We are so pleased to launch our new series of blog posts by Rachel Livingstone, chronicling what real life looks like for a breastfeeding military spouse! Past Program Director for Mom2Mom KMC, Rachel is sharing her experience going through birth, breastfeeding, babies, and toddlers all while juggling deployments, PCS's, and all the other things the military throws at her. In other words, she's one of us! Keep reading to learn more, and watch for more blog posts by Rachel. Do you have a story to share? Contact us to become a blog contributor!
Finding my village wasn’t necessarily hard but it took some time. Time well spent.
Before I became a mother I didn’t understand the need for mom friends...I was content to go to work and hang out with friends in the evening for a bit. I didn’t depend on my friends for any real support though - I was never one to lean on others. Having someone help me by watching my kiddo so I can get groceries? A nap? A shower? I didn’t think that was something I would want or even need. Boy was I wrong!
photo courtesy Becca Allen Photography
My village began to form in the Summer of 2016 when I attended my first Mom2Mom KMC Breastfeeding Cafe. I wasn’t new to Ramstein Air Base, but I was new to making mom friends and new to Mom2Mom. I was nervous I wouldn’t click with anyone, that I’d be sitting in a corner alone and just feel awkward. I’d left many “mom” events before with no new friends so I figured this wouldn't be any different. But I needed out of the house so I went anyways. “Mom dating” is no joke! It’s very hard.
When I left my first Cafe, I didn’t have a new phone number added to my phone or a pending Facebook friend request. But I left feeling so happy. The ladies who hosted the Cafe greeted me, they seemed so excited to meet my daughter and I, they offered me coffee and a snack and we happily chatted the whole time I was there. I got answers to questions I didn’t even know I had from one of the CLCs. It was fantastic...I felt right at home. When I left, I could hardly wait for the coming Wednesday so I could go back.
The more I went to Cafe, the happier I was because I was talking to adults who were going through the same life experiences I was. I didn't feel so alone trying to navigate new motherhood. These women, who I later learned were previous Education and Membership Directors for Mom2Mom KMC, were fantastic and I wanted to be apart of that. I wanted to give back and let other mommas know how great this village was.
I jumped right in! Browsing Facebook one late night while nursing I ran across a Mom2Mom post asking for volunteers to join the Mom2Mom KMC Board of Directors and Leadership. Without hesitation, I knew I wanted to do this -- it came with a scholarship opportunity to attend an upcoming Certified Lactation Counselor course. I was in! I became the Mom2Mom KMC Program Director in October 2016 and attended the Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) course. I am so proud of being the Program Director and a CLC because this provided me the opportunity to reach out and help others mommas. I absolutely love chatting with a new mother or mommy-to-be, helping them through questions or just being an ear to listen. But I am most proud of the wonderful ladies I have been surrounded by during my time with Mom2Mom KMC. They soon became my village. My closest mom friends.
My village has kept me grounded and happy. I have been very lucky to find my village within the Board of Directors team. We started out just “working” together to continue our goal of furthering the mission of Mom2Mom and helping other mommas. But our relationships have grown into true and lasting friendships.
I can message these ladies in the middle of the night frustrated, sad, or happy and they’ll respond - and they do the same. We are there for each other to help watch kiddos for appointments or when we just NEED a break. Random lunches, play dates or get togethers are definitely “a thing” and much needed. Through the tears, frustrations, struggles, laughter and everything in between we are there for each other.
It took some time but finding my village has been worth every single minute. My village has helped me be a better person, mom, and friend. I like to think we guide each other and support each other through this crazy yet so important phase of our lives. We're nurturing and caring for our little humans, but we can't do it alone -- we need each other.
My village? You know who you are...you all are absolutely amazing and I’m so grateful for our friendship.
My village and I recently coordinated and hosted our annual Open House with the theme “Breastfeeding, it takes a village!”. This is so true but what I’ve learned most is “Motherhood, it take a village!”
Do you have a village? How has your village helped you? Share some of what you and your village have done.
Rachel Ann Livingstone, CLC
Rachel is an Active Duty Air Force Wife and proud mother to 2 children. She is an Air Force Veteran having served 8 years on Active Duty in the Security Forces career field. Rachel nursed her 2 year old daughter for 17 months and 2 weeks and is currently nursing her infant son. Rachel initially became involved with Mom2Mom as a Peer Mentor in the Kaiserslautern Military Community (KMC) in the Summer of 2016. In October 2016, Rachel became the Program Director of Mom2Mom KMC and earned her Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) Credential. Rachel is an active CLC volunteer with Mom2Mom helping and supporting breastfeeding mothers and families.