In my last blog post, I promised we would talk more about how the pre-application dialogue might proceed with a mother you do not know well.
Perhaps a mother has not been coming to Group meetings from the beginning of her mothering journey. Perhaps she has recently moved to your area and attended meetings in a different area. Perhaps she is interested in becoming a Leader as a stepping-stone to becoming an IBCLC. Or perhaps she lives far from your Group or is consistently unavailable during your meeting time and can only attend meetings once in a while. In this lastcase scenario, you should consult with the Coordinator of Leader Accreditation (CLA). In general, interested mothers are required to have attended a full series of meetings (one on each topic) before applying for leadership. By coming to meetings, a mother learns what LLL is all about and gets to see how Leaders respond in meetings. You might even ask her to pay special attention to how the Leaders respond differently from the mothers in the Group and discuss her observations with you. Some mothers may not want to give up the freedom to speak just as a mother in meetings and, therefore, decide not to pursue leadership.
Whatever the case, this mother has asked you to serve as her supporting Leader. The pre-application dialogue feels different with a mother you do not know well. Because you have not heard this mother every month since her baby was small speaking about her mothering experience, you do not have a full impression of how her mothering experience fits in with LLL philosophy. The pre-application dialogue will naturally take longer with a mother you do not know well. Leaders should take their time and not feel rushed.
When a mother whom you do not know well expresses an interest in becoming a Leader, you will want to encourage her to read about the prerequisites for leadership and review the responsibilities of being a Leader. Then you and she can meet to discuss. Does the mother own the most recent edition of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding? Before she becomes an official Applicant, she is required to own a copy and be familiar with the contents. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is the best way for her to learn what LLL is all about, especially if she hasn’t been attending meetings regularly.
Before you can feel comfortable writing a recommendation for this mother, you will have to get to know her a lot better. You can do this in a group setting with co-Leaders or you can do it one on one. In person meetings are best but meeting over the phone or via Skype or FaceTime is possible as well. Be sure to take notes to help you when it is time to fill out the recommendation. You will need to talk a little more about the responsibilities of leadership, and you will need to talk about her birth and breastfeeding experience.
During the pre-application dialogue, you will discuss each of the ten concepts with her, asking her questions about how each concept fits into her life. If one or two concepts seem to need more reflection on her part, you can ask her to re-read a section of The Womanly Art or an appropriate article from an LLL publication and then discuss her understanding of the concept with you further. Sometimes, with some of the trickier concepts like the loving guidance concept or the one on separation, you may even ask the mother to write out a paragraph or two. In addition to helping you to better understand her, this reflection and journaling can help the mother clarify her own thinking about whether or not she is interested in representing LLL philosophy. If she does go on to become an Applicant, the interested mother can use these paragraphs as starters for her personal history.
Throughout the process, keep your co-Leader(s) informed about how your talks are progressing. When you are confident that the mother fulfills the prerequisites and can be a good representative of LLL, it is time to fill out the paperwork. Contact Christine Thompson, CLA, at <firstname.lastname@example.org> if you have questions.
In my next blog post, we will discuss what to do when you want to recommend a mother for leadership but your co-Leader isn’t so sure.
I hope we can continue this conversation on the FL/CI Leaders Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/248828131853744/
‘Til next time,
Sponsoring Leader Mentor