- Susan Wirtjes, a Godmother to thousands
One woman I know is proof that challenges can act as a catalyst for future success.
Here is a link to the video of a story I did on the KWWL News. Just click on the black camera icon.
40 years ago, Reginstered Nurse Susan Wirtjes gave birth to her first child and was planning on breastfeeding. She said she soon found nursing was not as easy as she thought it would be.
“Because it is natural and free, I assumed it would be easy, and it’s not,” she said.
In fact, she says she spent at least the first six weeks in excruciating pain. “It’s all worth it for the health of my child,” she told herself, but when she arrived at the doctor’s office and found out that her child hadn’t gained any weight to speak of, she was crestfallen and angry.
“Only because I was stubborn and bound and determined I wasn’t going to quit, did I make it through with no support,” she said. ” I just decided it should never be that hard for anybody else if I can have anything to do with it.”
With only the help of the book The Motherly Art of Breastfeeding to guide her, Susan bravely set out to understand breastfeeding better.
Even though the first experience didn’t go as planned, she said she had a wonderful experience with her younger two children.
She began the first La Leche League in the Waterloo area back in the ’70s. She claims she made a lot of people mad because she shook up the status quo.
She eventually became a lactation consultant at Covenant Medical Center.
Now, nearly four decades later she has helped literally thousands of women and babies and families. She is retiring after 15 years of official duty at Covenant Medical Center.
She has a unique communication style that cuts through any boundaires, whether age, gender or race.
On a personal level, she was an angel in my life recently. My mother had just passed away, I just gave birth to my first child, and I was clueless, so tired I could feel it in my bones, and feeling very concerned about myself as a mother.
I still remember some of her first words, “You’re going to do great,” she said. “Your body is perfectly suited for breastfeeding.”
My guess is she tells every mom this, but it is SO appreciated to hear encouragement when you are feeling so vulnerable.
She made a house call when I truly needed, simply because she is generous.
“Mom is the queen and you are the princess,” she told my daughter.
Breastfeeding was not easy for me either, in fact, I ended up having to supplement almost from the beginning, because my supply just didn’t cut it. I’m sure the stress in my life didn’t help that situation.
But I breastfed longer and with more peace than I would have, had Susan not been in my life.
Tara Thomas as well credits Susan with helping her navigate the sometimes rough waters of nursing.
Even though Susan is retiring after 15 years of official duty at the hospital, she says she can’t stay away from helping mothers and babies.
She will soon launch a new venture called “Nana’s Love,” which mixes breastfeeding support and care for mother and baby.
Still blessing the lives of others, because of her dedication and love.
What has been your experience with breastfeeding? Did you work with Susan Wirtjes or have a similar angel in your life?
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This post was written by qni_it on July 14, 2010