Being a new mom is tricky at the best of times. However, with COVID-19, many mothers are left feeling alone as they traverse the exciting — but daunting — first few months of motherhood. With regular support groups generally unavailable at the moment, moms are not getting the advice and friendship they desperately need.
Thankfully, help is at hand!
Two experienced mothers, Lexy Backstrom and Christelle Hagen, have set up a virtual Catholic Nursing Mother’s monthly support group, with the aim of helping moms through the challenges and joys of breastfeeding. Discussions will cover birth choices and how they affect breastfeeding, as well as offering moms the opportunity for fellowship and to ask those all-important questions.
Hagen, a mom of seven, has extensive training in the maternal-child health field. While currently a certified birth doula and perinatal loss doula, she has also trained in breastfeeding counseling. She will be using her vital skills acquired over the years with Backstrom, a mom of three who is a certified breastfeeding advocate, enabling her to volunteer her time as a mom-to-mom counselor.
What is particularly inviting about this support group is that it doesn’t just offer practical advice. The moms involved are putting their hearts and souls into helping others, while also serving God. “I have found that the experience of breastfeeding is closely related to the concepts of the theology of the body, in that God wrote a ‘language’ into our bodies that guides us,” Backstrom shared with Aleteia.
Hagen’s experiences as a mom with a son born with serious birth trauma, and delivering a daughter 10 weeks early, have helped her appreciate that breastfeeding isn’t always easy. Yet she wants to bring together her experiences and qualifications with her Catholic faith for a beautiful reason:
“As committed Catholic parents striving to live our faith, and be open to life, in a culture that perhaps cannot understand our convictions, we need to support each other in this great and sometimes very difficult vocation of motherhood, including, when possible, breastfeeding. I believe that being a loving sister in Christ means I need to help my sister in this manner of living out her vocation as a mother, using the skills and knowledge that God has given me,” Hagen told Aleteia.
Backstrom also wants to help moms see how breastfeeding is God’s way of guiding them through early motherhood and beyond:
“Even when breastfeeding is ‘easy,’ it’s still a huge commitment, and fully engaging in that can allow God to form us in ways we never knew existed. Throughout the phases of my children’s development, I recall occasions of sleepless nights when nursing my child for comfort or to get back to sleep was such a challenge but a clear opportunity for me to give myself over to God’s plan for my life in that moment.”
The two moms will be collaborating with Gina Peterson, a mom of five who, as an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) since 2007, has a wealth of experience to offer. And as the executive director of the Catholic Nursing Mothers League since 2009, she’ll be able to offer spiritual support while helping to explain the benefits of ecological breastfeeding.
The online meetings will start March 1 with a morning and evening session offered once a month. If you’d like to join this caring group of professionally trained, supportive, and experienced breastfeeding mothers, go to their website here and sign up for their free sessions.
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