New Babies Have Given Moms New Perspectives

New Babies Have Given Moms New Perspectives

Palomar Health’s Healthy Development Services (HDS) got a heavy dose of their own medicine earlier this year when six staff delivered babies within six months of each other at the Fig Street location in Escondido. It meant multiple women on maternity leave at the same time. It meant balancing work and life and practicing what they preach.

“I remember after having my first (baby), everything I had been telling the parents, you have to follow these guidelines, the sleeping, the eating, everything you’re supposed to do, then you have your first baby and you’re like, okay just do what you need to do to get by,” said Physical Therapist Brynn Knight, who recently had her third child.

“And understanding what’s realistic,” added first time mom and Speech Pathologist Adrienne Shah. “Do I need to change this to fit more into their schedule?”

Linda Rios, who does patient scheduling and had her first baby earlier this year, says she used to get frustrated when parents wouldn’t check their messages and missed appointments. Then she became a mom and “I was that parent who didn’t listen to their messages.”

The six women recently brought their newborns to work where children are not only their lives but their profession. Three were first time moms and three had their third. They agreed having children of their own has helped them empathize with parents who can’t always follow through with their recommendations. What seems practical in a book isn’t always practical in real life.

“There’s no cookie cutter way of doing things,” said Care Coordinator Maria Veronica Hernandez, who recently birthed her third. Hernandez said having children with their own needs has helped her adapt plans for parents with different lifestyles and schedules.

Some might say having six pregnant staff in the same office at the same time means something is in the water. Perhaps it’s in the culture.
“This is the best place to have a baby and be a new mom,” said Shah, citing the support of her boss, Cindy Linder, the shared experience of her co-workers and the combined professional knowledge of everyone in the office.

“I definitely looked forward to coming back to work because of the environment I was coming back to,” Knight said.

Helping parents navigate the many responsibilities of life is what HDS staff does, so their office environment reflects it. Staff picked up extra hours to cover for those on maternity leave. They have a lactation room. They share their mothering experiences and compare notes on child development milestones. One thing they’ve learned is that no baby reaches all the expected milestones on schedule.

“Not normal is totally typical,” Linder said of the timeline when babies walk, talk, use the toilet, etc.

HDS is a grant funded program from the state of California that focuses on early intervention services for children ages 0-5 to prepare them for Kindergarten. Palomar Health has been running the grant for North County inland since 2001 with offices in Fallbrook, San Marcos, Fig Street, and Lincoln Elementary in Escondido. Together the offices serve more than 1,300 kids each year. Staff case manages kids with mild to moderate developmental delays and/or behavior issues. They offer speech, language, occupational and physical therapy and behavioral modification services plus development assessments and parent workshops. All services are free of charge for families with pre-kindergarten children living in San Diego County under the age of six. Call 1-877-504-2299 to learn more.

See more photos here.

Photo caption: Healthy Development Services Fig Street location held a newborn get together to celebrate six new members of the family. Speech Pathologist Adrienne Shah, Care Coordinator Maria Veronica Hernandez, Physical Therapist Brynn Knight, Administrative Assistant Linda Rios, Administrative Assistant Mary Zuniga and Occupational Therapist Farrah Cristini all had babies within six months of each other ending in February.