WomenontheVerge

Many years ago, I was a young mother-to-be living in Seattle, Washington. I knew no one except for my then husband, mother-in-law and my obstetrician. I would faithfully go to the library once a week, on my daily walks and it was there that I found a book that I found to have a very funny title, “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.” Really? I thought to myself. Womanly, yes, as I couldn't think of a single man who had conquered that feat, but, an art? It is the handbook to La Leche League, International, and soon after became the handbook to my mothering philosophies.

 

 

I started reading about this so-called art, and felt drawn to it. I read about a group of women who were at a picnic together talking about their children and how they wanted to nurse them, but had faced some challenges. They wondered if they could help each other and also help other women in the process. The first La Leche League (LLL) meeting was held in Franklin Park, Illinois in 1956 with what resulted in the seven founding members.: Marian Thompson, Mary White, Edwina Froehlich, Mary Ann Kerwin, Betty Wagner, Viola Lennon and Mary Ann Cahill.

 

They got their name from a shrine in St. Augustine, Florida, dedicated to the mother of Christ, titled “Nuestro Senora de la Leche y Buen Parto,” which translates freely, “Out Lady of Happy Delivery and Plentiful Milk.” Wow! This was the group for me! I liked their sense of humor, and appreciation for the beauty in the simple things in life. I decided I must connect with a local chapter.

 

I found a local group via the very library I found their handbook. There were flyers on the bulletin board and I saw them as a sign, that I was meant to find them. I can still remember my first Lal Leche League

group - amazingly gentle women and children. Quiet, even with all of the babies and children running around.

I do not remember any shouting, no scolding of the children to get them to behave and the most wonderful thing of all – the room was filled with a warm love. Even though, I found out later that nursing mothers are naturally blissed out on oxytocin (the hormone released wh

en breastfeeding, also called the “cuddle chemical”), I personally was swept away by this mellow group of women.

The La Leche League group that I attended was practical, kind, supportive, intelligent and quietly wove their way into my heart with every month's meeting. I wanted my motherhood experience to be like theirs. I wanted the warmth and the support from other mothers, to make this new adventure work for me and my growing family. So I got more and more involved. We held playgroups, exchanged names of doctors, midwives, birthing coaches and classes on parenting held various doctors who had authored books to come and speak to us.

 

I had my first son at the hospital in a birthing room (the first of it's kind in Seattle at time). After a natural birth, we came home to home-made dinners delivered to our home by troops of LLL members. They made themselves available to me any time of the day or night. I had a minor infection when my infant son decided to sleep through the night at 3 months old, and they told me to put warm wash cloths on my breasts and don't worry if they leak a little right now, as it would provide relief. I got through it within hours and it turned out to be a very minor bump in the journey. Many times, a bump like that might have meant someone would stop nursing their infant, but with their help, that was not necessary.

 

Through my continued connections with La Leche League, I founded my first home-based business. One of the members had a chocolate business that she ran out of her kitchen. Several members would show up with our children and their lunch boxes in tow and and we would work. She showed me how to do it. How to balance having children and running a business – at home. She mentored me and helped me get a business license and we worked together like that for four years.

My second son was born, and this time I was completely immersed in LLL. I attended classes by Dr. Bradley (founder of the Bradley method), and my son was birthed at home by a Danish midwife, named Kirsten. While I was in heavy labor, my older son was playing with friends in the living room while being babysat by my LLL sisters. They made pizza, played and had a birthday cake with a 0 (zero) candle for the older kids to enjoy as this was my newborn son's zero birthday. They brought presents for my oldest son to open, to celebrate him being a big brother. It was a wonderful time. A time for which I will be eternally grateful.

 

My newborn son was a little bit jaundiced when he was born, and my pediatrician (who made house calls), came over to do his newborn check-up. His recommendation? He called in my husband and told him to wrap up his new son and take him for a few walks today – in the sun. Natural sunlight was the recommendation, isn't simple thinking grand? It turned out to be healing to my son and a way for him to bond with his father. A father for whom he works for today.

