By Nabila Hanim, BMSG Staff
BMSG has a very diverse demographic within our counselling family. Through the years, we have opened our doors to many people of varied backgrounds. Recently, we have also accommodated counsellors, who had to leave Singapore for reasons such as migration or work, to continue serving on our remote counselling platforms. Currently, we have three counsellors who are based overseas. One of them is Eve van der Perre. Read her story to find out where she is located now and how she feels about counselling from a different time zone.BMSG: Tell us your name and a little bit about yourself!
Eve: I’m Eve! I’m a family chiropractor and also a birth and postpartum doula. I am also a certified breastfeeding specialist under Lactation Education Resources (LER) and I have postgraduate training in gentle chiropractic adjustments to help resolve breastfeeding difficulties.
My husband and I have one little boy; he’s three and a bit now, and still breastfeeding. Right now, I’m studying for the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) exam and (slowly!) learning French. I graduated from the 2018 batch of counsellors and have been on the counselling team for almost 1.5 years now.
BMSG: When did you come to Singapore? Where are you located now & will you be returning to Singapore?
Eve: I was originally from Scotland and moved to Singapore in 2011 looking for a mentor and an adventure – I found true love, motherhood, heart-centred work and countless adventures! Now I’m in Dakar, Senegal, following my husband’s dream. Currently, we are slated to be here for three years then we’ll come back unless they ask him to extend or want to send him somewhere else – then we’ll have to talk!
BMSG: What made you join the BMSG counselling training?
Eve: I think the BMSG does very valuable work and I was impressed by the high standards of their training. I wanted to get involved and to really understand the breastfeeding challenges faced by mamas and their families in Singapore.
My son and I had a hard time getting (breastfeeding) started and I was blessed to have great support – the woman who pulled me through did so by believing in me, and my body, when I didn’t. She believed in me until I believed in me again. I felt a calling to give that level of faith back to other women.
BMSG: Were you aware that you would be leaving Singapore back then? What it like in Senegal and wherever you have been?
Eve: I had no idea we were going to move to West Africa – that all happened very quickly!
I’ve breastfed in Australia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Senegal and lots of airports in between – I’ve received so much positivity, respect and solidarity from people everywhere. I believe in normalising breastfeeding and that when you believe in the best in others, generally that is what they will give you.
In Senegal, people are very modest but breastfeeding is absolutely the norm here so it’s expected to feed anywhere and everywhere, although many people are surprised to see a “toubab” (Caucasian or white foreigner) breastfeeding.BMSG: We know that you are completing your BMSG counsellor duties from overseas. How do you feel about this? If there are challenges, how do you tackle them?
Eve: I’m really happy that I can fulfil my commitment from overseas but I miss doing the Breastfeeding 101 classes and Mum-2-Mum meet-ups. I volunteer for two Facebook shifts on Fridays while my little dude is at preschool and it’s peaceful in our house.
Mostly, the time difference and remembering not to send messages to group chats at 3am are simple challenges. Otherwise, it’s just the same! ☺I hope to stay involved with BMSG in one way or another.
BMSG: In Singapore, were there any memorable counselling experiences for you?
Eve: Lots and lots – I really enjoyed facilitating Breastfeeding 101 workshops. The energy in the room is beautiful, full of expectation, excitement and determination. It’s also wonderful when you have a small Mum-2-Mum group who start out a little nervous and by the end they are sharing all their tips and experiences, making connections, and even feeling encouraged enough to try something for the first time like latching in a carrier.BMSG: Anything you want to say to the mums in Singapore whom you have been serving? 😊
Eve: Believe in your body mama; I believe in you. Breastfeeding can be hard but you are a mother now and you are capable of more than you know! And drink some sugarcane and lime juice for me!