“It’s an honour to be with women and their families on, what is usually, the most important day of their lives; when their child is born,” says Sheila Mills, registered nurse at the IWK Health Centre. Mills works in the Perinatal Centre at the IWK and as nursing assistant with the midwifery program.
As part of the PNC unit, Mills works with expecting mothers everyday to care for their needs during the process of becoming a new mom. From early diagnosis of pregnancy to the baby’s birth, Mills is there for women every step of the way.
“I come from a labour and delivery background and I love the birth process,” says Mills. “Growing up in this community, the IWK has a really special name because it’s where all the babies are born. When I started nursing, I got to see how special it is when a woman gives birth. I saw the education you give and the conversations that you get to have with women.”
Previously, Mills worked in post-partum and spent a few years working labour and delivery in California. When she came back to Nova Scotia, she knew the IWK was going to be a good fit. “Halifax is small enough that you see your patients in the community. It’s rewarding when people come back, and they say ‘you were my labour nurse’.”
In this line of work, helping a woman become a mother means more than just medical care. Mills also works with her patients to build their confidence in what they’re about to do through education and one-on-one care.
“I hope to instill a sense of empowerment to these women. They can do amazing things when they’re having a baby,” says Mills. “Whether it’s being in the room when a woman is delivering or being with them during the pre-natal care, expecting mothers have a lot of questions, concerns and fears. The more we talk about what’s happening and address those fears, the more I can help them have a positive experience with their birth”
With Mother’s Day coming up, we’re reminded that it’s a special day for everyone when a baby is born, but it’s something that’s become part of Mills’ daily life. “To walk into a room, it might be what you do every day, but acknowledging what it means to the family and recognizing that they don’t do this every day.”
“It’s so special, and it’s an amazing point in people’s lives. It’s a honour to get to work with women and families. I really, really love what I do.”