Home > Breastfeeding, Goals, Life Planning > “You Will”

“You Will”

Breastfeeding M

Several years ago, while finally nursing M quietly and painlessly, I decided that I wanted to give back.  I wanted to do for other women what had been done for me.  I wanted to help other mothers overcome whatever obstacles they faced and help them develop a healthy nursing relationship.  I quickly became fascinated with the science of the female body and the evolution and natural beauty of what it does.  I started to form a path, a road map of how to do this.  I looked at the options and they seemed to include the obvious, become a lactation consultant, but that requires a lot of time and training.  So, I did what I always do and threw myself into the research to find out how to reach this goal.  My road map became this:

  1. Attend local meetings and learn all I can on my own
  2. Become a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor
  3. Become a La Leche League Leader
  4. Become a Certified Lactation Counselor
  5. Become an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant)
  6. Possibly become an RN to allow me to work in a hospital setting on a maternity ward

As you can see, I formed my list of goals in an order of attainability, after all I am a realist.  I figured that this would allow me ample time to test this field out and see if this is really what I want to do.  It is a MAJOR career change for me.  I come from over a decade of working and learning in the field of Media and Technology!  I have earned a BS and an MS.  I don’t take anything part way, so to make an about-face now is a BIG deal.

Crystal Gold completing Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Training in 2007

Crystal Gold completing Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Training in 2007

In July of 2007, I completed my Breastfeeding Peer Counselor training with La Leche League in Chicago.  I was thrilled!  But I found quickly that because the organization didn’t officially sponsor this program any longer there was little support or structure.  The training was invaluable though and it set me up to do the work and continue learning on my own.  I have felt comfortable helping my friends and family because of this training and felt the call of the field stronger than ever.  It became very obvious that I wanted to continue on my path.

In the summer of 2008, I overheard the Leader of our Carmel LLL group talking to someone about leadership.  She knew of my passion and asked me if I would like to sign up for the Leader Applicant program.  As a believer that opportunities present themselves as you are meant to have them, I took this as a sign of it being time.  The fact that she had the confidence in me to approach me made me feel like maybe this would  be something I would be good at.  So I started my journey to my next goal.

The path was a long one, much longer than I expected since most of the learning and reading had already been done.  But, as is often the case, life got in the way and the process took a solid year.  I am very thankful for the gentle pushing I received from my Leader to keep with it as much as I could.  I felt, not pressured, but encouraged to do what I am meant to do… to meet a destiny.  Through the process I had to reflect a lot and discuss the changes I have gone through as a mother and a person.  I might post those items here soon.  It was a truly amazing experience, especially to have someone else read these thoughts and reflect back to me an outside response.  It was rewarding and encouraging.

So, the culmination of this work took place today.  The LLL of Indiana hosted a party to celebrate some pretty major organizational changes and was able to have one of the Founding Mothers of LLL attend.  So, let me put this in perspective for you.  In 1956, seven mothers joined together to support each other in breastfeeding their babies.  This was a time when it was looked at as dangerous compared to the ‘safety of the modern medical marvel, formula’.  These women were, in the words of Marian Thompson, “looked at as selfish women putting their babies’ lives in danger to make a point”.  They knew in their hearts that what their own bodies made for their babies had to be better than anything science could produce.  Their support for each other turned into support for other local women.  These women asked how they too could help, and so developed La Leche League, now an international organization helping millions of mothers each year.  Marian Thompson, now turning 80, was one of these pioneer women.  She cast aside the current beliefs and gave power to the knowledge within her, the natural knowledge of how to birth, raise, and feed a baby.  Having the opportunity to see her speak in a room of about 50 people is such an honor, but I was also, as fate would have it, sitting at a table with her the entire day.

Marian Thompson, LLL Founder, and Crystal Gold, Nov 7, 2009

Marian Thompson, LLL Founder, and Crystal Gold, Nov 7, 2009

I couldn’t help but look at her and think to myself  “Here sits a woman who changed the world!”  I was able to have a 10 minute one on one conversation with her when she asked me how La Leche League came into my life.  I told her of my early struggles, my mother bringing me the book “Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” and attending my first meeting when my son was 3 months old.  I told her how at first much of it seemed a bit too much for me, but as I let my heart lead me and my natural mothering instincts take over, I found myself closely aligning with the beliefs of LLL.  I still am a working mother who had to be away from my son, but I recognized the importance of respecting his need to be with me and made it work well for him.  I also told her of my dream after my miscarriage of nursing a baby and being able to physically feel that child at my breast, even though I had never nursed before.  I explained that I was never able to figure out how breastfeeding became the purest example of mothering to me even before ever doing it, but that it was that moment I knew I was ready to be a mother.  We spoke about the effect she has had on so many women, which she graciously attributed, not to herself, but to all the mothers after her.  And finally we spoke of my dreams and goals of being somewhat like her… helping mothers but also working to make changes in laws and science.  She looked at me and said “You will”.  Two words.  “You will”.