 

My life's journey brought me back to Tucson, Arizona (where I have lived three times in my life), and the first group I sought out was La Leche League. I had one more child under their guidance – my daughter and she, too, was a healthy child – inside and out, which I mostly attributed to breastfeeding.

 

La Leche League was my constant, my sounding board, my guide to being the best, kindest, gentlest mother I could be. LLL is also the best example I can site for teaching me sisterly support. Without judgment, without competition, they supported me in my journey. Through divorce, through working at home, through raising three children, their encouraging arm was draped on my shoulder. It is this model of support that I believe we, at Women on the Verge encapsulate. We are here every single day, in support of each other in our life's trials and triumphs and, for this, I have La Leche League to thank as my teacher, my guides, my heroines.




Happy International Womens Day!

Ana Lewis

Founder of WomenontheVerge.net

  1. Today's Best
  2. Top Shows
  3. Best of BTR
    1. Loading

      YOU are Enough!

      You are enough as you are! You will also learn about their display, The Magic Mirror, that is currently on tour throughout America.

    2. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible

      Karen is a two-time James Beard Award-winning author whose books include The Flavor Bible, which was named one of the year's best cookbooks on both Today and Good Morning America, one of the 100 best cookbooks of the last 25 years by Cooking Light and one of the 10 best cookbooks in the world of the past century by Forbes.

    3. Demise Of The West

      Who is behind the dismantling of the United States and the West? What forces are at work to take down the U.S. to create a global government?

    4. Food Junkies

      Dr. Vera Tarman: Food Junkies, The Truth About Food Addiction.

    5. Chicago Bulls Jimmy Butler

      Chicago Bulls star guard, Jimmy Butler, joined Anthony Donahue to talk about his breakout season, how far the Bulls can do, what it would mean to make the All Star team and much more.

    6. American Sniper Co-Writer Scott McEwen

      Jason, and Watson will be joined by a very special guest; Scott McEwen co-writer of American Sniper with the Late Navy SEAL, Chris Kyle.

    7. Matthew McConaughey

      Ann talks golf and success with Matthew McConaughey.

    8. A Year Without God

      In December of 2014, Bell announced in an NPR interview that he no longer believes in God. Both Christians and atheists have rallied around this declaration, for good and for ill.

    9. Anthropolgist Erik Steven Garcia

      Erik Steven Garcia has a BA in Anthropology, and has training in archaeology and faunal remains identification. He has had some interesting experiences that have gotten him interested in the subject of Sasquatch.

    10. Gary Sheffield

      Gary Sheffield is a nine time All-Star, five-time silver slugger award winner and one of the top 25 all-time homerun hitters with 509 home runs. He will talk about performing in pressure situations and preparing yourself for any opportunity, whether its in sports, business or life.

    11. Is It Time to Quit?

      "I'm just wondering if now is the time for me to quit?" Have you ever had this question?

    12. Kids and Manipulation

      What's keeping your good parenting from being GREAT parenting? Find out with Carol Tuttle—acclaimed alternative psychotherapist, best-selling author of 4 books, and the creator of Energy Profiling and Dressing Your Truth—as she helps you revolutionize your approach to parenting.

    13. Fantasy Baseball Projections

      Breaking down this weeks ADP rankings and start to get a feel for what the 2015 season might hold for some players.We also tease how to get into the 2015 fantasy baseball league for a chance to win a champioship belt.

    14. The Buffalo Wool Company

      Marly Bird welcomes back to Yarn Thing Ron and Theresa Miskin of Buffalo Wool Co, to share all the cool things on happening in 2015.

    15. Adolescence Is The Age Of Opportunity

      Dr. Laurence Steinberg On Why Adolescence Is The Age Of Opportunity

    16. AudioRoad Trucking

      Trucking Questions from the AudioRoad.

    1. Loading

      Small Business Unstuck

      Host Barry Moltz gets small businesses unstuck. He has founded and run small businesses with a great deal of success and failure for more than 15 years. This is a business radio show where he shares all the craziness of small business. It’s that craziness that actually makes it exciting, interesting and totally unpredictable.

    2. America's Most Haunted

      Official Internet radio show of forthcoming epic paranormal investigation book by Eric Olsen and "Haunted Housewife" Theresa Argie.