Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Giving is a Wonderful thing...

     I often tell my mom’s that they do as much for me as I hope I do for them.  They never really get it until I explain.  

     Imagine how it feels to know you have made a difference in someone’s world – for the better.  Imagine knowing that because of your skills, your desire to help, your desire to be the best you can be that you helped a woman overcome obstacles that would cause breastfeeding to fail.  Imagine knowing that because of those skills you were able to help a baby heal from traumatic birth, or birth injury or tight muscles or even a tongue-tie simply because you knew what to look for and who to refer out to and take care of the challenge.  And imagine how it feels to watch moms and babies pull it together and be successful at breastfeeding and bonding the way they both want and need to be – to find normal.

     Not all moms make it to breastfeeding every baby for a myriad of reasons, and that is heartbreaking.  But – imagine being able to counsel that mom and help her come to terms with that.  Imagine how it feels to help her be successful with a current baby after it didn’t happen with a prior.  What if she can’t breastfeed because of a hormonal or physical issue beyond her control?  What if she tried and failed with prior children but no one told her WHY?  Now imagine the relief she has when she finds out WHY it didn’t work and that it was NOT because SHE failed…it just is a situation that is beyond her control.  Bittersweet?  Absolutely.  To be able to give her an answer and ease her feelings of failure?  Priceless.  

     When I was a kid my family would ask every so often if I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I had no clue.  I wanted to be a housewife, like my grandma, and raise children.  I also wanted to be an entrepreneur and make a lot of money, or own my own business – be the boss!  (I was kind of bossy back then!)  But the one thing I KNEW I wanted to do was make a difference.  Sadly, I grew up being told that was a silly thing to want and I never would.  I think my family simply wanted me to not fail – or something.  But at any rate that’s what I grew up hearing.  All throughout college I still wanted to make a difference – I got my degree in Child Development and went into the child care field as a pre-school teacher.  I LOVED working with the kids, but working for others who violated laws and ethics didn’t work for me.  I managed to stay on that career path for about 5 yrs before it wore me out.  I already had one awesome little boy and then I got married and had 2 more.

     I knew I wanted to work with kids, maybe be a psychologist or something along those lines and often thought about going back to school.  But, then I had my 2nd son who taught me so much about how breastfeeding shouldn’t be.  It was through my experiences with him that I found my calling – my way to make that difference.   If you like,  you can read about it here.

     I found this career through our breastfeeding challenges.  I had decided that if I could help it, no other mom would go through the hell I did to breastfeed my son.  And a dream was recognized (I get to make a difference) and a goal was reached when I became an IBCLC in 2000.  I get to make a difference – I am allowed to make a difference – I am encouraged to make a difference!  And it feels amazing!

     When I work with moms I always try to thank them for letting me help.  They really don’t understand and I love that.  You see, when they welcome me into their home, and ask me (a complete stranger) to help them with a scary, frustrating and often painful situation, I am honored by that.  I know how hard it can be to ask for help.  And I know how difficult breastfeeding problems can be emotionally, physically and spiritually.  I do my best to support my mom’s where they are at and give them the pep talks they need, and talk them off a ledge when they need; even if that is late at night, on a weekend or a holiday.  You see – they MATTER to me.  They are the ones who allow me to make a difference in the world – in THEIR world.  They invite me in to help.  And that then makes a difference in MY world.  The gift they give me is immeasurable. 

     I have become friends with many of my mom’s, and when things got really rough for my wife and me last year, without being asked, they came to our rescue and helped support us in so many wonderful ways - and we really needed it.  It turns out that, when you do your best to help others without worrying about all the little things you can charge for, and when you help because you love it, that you get things in return.  There are no conditions on what I do for and give my mom’s.  And I was shocked and so deeply moved by the help and kindness we have been treated to this past year.  It was simply not expected.  But it was deeply appreciated.  

     And so – to you moms out there who I have been honored to help.  Thank you.   
Really - You do for me as much as I hope I do for you…and don’t ever forget that.  I don’t.