Volunteer work holds a near and dear place to my heart. I believe that humans have the greatest capacity to love and do good for their fellow man through kind and sincere acts motivated by unselfish concern. From a young age I made it a point in my life to help others. There's no greater satisfaction than knowing someone else was helped, that you could've made their day a little bit better.
When I was 19 I gave birth to a daughter. Her birth would open the doors to a world I've never known of before. I breastfed my daughter for a bit over a year and fell in love with my new life as a mother. When my daughter was 4 months old, I decided to further my education and become a certified childbirth educator. This brought me in line to receive an invitation to be on the board of Aruba's only non-profit breastfeeding organization, namely, Pro Lechi Mama. After about a year, and much more education later, I started going on breastfeeding consults. This organization runs solely on volunteers, not even being reimbursed for the long hours they put in. So why do we do it? Well, one of the reasons is because if we don't, who will? Who will attend to these mothers that call 1 o'clock in the morning (it has happened before) desperate for someone to quell their fears and allay their anxieties? We will.
We also do it because we have been there. All of us at one point has been the anxious mother, with cracked bleeding nipples, begging for help to continue breastfeeding. We know what it means, and we yearn to help other mothers and families succeed. This love is what drives us to leave our jobs at 6 in the evening and come over by you until 11 o'clock at night until the baby overcomes his nipple preference and latches on. This same love is what makes us fight for your rights to nurse in public, to combine breastfeeding and work, to not fall victim to this bottle-ridden society.
I gain much satisfaction from helping my mamas and babies. This comes at great cost, but is worth my while. You know when I have to fight back tears? When my mamas look at me with a glimmer in their eyes and thank me.
Today, on a breastfeeding, turned babywearing consult, turned sling rental, the mom and dad handed me a card. I opened it and nearly broke out in tears. They thanked me for the love and help I gave them with babywearing and breastfeeding and that if there was anything they could help me with to promote these two things, just call them. These tokens of affection are what pumps more energy into us. We ARE making a difference! People DO appreciate our work!
I may have drastically altered my life when I became a young mother, but I can't help but be grateful to rectify the situation and that it has helped me put my own problems aside and just help someone else.