Today I’d like to introduce you to Sarah Ward, IBCLC, owner of Tallahassee Lactation Care, and one of the most thoughtful and uplifting people I’ve ever met. The number of people who would like to bottle Sarah’s warmth and kindness numbers in the thousands, I am certain.I sat down with Sarah to learn more about how she became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and what inspires her life’s work.
Sarah and I will be together at the Capital Area Breastfeeding Coalition‘s booth at this Saturday’s Good to Be Green Festival.
What made you interested in becoming an IBCLC?
I became interested in becoming an IBCLC after I met one for the first time. My first son was days old and breastfeeding was a disaster. Every time he came near me, he became hysterical. I was sure it would never work out, and that I would have to pump forever. She never doubted me, though. Ever. We had many obstacles to overcome, but at two months he latched onto me without any devices, prep, or finger crossing. And it was magical! Whatever a woman’s breastfeeding goals may be, I want to help her get there. Because that reaching the top of the mountain part, that’s juicy!
What is your favorite part about being an IBCLC?
Holding tiny new babies is definitely a job perk for me! However my favorite part is empowering mom to be her best self. No one really talks at baby showers about the monumental role change from woman to mother. I found it to be overwhelming, powerful, intense, and mostly just instantaneous. All of a sudden you are responsible for another’s life, and perhaps even his only source of sustenance. Encouraging mom to trust her own instincts and to listen for that wise voice inside, believing in a mom until she believes in herself. THAT is my favorite part of being an IBCLC.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Temple Terrace, FL, which is a tiny town outside of Tampa. I lived in the same house almost my whole life with my mom, dad, and sister. We could walk a block down to the Hillsborough River. It wasn’t terribly exciting, but it also wasn’t tragic. I hope I can give my kids the same slow and steady upbringing.
What is your favorite part about Tallahassee?
My favorite part about Tallahassee is the people. There seems to be a greater number of open-minded and tolerant people than anywhere else I have lived. I love that it’s small enough that I will probably run into a friend or two when out and about, but it’s also big enough that there’s always something to do.
What is something about you that we would be surprised to hear?
I think most people would be surprised to know that I can’t use a manual can opener, and honestly I’m terrible with the electric ones too. I also, can’t use a lighter to save my life. You know the the small one that people use to light cigarettes? I just can’t get it to work. And to round out my list of shortcomings, you might as well know that I am terrified of being burned by the oven. If anyone else is home, I always ask them to take out whatever is finished in the oven. I’ve never been burned, but just can’t shake this fear.
Besides the oven, do you have a most hated household chore?
My most hated household chore is cleaning out the car. The level of disorder in my car, usually mirrors the level of chaos in my life. I try to get through the whole thing every week, because I really do feel better when it’s done. That said, I ask every holiday for someone else to do it for me!
I think you deserve many, many trophies, but have you ever won one?
I have won a trophy, thanks for asking! My mom was one of 7 kids, two boys and 5 girls. The girls all took married names that began with either S or W, while the boys kept the family name which begins with a W. All of their children are my cousins. Our generations has also taken on the marrying of Ss and Ws. So each year at the family reunion, the Ss compete against the Ws in games like Scrabble, mini golf, sand castle building, etc. When we were younger, the patriarch of the family would hand out his old golfing trophies that had new name plates on them like “Best in Volleyball,” or whatever the game was. It was a traveling trophy so the next year if the Ss lost, they would have to pass it on to the Ws. We haven’t given out trophies in years, but it’s still my favorite week every year!