Sunday, April 8, 2012

Having Our Nipple Confusion

In our work we see so often a baby having nipple confusion.  It happens so much we have had conversations for hours boasting about our own way of tackling the evils of NC.  We nod our heads in agreement and nod it acknowledging a new method that worked for one of us.  When we walk into a hospital room or home as a mother is holding her newborn who's having difficulty latching and there are synthetic nipples all around her we put on our mighty LC suit and take on our plan of action, sometimes sweating to get a baby to understand their mommy's nipple is what they really need not the rubbery, tough plastic.  There are so many successes and, we must admit, there are some failures.  In the end, we look at all of them as successes because we always, always learn from that particular experience.

Vanessa and I for the past twenty months have worked our butts off and much of the time for FREE.  We have such a passion for our calling that not receiving money is a minor technicality for us.  We never turn down a phone call and never tell a mother, when she asks us to come to her home, no.  We ask for whatever she can give; $100, $40, $25 and one time I was even handed a $10 bill and walked out totally grateful for it thinking I could put a little over two gallons of gas in my car.  I was excited not only for adding gasoline to my car but for meeting a Mom who told me she was so determined to exclusively breastfeed even while going to school and working full-time as a young Mom.

Then, there's reality.

Vanessa and I live in a capitalist society that fuels itself with that green machine, money.  We need to update our website.  We need to go from house to house, meeting to meeting.  We need to pay our mobile phone bills.  We need to feed and clothe our families.  We need to feed and clothe ourselves.  We need to stop draining our savings.  We are not rich and definitely not wealthy.  So, we have without a doubt accepted the reality of living in a capitalist, money-driven society.  Now, for the dirty business.

We have given presentation after presentation to hospitals, clinics, corporations, venture capitalists, rich family and friends, organizations, politicians and foundations.  We have applied for grants and have been denied.  I know, twenty months is not a long time and there have been plenty of businesses that have struggled for years before they even made their first dollar.  We are grateful for the money we have earned.  Thank you!  We just don't know where to turn next to keep our business thriving and growing.  It pains me to put our struggle on blast like this because I know there are people who are basking in the glory of our struggle and have added to it.  Let's be real.  Times are changing, vastly, and we can't hold on to what a few women think about us which causes us to keep our mouths closed.  There are new methods of achieving success.  We open ourselves to those alternative avenues of opportunity.

Our lack of funds have caused us to suspend airing our weekly radio show, not respond to some business phone calls and requests, not keep promises, added family stresses and deny our children some necessities.  Through it all we never deny a Mother service.  Never.  We always return a phone call and make a late night home visit, making sure our husbands are taken care of and our children are safe.

We want to work on this craft all the time while being Mothers, wives, daughters, a sister, cousins and friends.  We need to work with Moms and babies and hospitals and clinics and corporations and politicians and investors.  There is a HUGE need.  The more we work the more we realize there are so many issues that must be addressed and solved immediately.  So, we go to bed at night with a list of what to do the next day and wake up the next morning with a goal of scratching off all the items on our To-Do list.  We do...sometimes.  Why sometimes?  Well, 1) we are human, 2) there are some things you can't accomplish in a day and 3) our money is running out, fast.

So, we have a case of nipple confusion.

We want our business to latch on to projects and other businesses but because of the intervention of the synthetic need of money to thrive in this society we can't latch on to our business goals and basics.  We had a wonderful phone conversation with a Sistah in lactation last week and she told us we couldn't quit.  She became our mighty LC, sweating while helping us to latch on to our business plans and acknowledge our current successes.  She told us we couldn't stop working in lactation and couldn't end our business.  Vanessa agreed and assured her we were never going to stop.  I cried.  I cried because, frankly, it hurts to see the presence of a few screwing up the health of so many women and children.  At this point, it is clear to us it is purposeful.  There is a system setting women and children up to fail, no doubt.  Vanessa and I work ALL THE TIME.  We do it all for not just Black women but ALL women.  So, when you see people receiving checks and they do the barely the bare minimum  for their personal gain and ego it hurts.  They know what's going on with our women and children. They know the "set up to fail" methods that are being used on Moms and they choose to keep doing nothing, not even the bare minimum much of the time..

What is next for The Monolatry Group and The Abiyamo Omo Society?  In the last three weeks, we have developed a serious plan of action and started on it.  We have brought on Women who are working for us for no pay.  They are dedicating themselves to this plan of action.  These Moms have been working on finding us funding, resources and meet with us often to talk about our next steps.  We need more though.  I know this is asking for a lot but Vanessa and I have given so much of ourselves we need to stand up for ourselves by asking for help...lots of help.

Who do you know who can invest in our company and non-profit?  Do you have time to help us?  What we are about to do will be on a national level.  Yes, it's a lot for two Black Women on the South Side of Chicago but it can be done with your help and the help of others.  Whatever you can offer, invest and share will be very much appreciated.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

You can call us at 847-502-0053 and e-mail us at  Peace & Blessings!


  1. Do not give up. I know the feeling its a struggle to stay afloat with all these organizations claiming to help mothers. The mothers you educate, support thank you for all that you have done that others claim to do for them.