Making choices is seldom easy. I hear this all the time. Women tell me about the choices they’ve made—or choices they’ve allowed to be made for them. They tell me how they felt hesitant to make any choice, or compelled to make the “easier” or more “reasonable” choice than the one they really wanted, the one that would lead them to a sense of fulfillment. Whether it is how to feed their babies or what to do with their career, many have one thing in common: They settle for the reasonable choice rather than the right one, the one that would lead to a life-changing experience.
I hear it a lot: “I want to get my IBCLC credential …” “I want to get my lactation credits …” “I want to get a job where I can help moms with breastfeeding …” “I want to own my own business …”
Too often, this is followed by “…but I can’t because …”
Although these women want to help mothers overcome challenges and achieve breastfeeding success, they allow themselves to be caught up in professional challenges that stymie their own success. They acknowledge that they are making a choice that feels difficult or even unreasonable under the circumstances. But their decision-making process lacks something that the women who go after what they want have.
I remember a woman who came up to me at the end of my Comprehensive Lactation Course in Dallas. She told me about her low-paying job, parenting responsibilities, unsupportive boss, distance from the course—a host of barriers that could have been a deterrent to pursuing the credential she really wanted. She said it had taken her seven years to organize the time and money it took to attend the course, and that she had done so only after a lot of “shopping” for the course she thought would best help her pass the exam, get a better-paying job, and help other mothers to breastfeed.
The course had just finished, I was done teaching for the week, and here I was learning something from the woman I’d just been teaching! As I hoped that the course would help her reach her goals, I felt impressed that although it took her so long she had stayed the course. Women who are empowered to make the choices they most desire—not necessarily the easy or reasonable ones but the ones that are right for them—have a connection with themselves and with other people.
The conversation called to mind this quote, from Robert Fritz’s The Path of Least Resistance: “If you limit your choice only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise.”
The journey to IBCLC is often challenging, but commitment to what feels right for you can make all the difference.