What is maternity care?
In more and more cities, so-called maternity care is being offered. But what it is and who offers it is one of the topics covered in the following interview with Julia Hausmann, a trainee maternity nurse from Oldenburg.
Welcome, dear Julia! I am very pleased to be able to ask you a few questions about yourself and your work.
Perhaps you would like to start by briefly introducing yourself? Who are you?
Hello dear Natalie, thank you very much for inviting me to this interview!
My name is Julia, I am 40 years old and live with my husband and our patchworked 7 children in the Haareneschviertel in Oldenburg.
If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be and why?
On the road, chaotic and free.
On the road in the sense of being on the road of life, always evolving with the desire to experience new things, to find and experience myself. Chaotic, because I create a lot, but mostly without any plan, chaotic for me does not mean to be scattered, but to face life in every minute, without defining beforehand how it should be. Free, because for as long as I can remember I have been questioning everything in order to find my and our very own way.
You are currently in training to become a maternity nurse. What is maternity care anyway? What kind of work do you do?
In earlier times, grandma or aunts were often in the house, the neighborhood was closer-knit than it is today, so that women were well taken care of in the postpartum period. Today, that often falls away and mothers are often left to their own devices in the time after the birth.
This is exactly where I would like to step in as a maternity nurse and accompany the mother in particular, but also the entire family, during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. Very practical in the household, but also with good background knowledge and tips, for example, on breastfeeding, bonding or nutrition. And I come with a lot of time and an open ear for all questions that arise during this exciting time.
But also in case of later illness of the mother (until the children are 12 years old) I can work as a maternity nurse in the family (also here there is a legal right to a home help).
What about the costs of a maternity nurse? Do the families have to pay the costs themselves or do the health insurance companies cover the full costs?
The statutory health insurance companies cover the costs of a home help (which we are currently considered to be) in part completely if there is a medical indication, in part additional payments must be made, the health insurance companies work very differently in this regard. Privately insured persons should inform themselves directly at their insurance company.
In this context, it is also important to note that the health insurance company will only cover the costs if no one else can continue to run the household. If, for example, the father is on parental leave immediately after the birth, maternity care must be paid for by the mother herself.
Do you get to know families during pregnancy and are on call at the time of birth, similar to midwives, so that you can start at any time afterwards, or how can I imagine this?
If a family needs me as a maternity nurse, I also work there during pregnancy and can then continue to work beyond the birth as long as the health insurance company approves or the family pays me. Getting to know each other before the first assignment is ideal for both sides, but in the case of an emergency cesarean section, for example, I am also happy to start directly.
How do you combine your work with your family? Do you have another job or do you do maternity care full-time?
I am optimistically starting quasi full-time. Quasi, because for now I only want to work in the mornings so that I can still enjoy the time of kindergarten age and early elementary school for my youngest.
It's exciting that you can also work as a maternity nurse during pregnancy or later childhood. I've only known that from traditional home help.
Can anyone actually offer maternity care or do I need special training for it, like you're doing right now? What are you learning in your maternity nurse training and where are you doing it?
At the moment, the title of maternity nurse is not yet protected, but an umbrella organization has just been founded, which I will also join after my final practical week in November. This association assures all mothers who want to use the services of a maternity nurse certain standards, so that the training will be very transparent.
I am doing my training at the Weckmann Institute, whose management comes from the Netherlands, where maternity care is a matter of course. We gain broad knowledge about pregnancy, birth, postpartum, development of the baby in the first days, nutrition and much more.
Have maternity nurses been around for a long time, or where did this offer come from? I have only come across the term from time to time in recent years, but in our region it is virtually non-existent.
Until recently, women who gave birth in the hospital spent their early postpartum period there, up to 10 days. Today, many women are discharged home (often at their own request) after only 2 days.
If there is a lack of support there, however, the postpartum period is often not a postpartum bed and the women suffer from breastfeeding problems, stress and difficulties in regression. Good aftercare is then important. And beyond the medical care provided by the midwife, a maternity nurse can provide wonderful services.
She has time to cook a delicious and nutritious lunch for the whole family, to keep the bathroom clean, but also to spend a lot of time with mom. From talking about how the birth went, to a soothing foot massage, to initial regression exercises, I offer what is good for mom.
I think the profession of maternity nurse has developed because there is often a lack of support in the household, due to the development towards households in which mother and father live "alone" with their children, i.e. there is no experienced grandma or aunt, and neighborly care is also no longer a matter of course.
Do you plan to expand your independence at some point? If so, what areas can you imagine?
I would very much like to continue my education in the area of non-violent communication in order to be able to be there for the entire family even better and to be able to accompany the time with the first baby or another family member even more attentively.
At the moment I am taking part in a further training course on the processing of traumatic birth experiences, also an area that is very close to my heart.
And finally: How can you be found? Anything else you'd like to add?
You can find me on Instagram under mama_cura, a website is still in the planning stages.
I would like to point out again that really many health insurance under the conditions described above (medical indication AND no one who can continue the household) approve a home help. We are still billed as maternity nurses.
However, our umbrella organization is now campaigning for us to be seen and paid for what we really are and do: a wonderful support for mother and family, far beyond the dishwasher.
In English, there is an apt expression for this, "mothering the mother." And that's what it's all about. My goal is to take care of you as a mom so that you can experience a relaxed pregnancy and a healthy, soothing postpartum!
Thank you very much for the exciting and interesting interview, Julia. I was able to take a lot away from it and I realized again what an enriching, but still relatively unknown, offer maternity care is.
The cover image, as well as the photo of Julia herself were provided to me by her for this article.