I have wanted to do this for years. Never really sure which way to go about doing it, how to come up with the money for it, how to take the time. I have spent nearly the last year of my life in this chronically depressing bubble of failed relationships, devoid friendships, and in a job that I don't really enjoy. Not in the way that you should enjoy a job. Materials Management at the hospital wasn't something I wanted to do my entire life, but it had become a position I was happy with, paid me well, and I probably got far too comfortable. Even the worse things in our life can have a silver lining. Mine was in being fired from a job and being unemployed for six weeks, I was able to finally figure out how I wanted to go about my schooling and trainings and certifications.
I have been a very passionate breastfeeding advocate since I can even remember. I used to breast feed my Strawberry Shortcake doll. Since having Aiden, I have helped several friends start and continue breast feeding their children. I have been support for people I barely know through recommendations of friends.
This week, I am in Loveland, Colorado, amidst all of the flooding, and evacuations, and I'm attending a week long course where at the end, I will test for, and hopefully pass, for my CLC. (Certified Lactation Counselor)
This morning, at around 10 a.m., shortly before our first break of the day, we were watching a video that was made a few years ago about a hospital in the Phillippines. This hospital had done away with any and all infant formula, the women crowded into huge rooms with hundreds of beds pushed together, the babies remaining with their mothers during their hospital stays. In the crowded, terribly poor conditions, instead of seeing a rise in diseases or infant deaths, they saw the exact opposite.
Mother's assisting each other with the breast feeding relationships. Learning to express milk for pre-mature infants, and for the first time ever, this hospital was able to save enough money (about 6 million a year in U.S.dollars) in order to actually FEED its patients three meals a day, plus snacks, when before it was the family's responsibility to bring the patients food, or they simply didn't eat. As I watched this video, watched these women who had virtually nothing but the clothes on their backs feed their babies, and their babies THRIVED. In this conference room with about 40 to 50 other women, most of whom are nurses, and I started to tear up.
Not because of the video, even though it was touching. But because I knew, with certainty, that this is what I was meant to do.
I am thirty years old, and I never thought I would be able to say what it was I wanted to do when I grew up. Having a baby at 20, and everything just kind of gets put on the backburner. Hopes, dreams, relationships, jobs, friendships. Everything. They all become secondary to your child and what your child needs and wants. In coming here, in taking this course and going back to school, I knew it was something I would enjoy. Well, I mean... obviously. I've done it for free for friends and near strangers for the nearly ten years since I had and gave birth to Aiden. I knew I'd enjoy it. I never really expected to have the emotional reaction I did in the first two hours of a 40 hour week long course.
Maybe this is the feeling people in the church refer to as "the calling"?
I managed to hold my composure the entire day, only really losing it when I got back to my hotel room. Then I cried happy/excited tears nonstop and nearly uncontrollably for forty-five minutes, changed my clothes and went down to the hotel restaurant.
I sat at the bar, armed with my homework for the night, ordered a beer and asked for a menu. The bartender, a fairly attractive man much younger than I am, asked me softly if I was ok (tear stained and puffy post cry face and all) while he was pouring my draft beer. (They didn't have Boulevard, WTF?!) and I told him, "I have just figured out, for sure, what I am meant to do with my life." He sat the beer in front of me, handed me a menu, and said, "Then you need some skin." Offering a high-five, which I returned with much gusto.