Balance, intuition, persistence, patience, thoughtfulness, presence. These are my “working mama mantras” as I like to call them. I’m Abby, I am a mama to two sweet tiny humans, I am an IBCLC, and I work at Mothers’ Milk Bank in Arvada, CO.
Choosing a career in the birth world began before I myself was a mama. What an amazing perspective this gave me, to see women transform – in the greatest sense – to bare witness to all of the complexities, excitement, nervousness, and all of the emotions that surround this unique time in a new family’s life.
Looking back, there were two pivotal moments that helped me find this work. One was a book club I was in while I was in college. Most of the women in the club were interested in birth, and this was where I first learned what a doula was. The second moment came years later when I had already made a career change out of social work, and started to cultivate the seed that had been planted years prior. I entered a giveaway on Facebook, which I normally never do. I am not one who normally wins things like this, but sure enough, I won! A book, a DVD, and an amazing T-shirt from Improving Birth, and wow, looking back on that I think that was the sign I needed from the universe that I was headed in the right direction.
Starting school with a two month old gave me the first taste of what it meant to be a mama with a passion, learning to strike the balance of being there for my son, my husband, and also, myself. I look back on this time, and feel a deep sense of pride for what I accomplished, and how far I have come. I chose the particular school I went to, because of their “infant at school” policy: it felt right to have my baby with me, while I was starting my career – a career grounded in wanting to help new parents become the most confident parents they can be. I was able to have my baby boy snuggled up in a Moby wrap while I was building my village, building my skill set as a birth and breastfeeding professional, and building the foundation for what I wanted for myself as a working mama.
In the fall of 2016, I got a job that felt like a dream job. So much of a dream job, that when I found out I was pregnant, I immediately started to think about how I could tend to both my baby and my work. I reflected back on my experience at Birthingway College of Midwifery, and bringing my first son, Cohen to class with me. I did research on other baby-friendly work places. I met with my employer, and an “infant at work policy” was born! For the second time, with my new baby snuggled up close in the Moby wrap, I went back to work – this time at Mothers’ Milk Bank.
When you are feeding your babe in those late hours of the night, know you are not alone, think of all of the women, all across the world who are also up at that same moment feeding their babies, experiencing the highs, and the lows of motherhood, and just think…we are all connected.
Breastfeeding is a sense of connection in its essence. It’s an act of connectedness with your baby, locking eyes while providing them nourishment. Breastfeeding is a shared experience, with women all across the world, and has been for thousands and thousands of years. When you are at work, pumping, know you are not alone. Hundreds of thousands of women are right there with you, working hard to provide milk for their baby, and donors are pumping for babies all across the United States.
I know I am fortunate to have this unique experience integrating my passions for my work and my family, but I am also inspired to help other mamas navigate the back-to-work experience, so that they can feel that they made an informed decision and had the ability to advocate for themselves and create a positive transition back to work. In a few weeks, Mckenzie will start at daycare, and I will soon be joining the ‘up-all night-because-my-baby-is nursing-at-all-hours’ working mama’s club! I know it’s all worth it when I’m snuggling my little guys at bedtime, and feel an incredible sense of knowing I’m exactly where I need to be.
Abby Malman Case is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) living in Denver with her husband, two sweet, smiley boys, and two dogs. Abby is excited to be able to bring this vision of “building the village” to life at Mothers’ Milk Bank Baby Café, where they are offering free breastfeeding support every Friday from 11am-1pm in a cozy setting. To learn more, visit https://rmchildren.org/baby-cafe/.