows a little bit bigger, did you know that? your body starts to grow more insulation and put on extra fat around your stomack and hips, to protect your baby. I find it very empowering that we women have this power to nurture and grow a new life, it´s very privilaged.
I am sure you have seen and experienced a lot through your job anything you could share or advise to our pregnant or mothers to be readers?
Just embrace it all. Remember every moment and take some pictures. Be focused and enjoy the whole journey. Life is so short and precious, just remember how lucky you are. It´s all so much worth it. Find comfort, talk to your spouse, a friend, a family member, don’t be afraid to ask for help or advise, preferably from a midwife/doctor. Also, youre not supposed to be anything, or in a certain way, just be yourself and be proud.
I am sure you breastfeed your other two children as I know you are now breastfeeding you little baby girl, how long did you breast feed and how long do you plan to breastfeed your baby girl?
Yes, I was lucky to being able to breastfeed them allwithout complications, so far. My oldest for almost two years, I just wasn´t enjoying it towards the end, I was pregnant and I was very sensitive and my nipples hurt during breastfeeding. Then I breastfed my son for around one and a half year and I plan to breastfeed Blær, my youngest, as long as we both enjoy it.
Do you encourage your clients and other mothers to breastfeed?
I know it is very very rare in Iceland that a mother does not breastfeed is that right? Well in Iceland it´s rather an exception if you don´t breastfeed, so yes. I do ask women if they plan to breastfeed during pregnancy and if they have any questions about it. Then we offer some good written information about it and when they have delivered their child I ask if they had planned to breastfeed and if they want me to help them with the first latch on. During the home visits for the first week a lot of time and focus goes to the breastfeeding, how to prevent complications and react if they do come. I would always recommend breastmilk for the baby if there aren´t any complicationsbut if there are any reasons not to breastfeed I definitely support the mother in her decision.
Do you ever get any ME time in the schedule? If so what do you do?
Honestly, very little. And I know I can put it in the schedule but I don´t, sadly. I guess my “me time” is during the mornings when I get my second cup of coffee and my youngest is napping and the others have gone out to school/work.
Iceland is one of very few countries in the world now who support very much the natural birth, Icelandic midwifes and doctors really encourage the mother to have faith in her self during labour we have very low percent rate of c section in compare to other countries. Anything you can tell us about that?
Yes, it´s true. I believe Icelandic women have a strong believe about natural birth. This whole experience is very personal and uniqe and an important one which can affect the social as well as the mental health of women and their families. I believe Icelandic midwifes and doctors are very aware of that and work extremely well together in respecting women and take good care of women and their families.
What do you guys do to keep your romance going in all this chaos 🙂 ?
Honestly I find it very challenging to be a good wife and a good friend whatever that means, while Im trying to be the mother I want to become. What Im trying to say is that while I put my effort on the mothering part, I see myself fail in the romance part, the friends part and the carreer part.. Don´t get me wrong, I want to do it all. But I can´t. These years Im just putting all my effort on my kids and us as a family – Im telling myself that its just a phase, it will be easier and I will have time to cuddle my husband instead of going to sleep at nine a clock in the evenings, and that I will be able to dress up and go out for the movies or a drink with my husband instead of sleeping… im constantly having a bit of guilt and deep down I know my marriage needs effort as well as my children and that my friends will stop calling me eventually – I just know, but I seem not to be able to do anything about it- i feel like if I wont put my effort on taking care of the children and clean the house for example, when I do it, or do the laundry when I do, it will all be more, harder, bigger and I wont be able to keep everything in balance.
What is your favorite thing about being a mother?
I guess it´s just everything about it. I love the look I get, the embrace, the honest talk in the evenings before sleep, having fun together and just the feeling that you are loved, needed and doing good I guess. We try to create good memories together, Friday pizzanight, playing cards during the weekends and so on. I think it´s important for the whole family. But when I see they are strong individuals with a big and kind heart I feel the proudest.
Your least favorite?
I´m not sure. Maby the tiredness once again. That I need to sleep so early in the evening J But when there are challenges, and they do come, it actually is a phase and it has always been for a very limited time. For example when my kids wake up during the night and wont fall asleep immedietly after comfort or something like that. I just need to remind myself that its not lasting forever.