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My Journey

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My Journey so far..

I was 9 years old when I told my mother that I was going to be a nurse – and that's exactly what I did as soon as I left school! And although I enjoyed my general training, the minute I started my midwifery I knew I had found my real passion. Working with babies! In fact I was so drawn to babies that I went on to complete my studies in Neonatal nursing. Nursing tiny little premature babies, and babies who have difficulties at birth, and watching them grow and recover, is enormously rewarding.

I was in my late 30's and early 40's when I myself was blessed with children of my own. And a far as I was concerned I was going to breeze through this motherhood thing! After all, how much more “qualified” could one be?

Well, suffice to say, I fell flat on my face! This was no longer me looking after a baby and being able to go off duty! This was my baby and I was now the parent and I felt like I had no clue what to do! The adjustment was so profound that I developed a new respect for the need for information and guidance during this life changing time.

I put together all the information that seemed important and started running antenatal classes in Johannesburg, South Africa, where we were living at the time. Yes I taught about the birth, but I really loved focusing on the time after the birth – from breastfeeding to bathing babies to helping parents have realistic expectations around Infant sleep. My practice grew and so did my knowledge. It became a one-stop shop where parents could learn how to prepare for the birth of their baby, and then go on to seek advice on feeding, sleep issues and even have their babies immunized. There were mums groups, baby massage classes and even baby gym sessions. And, of course, all of this lead to further studies and in 2009 I qualified as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Unfortunately the political situation in South Africa did not seem to be improving and my husband and I started seeking a more stable future for our children. We immigrated to Australia in the January of 2011 – initially to Hobart where I once again found myself in the intensive care unit for newborns.

Finding employment for my husband was difficult though and so when an opportunity came up in Albury in 2012 we were once again on the move. However this came with a great opportunity for me – a new outpatient breastfeeding service had just been established at Wodonga Hospital and I was appointed to run the clinic. And that is where I have been for close to 6 years now. I have been privileged to walk alongside hundreds of families as they face the task of feeding their new little babies.

For some it may only be one visit and a few suggestions and they happily go on to breastfeed for months and even years. They are the lucky ones – those for whom the challenges are easily overcome. But for others, it’s a long hard road of challenge after challenge after challenge. Many tears have been shed along the way and plans are made to not only ensure that their baby is fed, but that they are able to cope with the rigorous demands of providing milk for this little person. Many friendship have been formed as we journey together, cry together, laugh together and celebrate even small achievements.

We are not always able to fully resolve some breastfeeding issues but being able to talk the parents through those difficulties and ensure that there is no guilt is vitally important. My vision is to provide education and support with the emphasis on compassion and understanding of each families unique situation. My heart lies with those who find themselves faced with what can feel like insurmountable challenges when it comes to breastfeeding. Women are so vulnerable at this time of their lives and they need someone to come alongside them and be willing to listen to their concerns and help them come up with a solution that suits their unique situation. They need to feel validated and not judged for a situation that is largely beyond their control.

It's with this in mind that I will continue to give to the border community and will myself be enriched by the interactions that I am privileged to be a part of.

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Unit 9

22 Stanley Street

WODONGA VIC 3690

0455 612 229

babyassist@bigpond.com

Mon - Fri: 9:00 - 5:00

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