Empowerment does not have one definition. A person’s empowerment depends on their needs. This is especially true in the family setting for each individual person or even for the entire family. Let’s zero in on the mum and what a mum may need to help her fulfil her responsibility to her family while maintaining her balance and happiness. Buki tells of her personal story, read on and see how this very busy working mum maintains her balance and happiness despite the many demands on her.
“Empowerment can be taken in different ways, but for me as a mother when you have a baby empowerment is finding yourself again, being yourself and having time for yourself. We forget that as mothers, we tend to do a lot of different things and forget about ourselves. So, I think empowerment is being able to be me and having that time for me.“
Buki’s expression of what empowers her. She also puts it very beautifully when she adds: “Tiny little things empower me and that makes me feel good and in turn, I feel happy, I feel good; baby is happy, everyone is happy so that’s part of my empowerment.”
Having children puts us in a whirl of activities that have segments for each. The biggest challenge with this is that often times the person in charge of the activities gets left behind. There is no room for that person on the roster. That person may be: You!
Breastfeeding is a beautiful and joyous thing that benefits mum and baby. A nursing mum calmly feeding her baby presents a very soothing picture. It takes us back to a time of simplicity of something so natural and basic; no complication to life. This serene time is often sadly disrupted by reality. There may be work, cooking, other children and countless other important tasks that make it impractical to not be able to feed in other ways.
Buki explains her situation: “Obviously with the other kids, that was difficult before the Minbie. I have got a whole time setup now, whereas with breastfeeding it’s on demand so there is no time. I don’t know what time he is going to feed because he may want it one minute he may sit with me 45 minutes. He is happy with the flow of the milk. I have got him on the 6 months plus teat so he has taken that at the moment and its perfect. I know how much he is taking with the bottle.” A new baby takes more of mum’s time naturally, but she has to factor in the other kids as they don’t go on pause until the baby grows older. Thus, if motherhood is like a whirlwind of activities and responsibilities where you feel as if there is just no time to just stop and think; breathe. Then take that time to think about what small pleasure you can have that will not require much of you. It could be a favourite drink, consumed slowly at your enjoyment. It could be getting your hair done: a wash, a cut or a colour something you love.
Having the option to supplement your baby’s feed with a bottle here and there provides greater flexibility like Buki did with her son. It opened the way for the other children in the family to not be left out: “I get a couple of hours here and there. I can get things done. I can make dinner. I can do baking again with my daughter so little things like that it makes a difference because he is not so clingy. He can play and if it’s one of his older brothers and sisters he sits with them. It's changed a lot of stuff for me. Before I went back to work because of everything it just did not seem like that was going to happen. But with the Minbie it was such a smooth and fluid process.” A great result for Buki and her family.
To cap this off let Buki close with her learnings: “The Minbie empowers you with more flexibility and more freedom. And also what’s so important to understand with the Minbie which obviously until I used it I didn’t understand is having the freedom to choose. Because the process was so smooth I felt less guilty as a parent. That’s what part of the freedom is; feeling less guilty. That’s made me much happier as well because it wasn’t such a horrible process to take him from the breast to the bottle.”
What is your story? Are you having a hard time balancing breastfeeding? What makes you happy? What empowers you? It may seem impossible to find time for you. Don’t trivialise ‘me time’ it is one of the most important things someone can do for themselves. It helps to maintain the balance, contentment and inner joy.