I secretly, not so secretly, love puzzles. Word puzzles, number puzzles, or even who dun it puzzles entice me. I love a freshly solved puzzle and that haha I beat you feeling. Now, I’m not a complete the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle in pen puzzle confident, but I’d like to think that given the right amount of time I could solve most puzzles even if that means I did them in pencil and had a well used eraser. One of the things that drew me to the lactation field was the notion that I could solve some puzzles that could potential impact a breastfeeding relationship. I am passionate about breastfeeding and I love puzzles so it truly sounded like a win win to me. Hello, dream job!
Although I have been solving puzzles for as long as I can remember, and I have been helping people breastfeed for more than 8 years, nothing prepared me for the plot twist that accompanies being a lactation consultant. Just when you know the butler did it, in the conservatory, with the candlestick, you learn that in this game of who dun it you can not win the game if you do not solve the “why he did it” as well. What in the world?
Truth be told, my job is probably only 25% puzzle solving a lactation problem. The remaining 75% is actually just offering reassurance and encouragement to women. Often I will find myself playing the role of a psychologist or therapist. I will get calls from frantic women worried that their baby is eating frequently, wants to eat all of the time, or does not sleep through the night. They worry that this a sign that they are somehow inadequate and that something must be wrong with their baby. Their confidence is in shatters and they are emotionally drained. When I tell them that they are enough the first time they often do not believe me thinking that I am failing to see the problem and that they must try to explain things again. By the third or fourth cycle of explanation they are often getting more and more frustrated with me and my lack of understanding. I see the frustration mounting and I remind myself that I too was once the same way. I was once the mother of a newborn who felt incapable, deficient, and lost. I once too was the mother who opted to forgo much needed sleep to spend time on doctor google trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. I understand the frustration, the worry, and the overwhelming fear and joy that comes with being a new mother. I understand the vicious cycle of feeling I was an inadequate as a mother as I compared myself to others. I remember the countless times someone told me I was enough and I did not believe them.
Now , I realize that I was enough. Each woman that I counsel is enough. We are all doing the best that we can but somehow always feel that we are falling short. Maybe our feelings of inadequacy are due to mom guilt, societal pressures, or an inability to believe in ourselves. Maybe, just maybe, we are simply lacking encouragement and support. So, I will be the voice of encouragement and support. I will be the cheerleader in the corner for each and every client. I will be their biggest fan. This is my mantra, my passion, the remaining 75% of my job, and the biggest most rewarding puzzle that I have ever solved. I was enough, you are enough, and they are enough-this is my final answer.