Start at the Beginning
Why breastfeeding? Why birth?
Pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding have been at the center of my personal life for over a decade. My own journey has included the support of a loving partner, excellent midwives, and community support groups. I deeply appreciate the impact that each has had on my ability to meet my own goals to birth and care for my children. I also know first hand how isolating new parenthood can be and the inadequacy of support available to many new parents.
I began supporting other parents leading birth discussion and breast/chestfeeding support groups when my oldest son was a toddler. This work gave me an adult outlet in a time when most of my waking hours were very child-centered and has given me insight into the wide range of goals, challenges, and experiences that make up parenthood in our society. I have had the privilege of helping many other parents in my own community and around the world to become accredited as chest/breastfeeding counselors as well. Each parent has taught me something new.
The impact of birth on breast/chestfeeding and parenting has been a common theme in my work with parents. Preventing unnecessary challenges though education and empowering parents to have better births was a natural next step for me. I enjoy my work as a Bradley Method® childbirth educator and doula. It allows me to form deep connections to birthing families as I learn about their own struggles and give them tools to reach the goals they set for their families. I see a positive relationship between preparing for a positive and empowered birth and meeting breastfeeding goals - even when pregnancy and birth presents unexpected hurdles. Becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) offers me even more tools to help families who find themselves facing difficulty with breast/chestfeeding.
I started with my personal journey and find myself coming back around to a new beginning, and a another new beginning, . . . each time asking the same questions: What does this baby need? What does this parent need? What does this family need? and coming to the same answers: a pregnancy, birth, and feeding experience that is their own, as unique as they are, where they have the tools and agency to make the best choices for themselves and their families.
Leave a Reply.
Melinda is an IBCLC, childbirth educator, and birth doula serving families in Middle Tennessee.