Friday, December 16, 2011

State of the Union: A 2011 Recap


This is the first year of Rebecca and me being in business for ourselves.  It has been an eye opening experience.  We have gone through so many different changes in the last 12 months which have taught me a lot about myself, business, and the lactation world.  This is my reflection.

When I get home my kids cling to me.  Sometimes I haven't been gone long but if I'm not home when they get home from school, to them, I’ve been gone all day.  I miss my kids too!  I miss them so much that I'm changing my schedule so I can be at home more often.  I think it's important for mothers to build a bond with their children early so they can have great relationships with their kids as they get older.  That's why I love breastfeeding because Moms are doing many things at one time, building a great lifelong bond, nourishing baby, building the immune system, protecting themselves from illnesses and that's only naming a few.

I thought I could balance career and home with no problem.  Boy, was I wrong.  I didn't realize how much my family depended on me.  I thought that my husband, who is a musician and is at home writing, would just slide right in to my role.  I was wrong again.  Men are completely different than women and I am learning how to work with my husband so we can both further our careers.  He is very supportive in my endeavors and sometimes he's the one approaching pregnant women in stores about breastfeeding.  He sees how important my work is and he is on the frontline right there with me.  He has really helped me be a better wife, mother, and person.  I really need to give him more sex... LOL!  I'm working on it, but sometimes after a long day of work, children, housework, and more work I don't have the energy to lift a finger, let alone have sex.  I am learning how to let go of some things so I have energy to do other things that are just as important or even more important.

Sometimes, you gotta do what cha gotta do!

When Rebecca and I started The Monolatry Group, we were so excited and we were ready to let everyone know, we are here!  Anything dealing with breastfeeding we were there.  We were showing our face at meetings all over the city and suburbs.  We were making our presence known on social media sites.  Then, we wrote a grant and we kind of knew we were not going to get it.  What we were proposing was new, innovative strategies and we were new on the lactation scene.  In 2011, the breastfeeding world changed. The media was talking about breastfeeding all the time and there was more money accessible for non-profits to promote.  Rebecca and I were even more excited to work with other established non-profits to work as a community to help women breastfeed.  That's what we thought but we were naive in thinking that everyone in the breastfeeding community is helping Moms to breastfeed, as well as to empower women.

This was the eye opening part of my year.  As I reflect on this subject, I realize how much I was hurt by women that I thought were advocates for women and breastfeeding.  I thought they were my friends and women I can trust.  I thought that they would be bluntly honest with me and tell me the truth.  But instead, I got shut doors, phone calls unanswered, and just a firm hand in my face saying, “No, you can't come in here.  You are too loud, you ask too many questions, and you are way too dynamic to be on our team.”  Well, I was upset for a little while but now I have my wits about me and I have put this in the past.  2012 is our year!  I'm claiming it.

With all of the adversity I have been though personally and professionally this year, I am glad that I have a great business partner, Rebecca.  She is honest, sometimes brutally, she has my back (like I have hers) and she is a great friend.  I have to thank the universe for placing her in my life.  We have learned a lot this year and we know now who are friends are and who we need to keep our eye on.  We've grown in the last year and in our growth we have been successful.

We have our mommy group, The Abiyamo Omo Society, which meets at 2 locations in Chicago hospitals, UIC Hospital and Jackson Park Hospital.  We are helping to start the volunteer Breastfeeding Peer Counselor program at UIC Hospital.  We are instructing our first PC Class in February 2012 and because of the great response we got we are planning 2 more classes in 2012 (check our website for details).  We started renting and selling Hygeia breast pumps that we call Pump Depot and delivery for free to Chicago's Southside and South Suburbs.  January 4, 2012 we’re starting our weekly talk show called “Milking It!” (on www.VOKLE.com) and you can catch us on Facebook ("Like" The Monolatry Group & TheAbiyamo Omo Society pages) as well as Twitter @abiyamoomo.

We have given a number of presentations at area hospitals and working on new connections everyday. With all that, we are working on 2 grants to help us sustain all the unpaid work we do.  We understand what it takes to be a successful and willing to stay up late and work when we have been up for hours.  We've had a great year and are very thankful to everyone who has accepted us (and not).  Last but not least, we wanted you to know we are here to stay!

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