Four months ago I joined a club that I didn't know I was missing. I became a mom. Any parent will agree, the first time you are a bit of a wreck. You are unsure of what to do, your baby is unsure of the entire world around them and all the advice you get becomes so overwhelming (especially because some of it does not agree with the type of parent you want to be).
I knew I wanted to breastfeed even before I became pregnant. That was one thing I was sure of. Of course it all changed when I actually was doing it. The pain was almost unbearable. Timing feeds was crazy, having to remember at 2 am to right down what time you fed, what side and what you found in the diaper. There were times when I wasn't sure what side to feed on, I was engorged, cracked, bleeding and so sleep deprived. I'm so glad that I didn't give up. I was lucky to have a great support system. My husband, sweet Kenrick. He would sit up with me when I was crying and feeding Olivia and reassure me that I was doing a good job and I was a great mother.
My best friend Jennie would take my calls late in the night and suggest things to do to relieve the pain. There was one night when I called her and told her how engorged I was. She told me to get a pump and get one fast. I assured her that I was going to be borrowing one from a family member until I could go out and buy my own. When I told her that I had to wait a few days to get it she came to my rescue. She knew I couldn't continue feeding Olivia in the state I was in. Let's be honest, if I kept feeding in so much pain it might have changed my mind on breastfeeding all together. She got in her car, late that very same night and drove me her pump. God bless her. I was able to relieve some of the pain and continue feeding Olivia the way I wanted to.
That's when she told me about a group she had joined. The La Leche League. "To encourage, promote and provide mother-to-mother breastfeeding support and educational opportunities as an important contribution to the health of children, families and society". I was still struggling with breastfeeding and I was using a shield to help feed Olivia. I went to one meeting and met some wonderful women. They were so warm and full of knowledge. The other mothers were able to relate to what I was experiencing and the feeling of being alone began to vanish. At the end of the meeting one of the leaders, who is also a lactation consultant, came over to me
and asked if she could assist me in how I was feeding. I was so greatful. That was the main reason for going, to get help from someone who was a pro. With her help I stopped using the shield that night and never went back. Feeding became easier and I really felt I knew what I was doing. Once a month I would go back to the meeting. Not only to see the group and catch up, but to also offer my own suggestions to new moms. That's one of the best parts of the group. You feel like old friends getting together to talk about breastfeeding and all the trials and accomplishments. It was great to talk to new mothers and tell them what I had experienced. Just like myself you could see the sigh of relief in their eyes. At that moment they knew they came to the right place and they knew they were not alone.
Nikki, one of the leaders invited anyone who was interested to her house for group meetings called "Enrichment Meetings", and so began a weekly tradition. I would go to Nikki's house every Thursday for the next three months and bond with a remarkable group of women. We would talk about everything imaginable. Solid foods, good books, nursing bras, you name it. It was so wonderful to be able to ask a question and know that the answer was going to come from someone who shared my parenting views. There was no worry of judgement. I actually would write down questions during the week to bring them to our meetings. Everytime there was at least one other person who was going through the same thing, or had gone through the same thing and was able to offer advice. I have come to cherish the time I have spent at Nikki's house with the other moms. I know that I am a better mother because of them. When I felt lost they helped to guide me. When I found something I thought they would all like, I would share. When I just needed a good laugh and some company they were all there.
We are on a little summer break right now and I am missing them already. Sadly some of the mom's mat leave has come to an end and they will be going back to work. I wanted to salute all the mom's that I have met and thank them for welcoming me into their lives. I can't imagine what I would have done if they weren't there for me. I know I will keep in touch with these wonderful women and I already plan on going back whenever I have my next baby.