This is the Start of Something Beautiful

Yesterday I mailed in an application to a local community college.

I’ve been doing some reading, some thinking, and some more reading about school. I’ve been saying for years that I want to be a nurse, and that I want to work with mothers and babies. But I could never figure out in what capacity. I wasn’t really interested in Labor & Delivery, nor the NICU, nor Obstetrics. I saw myself doing any one of those things, but not forever, not as an endpoint, not as a goal. I’m a person that does not act without motivation. If I don’t have sufficient motivation to do something, I just will not do it.

So I never went to school for nursing, because I’ve been an unmotivated student before (twice, actually) and it never worked out. I’ve been a psychology major (fascinated by psych but I didn’t want to do clinical and was lukewarm on R&D and teaching), an English major (I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it, I’ve just always loved literature), and a business major (I had NO interest whatsoever in business, it was just the major I picked that I knew my job would pay for). I got As in every class but one (I got a B in Statistics; it was an 8am class that I skipped a little too frequently) regardless of my major.

But I didn’t follow through on any of my attempts at higher education because I just didn’t care enough to follow through. I had no specific goals and no motivation. So even though I figured out three years ago that I wanted a nursing degree and that I wanted to work with mothers and babies, I still didn’t make a move even though I hate my job and I want out. It was too vague a goal, and I didn’t like the options in front of me, and I knew I’d do poorly or even just quit if I got started. I know myself pretty well.

But lately I’ve been thinking, and reading, and thinking some more about lactation consultation. I want to be an IBCLC – an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. It’s not an easy certification to achieve, and the bar just keeps getting raised every year. You don’t have to be an RN to be an IBCLC, but that is one path that you can take. I don’t just want to be an IBCLC, I want to be the BEST damn IBCLC that I can possibly be, and I believe that for me, going the nursing route will help me achieve that.

The carrot on my stick is not nursing, which is more of a means to my ends, or even to be an IBCLC working for a hospital, but to provide services for those who are most in need of help to establish and maintain healthy nursing relationships with their children. I would like to someday start a nonprofit that will provide breastfeeding resources and guidance targeted towards teens, families living in poverty, minorities, folks with disabilities, queer families, and trans people. These are the populations that have the least support financially and/or socially to nurse their children, many of whom stand to gain even more from breastfeeding than their privileged peers would, and I want to help fill the gap.

And I’m not just talking about counseling or support groups (though I intend to provide that as well), but providing pumping equipment at reduced or no cost to those who need them, advocating for laws that protect and encourage the nursing relationship, building awareness and acceptance of breastfeeding amongst at-risk and general populations both, and negotiating mentorships for other aspiring IBCLCs. I just want to do so much, and it will probably take me twenty years to get there, but I feel that it’s a goal well worth the time and effort.

The first step is school. I hope to have my associates degree before I’m 31, and I hope to be an IBCLC before I’m 35. I hope to found my nonprofit before I’m 45. Tall order, I know, but it feels damned good to finally have something to work towards.

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8 Responses to “This is the Start of Something Beautiful”

  1. Jo Says:

    Good for you!!!! Yay!

    • August Says:

      I’m totally nervous. Qualification for the nursing program is done using your GPA ranking, and even though I had a 3.9 last time I was in college, I didn’t take any hard sciences. For nursing I need four biology courses and a chemistry! I’ve never taken a college course that required a lab, so I have no idea what to expect. Marcus pointed out that when I want to retain information, I’m like an encyclopedia, so I should have nothing to worry about. But I am worried. I feel very very pressured to get straight As in order to guarantee my qualification for the program.

      You know how I am. I need to be in control and having a 4.0 means I won’t have to worry about whether I made it in or not. Blaaaaah.

      • choleandjo Says:

        I will help you study – I LOVE LOVE LOVE school 🙂

        Labs aren’t that bad, but sometimes you have to work in groups, which can majorly suck. It’s not that different from lab work in high school (and some of it will probably bore you to tears).

        How many classes are you taking at a time?

  2. Jennifer Says:

    What a worthy cause to pursue. I have to say I was in a nail salon recently and there was a girl going to be induced that day. I knew the hospital she was going to has shoddy lactation support. I told her all the things that she might need to start breast feeding at night with out a consultant.

    I was so happy that she emailed me asking about the breast feeding support group that I belonged to.

    go for it

  3. Nicole Says:

    Ahhhh I’m so proud of you!!!! And don’t worry so much about school dude, Marcus is right, you’re like a goddamn sponge. Biology is a lot of memorization, but once you get into it, it’s fun, especially anatomy and stuff like that. Labs are sometimes boring, but SOMETIMES they’re AMAZING. When I was taking anatomy for massage school, our professor brought in a pair of cow’s lungs to show us how lungs really work. He hooked an airhose to the trachea (maybe this is gross?), turned the air on, and we all got to watch how a pair of real lungs inflate and deflate. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my life. So have hope! Everytime you feel down on it, remember that you’re working towards saving the relationships between moms and babies!!

  4. Link Love: Breastfeeding Awareness « She Has My Eyes Says:

    […] Awareness Month, and this first week (August 1-7) is World Breastfeeding Week. Naturally, as an aspiring IBCLC, I’m stoked! I’ll be posting about breastfeeding throughout the month. To kick off, […]

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