When you ask your friend to write a testimonial for you...
I asked my very close friend Ali (pictured in the photo above, walking through a park while breastfeeding her toddler back in 2013), to write up a testimonial for me for this website. Its tricky when you ask someone close to you for a testimonial, but I knew I had really helped Ali through her incredible breastfeeding journey, and knew she would want to write about it. So beyond our serious closeness through college and way beyond that, I knew she would be raw and real and explain maybe even better than I can, why moms in need of help and support after birth, should want to use me. Her testimonial was so long that it went to a new page in our text message conversation and I figured there was NO way anyone would read it on the testimonial page. So I decided to place it here, for those mamas who feel like reading. (Let me also say that Ali happens to be a killer writer, so reading anything she writes is pretty magical). Here it is:
Should anyone, (aside from Jamie!) actually wish to spend an absurd amount of time on the topic of new parenthood, breastfeeding, and everything you-never-knew can and does fit in between (!), I could- very literally- go on, and on, and ON sharing my notes, my research, my thoughts, feelings, emotions and of course, all the "gory" details of my own personal journey lead to ultimate success ---the least of which would be all of the countless ways that journey was (and still is...) so profoundly influenced, educated, supported, shaped, molded, created, fostered, cultivated, nurtured, encouraged and endlessly inspired by the spiritually effervescent and infinitely talented Jamie Owens. BUT, in the interest of time and getting to the most important points, here are just a few of the traits that set Jamie apart from "the crowd" of those professing to be able to help you, and the exact reasons why you need this woman in your life :
• unprecedented skill: I was personally fortunate enough to give birth to my first born child in a very progressive western hospital in Manhattan, despite my typically "western" and very clinical approach to childbirth - out of both personal desire and necessity (due to prior unrelated health complications), I was still very much given access to the education and personal choice for multiple approaches concerning the care and feeding, etc. of my child during our stay at the hospital once she was born. Unlike many typical hospitals in the United States today, which are more likely to steer a new mother toward one standard hospital protocol and/or fail to clearly educate new families on all of the options (breast vs. bottle, etc.), this progressive hospital was quite different. I even had a full team of nurses trained to various degrees in giving lactation support to new mothers and babies accessible to me at all times of the day and night from day 1. This awesome and invaluable resource was a great support right from the get-go, and certainly worlds better than the treatment I had witnessed my sister getting (or not getting, I should say ) at the nearby state-of-the-art hospital she delivered in just a couple of years before. However, even still, breastfeeding did not come easy. Until Jamie. After nearly 48 hours of desperation, and only a few weak intermittent latches in which my new baby actually received some nourishment, despite the great staff coaching me through, being supportive, and showing me all the different strategies in the book ...I was almost ready to fold and tell the nurses to go ahead with a bit of formula, rather than fear the worst for my poor little hungry baby. Then Jamie swooped in, light as a feather, and somehow, without necessarily showing me any wildly different "by the book" approach than the lovely hospital staff hadn't already, or even necessarily outright correcting a particular "wrong" she could identify me committing thus far, it was as if by magic, me and my girl were suddenly breastfeeders. We were doing it, and doing it well. I 100% attribute this seemingly insurmountable shift to Jamie; her unique approach, expertly honed craft, and undoubtedly her matchless skill in not only craft but most importantly, her ability to effortlessly transmit her skill with ease to her willing "students". That overwhelmed, anxious, desperate and floundering new mama I once was (and would be again, mind you), and that little innocent and weak suckling new babe of mine, went on, and on and on, to flourish and grow with one another, establishing one of the most beautiful relationships I have ever known, its roots deep in the mainstay foundation of our nursing relationship. I never imagined I'd be "one of those" "hippie dippy moms" , as "they" say - nursing my baby well past infancy. I had just hoped to make it 6 weeks, tops! 3 years later, when I became pregnant again, we were still going strong :)
• judgement- free zone: bottom line , there will never be a more fragile, sensitive , vulnerable, powerful or more important time in your young family's life than those tender postpartum days/ weeks/months when you are all doing your very best to figure each other and this new world out. Today's over-googled and overwhelmed Information age can often only end up feeling like your worst enemy - and fear too frequently grabs control of our vulnerable states making us feel out of control. Calling a "lactation consultant" or any clinician to come and observe you and your fledgling mother/child relationship, and then help you out by making suggestions for improvement or worse, tell you everything you are doing wrong, can often sound even worse than just giving up. Even the slightest offer of help from a friend or relative can feel like daggers of personal judgment threatening to destroy all the hard work you have already put in fostering your new bond. I assure you, we've all been there. Somehow, Jamie will swoop in, do her observing, deliver her clinical assessment as well as her personal one, manage to teach you more than a thing or two, begin to transform your spirit and perhaps even your whole approach, without you even once so much as feeling embarrassed about a single thing you have done thus far or even wish to continue to do, wherever certain things have worked. She has an innate ability to connect with almost anyone on the almost-spiritual level necessary to achieve the trust and comfort of everyone she works with, putting everyone from momma to baby, and even frustrated-confused new daddy, at ease.
-Unique, individually tailored approach to success: Jamie certainly does not think inside any box. Including her own. While she certainly comes "armed" with all of the specific clinical knowledge necessary to train each client 'by the book' and is able to show anyone "the right" way to feed and nurture your baby from the get-go, she is also "armed" with an even greater gift: the innate gift of powerful compassion and bountiful humanity --- traits that are omnipresent throughout all aspects of her approach, even the most clinical. This means that unlike other professionals in the industry, she rarely approaches any two clients in exactly the same way. She understands that while the ultimate goal may be very cut and dry for most, if not all of her clients, to successfully breastfeed their baby as comfortably as possible for both mom and baby, that the path or map of the journey to this goal can and in many cases even should look different for each and every family. Jamie makes a point to honor, respect and work with each individual's original ideas, goals, and visions, rather than just immediately imposing her own rigid approach to success. She is committed to achieving just the right new-family balance that feels comfortable for your specific family whether that means giving you a rigid step-by-step plan from scratch, if you would like that kind of approach; OR learning what things do work for you so far and which don't and then weaving in her own expertise to map out a plan toward achieving the success you desire that is also tailored toward you and your specific needs. All the while, her guidance and suggestions and even her "corrections " will feel like nothing more than gentle, loving, nurturing guidance and support.
•accessibility : Jamie has one major priority in life : family. While it should be no secret or shame that her own immediate family unit certainly comes first, I assure you, that your family will very soon become a close second. To know and love Jamie is to be a part of her extended family and rest assured she will treat you as such for the duration of your professional relationship too. You will be hard pressed to find a single person this accessible, not only due to the multiple forms of instant communication available to all of us these days, but also due to Jamie's unwavering passion and commitment to "the cause" coupled with a genuine caring personal investment in each and every couplet she takes on. You can always be certain to get back exactly what you put in with Jamie, and then some.
-Ali Godfrey (CT)
So, if you made it through to the end, you see that my friend Ali really loves me, really "gets" my character and my point of view as a lactation consultant, and is a truly amazing writer. But what I hope you take away from this is that she is really on point. I will care for you like you are family. I will make you feel confident, comfortable, and cared for. We will create a plan together that works for you and your babe and your family. I will be gentle and understanding, and we will succeed.