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Oct 2019: What’s Up with Our New Counsellors?

By Nabila Hanim, BMSG Staff

This year, 18 new counsellors graduated from the BMSG counselling training programme. Due to a high number of applicants this year, our new counsellors had to undergo an initial albeit competitive pre-assessment component as part of the selection process before going through an intensive 10 weeks of training, assignments and assessments. In early August, all our counsellor trainees graduated and were officially inducted into our counselling family earlier. Almost two months on the job, we speak to three of our new counsellors to find out just how it has been for them so far and if becoming a #bmsgcounsellor has changed their lives.

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Newsletter #34: Counsellor Spotlight – Shaheeraa Khan

by BMSG Editorial Team

In order to recognise our counsellors for the work that they do and to help mums understand the life of a counsellor, from time to time, we showcase our volunteer counsellors to get to know them better. Our counsellors work tirelessly to serve our counselling platforms and we believe you would appreciate putting a face to these hardworking bees!

This month, we speak to Shaheeraa Khan, who is also a birth doula, to find out what motivated her to become a counsellor and how the experience has been so far. We hope it will also inspire mothers out there to become our volunteer counsellors!

Shaheeraa Khan, our volunteer counsellor (in gold) with her husband and children. [Photo credits: Shaheeraa Khan]

1) Tell us more about yourself

My name is Shaheeraa and I am a mother of two, a birth worker, a nature lover and a breastfeeding advocate pursuing to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

I enjoy supporting mothers in their new journey from pregnancy right through to postpartum and breastfeeding in particular. Seeing mothers grow in confidence in raising their little ones in a gentle way bring me lots of joy!

I breastfed my son up to 2 years 4 months, attempted tandem feeding for a short while and am still currently breastfeeding my daughter. I wish I had known more about gentle weaning and tandem feeding before I became a counsellor to help me through my own struggles. I am truly passionate about breastfeeding as it is such an important act, not only between mothers and babies, but also for the society!

2) Why were you keen to become a counsellor?

I believe that support for new mothers can go a long way in helping them find success in breastfeeding. Being surrounded by new mothers, I see a lot of them giving up on breastfeeding prematurely due to the lack of support or being misinformed. I have personally felt like that, too, previously because I did not receive the kind of support needed to encourage me to tandem feed, hence resulting in me going cold turkey with my first born. It was a horrible experience that still breaks my heart when I think about it. By pursuing my passion in advocating breastfeeding, I decided to become a counsellor so that I will be equipped with both the right knowledge and learn how to provide emotional reassurance when supporting mothers.

3) Highs and lows of becoming a counsellor

Being a breastfeeding counsellor has its highs and lows. Some of the highs include, seeing mothers being empowered in getting their challenges resolved and seeing them more confident of their journey. It is a beautiful feeling when I see women feeling reassured and have confidence over their bodies.

Some of the lows, however, include trying to juggle my daily responsibilities with the demands that come with counselling. Particularly because we are mothers and also since some of us do put on other hats such as work and family, it sometimes makes me sad when I meet mothers who I counsel who become disappointed when we sometimes fall short of our duties and commitments. We are humans too, and our schedule can sometimes change at the very last minute. The BMSG roster is robust and we have a covering system, but at times things happen and I may not be able to respond to a mother in time.I do hope that mothers, who are also like us and have other responsibilities, can be merciful to us if we ever fall short of your expectations. We are trying our best and serving you tirelessly is our top priority! <3

4) What word of advice or encouragement would you give budding counsellors?

Have a clear intention and purpose of why you want to become a counsellor. If ever you feel overwhelmed with your daily commitments and a struggling mother needs your full support and assistance in breastfeeding, know that your response is making a difference in her life. Always be happy to help or support mothers. Know that you have a magical touch to mothers requiring breastfeeding help if only you allow yourself to share the benefits of breastfeeding in a positive manner.

Have you ever benefited from a BMSG counsellor? Send a message or tribute here to thank our counsellors and send them your appreciation! 🙂