I’m not. Nope, not at all. Not as a lactation consultant and certainly not as a mother.
Let me back up. Why am I writing about this? At a recent home consultation I was working with a mother who had delivered by cesarean birth. When I casually commiserated about the abdominal pain and difficult recovery following a cesarean birth she stopped me. “You had a cesarean birth?! You?! I thought you likely had a non-medicated home birth with no interventions and no complications and breastfeeding was super easy and amazing!” That’s when it hit me. My clients often think I come to this work from a place of perfection or ideal motherhood. It is quite the opposite. I come to this work because I’ve been where you are. I had the birth center transfer turned hospital cesarean. I had the epidural that caused numbness to my ears, speech slurring and interruption to breastfeeding. I’m human. I’ve been there. I come to this work in hopes that I can be empathetic. I come to you as a trained lactation professional, but also as a plain ol’ mom who has had her best plans changed by life!
At yet another recent consultation, as I was explaining safe formula preparation, I casually spoke about feeding my son formula. The mom stopped me mid sentence. "Wait, what?! You should lead with that. I feel so much better with supplementation knowing you did it too," she said relieved. Yep. I finger fed formula to my first child as I wept, nipples bleeding, milk dripping from my breasts. I had unexpected curveballs with both my babies!
While I won't say I've been in every same situation as the families I serve, I share some common first time parent experiences. And I'm confident I can say the same for my partners, Amy and Trish.
So next time we are chatting at your consultation, please remember that I hold no judgement, and certainly no perfection or superiority. I come to you with an empathetic ear, an open mind and professional expertise to help you meet your lactation and parenting goals!