By BMSG Editorial Team
As part of recognising the work of our volunteer counsellors, we will be featuring our counsellors regularly in our monthly newsletter. Our counsellors come from all walks of life, which adds diversity to our counsellor team. This month, we feature Atiqah Halim, a working mum of 3 boys who recently gave birth to her youngest baby.
1) Tell us more about yourself!
Hi, I’m Atiqah. Mum of 3 boys. Currently working with the Civil Service College. In my free time, I organise play dates and blog about my experiences travelling with young kids in tow.
2) How long have you been a breastfeeding counsellor?
I attended training to be a counsellor since March last year. We assumed duties as counsellors from June 2017. So it’s been about 7 months or so.
3) What inspired you to become a volunteer counsellor?
I realised that a lot of new mums out there are not getting the right information and support that they need when it comes to breastfeeding matters. In my own personal capacity, I try to provide nuggets of information to friends, family and colleagues but these were purely based on my experiences breastfeeding my 2 older boys. Since this is a topic that I was passionate about, I felt there was space to do more, and then I happened to chance upon BMSG’s advert calling for more breastfeeding counsellors and decided to go for it.
4) What were some of the most memorable moments you had in your counselling work?
My counsellor duties include managing the BMSG helpline and Facebook support group during my allocated shifts as well as conducting Breastfeeding & Going Back to Work workshops. I have conducted two workshops so far, and it was meaningful because you get to meet mummies (and daddies) who are so eager to learn and get support for their breastfeeding journeys. Having gone through 2 rounds of “going back to work post-maternity leave” myself, I felt there was plenty I could share from my own as well as other mummies’ experiences on how to make that transition. I also enjoy the phone counselling calls because of the “personal touch” and it feels great to know that you have helped to alleviate some of the anxiety that mummies have during their breastfeeding journey.
5) How do you juggle between your responsibilities at home, at work, and your counselling duties?
I must say I’m very lucky to have an excellent support network back home. My mum takes care of my babies in their first 2 years, just so I can return to the workforce. Now, both my elder kids are attending full day childcare but my dad will fetch them from school and bring them back to their place. There’s no pressure on my part to have to leave work on time and fetch them from their childcare. Also, since I gave birth to #1, I’ve made arrangements for part-time help with the household chores. That has been helpful too, as we can spend our weekends with the kids and not worry too much about all the chores that needed to be done back home. My husband has been an excellent form of support, too. On days that I have to be in office early because of work, he handles the kids in the morning by himself and I must say he’s really awesome at it. I don’t have much to worry about when I’m away at work because I know the kids are well taken care of – at home, in school and at my mum’s place.
The counsellors’ training for 2018 will begin this month! We wish our trainee counsellors all the best and we look forward to having you with BMSG. Interested in becoming a counsellor? Look out for our trainings, which are held annually, in 2019!