Never have two words, aside from “I do”, meant so much to me.  This woman is so much of what I want to be in life.  She has sacrificed her time to helping this cause that I feel is and will change the world.  She is warm, gracious, and loving.  She is approachable and thoughtful.  And here she is encouraging me with two little words.  I will likely never forget that moment, that look on her face, or the sound of her voice.  “You will”.

Crystal Gold hugging Marian Thompson at Leader Recognition Ceremony Nov 7, 2009

Crystal Gold hugging Marian Thompson at Leader Recognition Ceremony Nov 7, 2009

I officially became a La Leche League Leader today.  I joined the ranks of thousands of women who have worked tirelessly over the last 50+ years to empower women to trust themselves and do what they were created to do.  I took another step on my journey of discovery and change.  And I realized even more that this is what I am meant to do.

I want to share a quote that Marian shared today.  I felt as if she was speaking directly to me and my worries and fears about these changes…

“When you don’t follow your nature there is a hole in the universe where you were supposed to be” – Dane Rudhyar

“You will.”

 

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  1. threegirlpileup
    November 8, 2009 at 8:32 AM

    Congratulations! And what a wonderful story.

    Did you know that one of the pathways for IBCLCs is designed for LLL leaders? Your LLL experience can count towards your clinical hours for certification.

    Best of luck to you!

    • November 8, 2009 at 11:47 PM

      Thank you!! I was just reviewing that information about the LLL route of the IBCLC. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. November 9, 2009 at 1:33 AM

    What a neat story! Congrats! I would love to be able to do more to support those around me and to get involved with LLL, but we don’t have a local chapter and I don’t have a car to travel the 45 minute drive to the closest town that has them. Ideally, I would love to see what I could do to help start some meetings here. I don’t know if I could ever go as far as becoming a lactation consultant, but I think at least I could see about starting an LLL group here.

    Reading this has inspired me to go do some research and see what needs to be done to get the ball rolling! How exciting!

    • November 9, 2009 at 9:19 PM

      Thank you so much! I do hope you will move forward with bringing support to your area! It is so important, and if you had to drive 45 minutes then many other women likely do too! Wishing you the best!!

      Crystal

  3. November 9, 2009 at 4:15 PM

    Congratulations! I became a LLL Leader in July 2008. And I have to say, Marian is right. You will make a difference! It is amazing how just being there for others can change the world. 🙂

    • November 9, 2009 at 9:21 PM

      I had no idea you were an LLL Leader! Congrats! It is so wonderful. And you are right, sometimes the biggest difference we make is by being available to the women who need us. The knowledge and training is obviously important, but, for the women we meet, it is knowing they have someone to turn to that is the biggest asset. Thanks for checking out the new blog!!

      Crystal

  4. November 12, 2009 at 11:24 AM

    Wow, Crystal! Your story is, in every sense of the word, beautiful! You are such an extraordinary person, and I am so proud to be able to call you my friend. We need to get together again soon! I miss you!!!

    • November 12, 2009 at 11:30 AM

      Thank you so much Tara!!! I miss you too! I am so excited in my life right now. I just feel a fire burning!

  5. Becky
    November 13, 2009 at 4:01 PM

    Crystal…You are such an inspiration! I so appreciate all you are doing for so many women to educate, promote, and support breastfeeding. I love this quote from your blog: “I still am a working mother who had to be away from my son, but I recognized the importance of respecting his need to be with me and made it work well for him.” Being a working momma isn’t easy with a nursing baby, but is is very possible with good support. I am so glad you will be able to be a voice of experience and encouragement to working/nursing mommas too! Congratulations!!!

    • November 19, 2009 at 11:41 PM

      Becky- thank you for your kind words and support!! I am thrilled with this path in my life, and interactions with women like you make me even more confident in my choice. Thank you!

  6. November 24, 2009 at 11:53 PM

    I received word today that this post made it to Marian Thompson. I was told she read it as she was headed to an LLL Conference in Eastern Pennsylvania and her response was that it was just the inspiration she needed to carry with her into the conference. WOW! LOVE IT!!!

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