Monday, May 14, 2012

Those who inspire Mothers.

Instead of talking about my mothers day, I've decided to take a different spin...

I very rarely ever talk about my past life as a nurse. I guess it is because it feels like it was so very long ago and it just isn't part of my life now. The truth is, it will always be a part of who I am, and that part of me is tucked way deep down in a special spot in my heart. Some days, I miss my job. And not the job as going to work everyday to escape my kids and the politics that go along with it, but what I did. I love helping others. I loved ending my day with a sense of goodness in my heart. And helping mammas birth their babies was an amazing thing I was able to do, and someday, I will go back to that, or at least in some aspect of helping new mammas.

Very recently, I lost a good friend after a very courageous battle with Leukemia. She had beat the leukemia, but months after a bone marrow transplant, she developed pneumonia that was just too strong for her weakened immune system to handle. This friend is an amazing woman and I had the honor of working with her in my past life. She was an amazing nurse and lactation consultant, and a mother and grandmother herself. And I can only imagine how many mothers she has helped in her lifetime, including myself. And someday, I hope I will be able to follow in her footsteps.

You see, when I worked with her as a nurse, I had no children. I wasn't even married. I was a single, white female working for a living and loving what I did. Jolenne taught me so much about new motherhood and breastfeeding. I always knew when I had children I would breastfeed, but that's all I knew. I pretty much thought anyone who nursed longer than a year was....weird. God, I don't even think I knew what tandem nursing was and if I did, I probably would have said it was gross. Ok, back to my friend...She was so passionate about what she did and it showed each and everyday in her job and her life. She was an advocate for new moms and she helped those who struggled to nurse their little ones. Her love and passion shined each and every day, and she instilled her knowledge into each and every one of us. And she won my love of nursing and helping mothers to succeed at a very early part in my nursing career.

I remember having what I called "breastfeeding nightmares" as a nurse and I remember I could always count on her to help me, help a mamma who was struggling to nurse her baby. And when I had my very own baby, I put everything I learned from her into use, and even that wasn't good enough, but this amazing women would help me whenever I needed help. Mairead hated to nurse in the beginning. She would scream at the breast. Refuse to latch. It was awful. But, she kept me sane. She kept me going and reminding me that nursing is a work in progress. And I nursed Mairead until she was well past two years old. And then there was Callum. A critically ill newborn who was on a ventilator and unable to nurse. Completely outside of my realm. What do I do exactly? Call Jolenne. She helped me survive pumping breastmilk while my baby was in the NICU. She answered all my questions. And when things sounded "shady", she set me straight, kept me focused and helped me and Callum establish a very strong nursing relationship that continues today, all without setting her hands on me. That's how she was.

And in between children, she was always very happy to help any of my friends with their questions regarding breastfeeding whenever I was unable to answer questions. She never even knew these women, yet, she took time out of her day to help these women succeed with breastfeeding. She was that passionate.

I have to say when I grow up, I want to be just like her. I want to educate women on childbirth and someday I would love to be a lactation consultant. This isn't new news, and if you know me, you will know just how much I enjoy helping new (and seasoned) mammas how to nurse, or anything having to do with childbirth and breastfeeding children. I love talking about pregnancy and childbirth and beyond, and I hope someday, I can follow in Jolenne's path and make an impact on the lives of other mothers all over.

Happy Mothers Day to all the amazing mammas out there who strive everyday to be the best mamma they can be. This Mother's Day post is dedicated to Jolenne, who will be missed by many...


  1. Beautifully said and I do believe you are carrying on this wonderful woman's legacy! I can speak from personal experience. Much love to you my friend.

  2. Thanks, Jen!
    The girls asked the other day why I was sad, and told them a friend had died. I told them it was okay to be sad, but from now on we have to celebrate her life. She was an amazing women who did amazing things, and we have to make sure there are more people like her in the world...

    So now, when I ask the girls what do we do when someone dies, they respond "We celebrate them..."

  3. I'm very sorry to hear about your friend, what a beautiful post in tribute to her life. I was a NICU Mama and wasn't able to even attempt BF'ing for months due to how sick I was and how sick my baby was. I am disappointed to say that all the lactation consultants I had told me that it couldn't be done, that E. had been tube fed and bottle fed for nearly 3 mths, that it was unrealistic to expect her to take the breast. For the record, we did it, she and I...she at 3.5 mths she was BF'ing exclusively and she nursed until she was over a year old. We need more lactation consultants who will listen and help. My source of advice and encouragement was my sister, BF mother of 4 who nursed her children well into their toddler years. Having that motherhood experience in addition to your nursing training will be a goldmine of help to new, struggling moms...and passing along the things you learned from your friend will be a wonderful legacy to her as well.


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