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Dealing with Series Meeting Blues

Originally published in LLL of New Mexico’s Enchantment, 1988

As I drove home from a recent La Leche League meeting, all I could think about was what had gone wrong. Gosh, I though, we started 20 minutes late. I forgot to say anything about LLL memberships. I didn’t introduce my co-Leader until it was her turn to speak in our round robin. My toddler was really distracting and wanted to nurse constantly. One mom talked a lot about how glad she was her baby had weaned at four months, and I couldn’t think of a thing to say. Nobody check out a single book. Nobody’s ever going to come back!

Some meetings are like that. The negative aspects seem to overwhelm any positive things that happened. You go home feeling drained and depressed. You’ve got the blues. You may even feel you should quit La Leche League. These feelings can be a signal you need to reach out even more to La Leche League for help, just as you would hope a mom with breastfeeding problems will do. Some of the following suggestions may help you put your negative feelings in perspective.

Write down your concerns in a private journal. Even if you are not comfortable sharing your fears or feelings of inadequacy with someone else right now, your writing can have a therapeutic effect. You will see your growth as a Leader as you look back at that same writing a few months later. The sleet, the snow, the babies crawling into other rooms, and the refreshments that never showed up may all come into perspective.

Reread your last NEW BEGINNINGS, LEAVEN, and Enchantment. These are your professional journals and include articles from real mothers and Leaders. Their writings can help you regain the balance you need to keep going.

Reread your LEADER’S HANDBOOK and get back to the basics. If your meeting was too complicated, your discussion fell flat, or the topic dissolved into tangential conversations, perhaps a cold, hard look at the Series Meeting descriptions could help you get back to the original intent and basic concepts of La Leche League meetings.

Call your co-Leader or another Leader. When the feelings are fresh in your mind (and in hers), you can help yourself by sharing your thoughts and getting a different perspective. If you’re a lone Leader, you might call a Leader in another town. Let out your feelings. “That was the worst meeting in history, and I feel worn out and useless!” The Leader you call may have just the ideas you need. And just describing how things went will relax you, too.

Have regular Evaluation Meetings. La Leche League built this into the framework of meetings for a reason. These post-meeting sessions can really turn your blues into good vibrations. For one thing, you’re more in control of who comes to the meetings and you’re surrounded by sympathetic people. Other Leaders and Group mothers can have a soothing effect on even the most frazzled Leader. It might just take a few “Yeah, that mother really had some challenging things to say!” or “You were so patient with your toddler’s fears of the louder older children,” to help you relax with your feelings about the meeting. Accept their opinions. They saw a different meeting than you did. Being a participant is very different than leading.

A Planning, Evaluation, or Enrichment Meeting also gives the Leader a chance to balance the Series Meeting. If the Series Meeting felt too factual, you can try to organize a more feeling topic for the next discussion. If the Series Meeting seemed too emotional, you might try to look up some facts, figures, and medical studies to bring out at the second meeting. You might also reread Enchantment’s “All LLL Are Not Created Equal,” p. 6-7, Summer 1986).

Write or call your District Advisor. Your DA is a Leader who has had lots of experience at leading meetings and has agreed to help other Leaders with different facets of League work. She may have experienced just the same kind of post-meeting depression that you have and can help you sort out what things you can change and what things were beyond your control.

It can be a lousy feeling when your meeting is not the most glowing and positive of mothering sharing experiences. We all have meetings that fall short of our goals. But, just as La Leche League is set up to give mothers support with breastfeeding, it is set up to support Leaders. So, on those days you get the blues about your meetings, or your performance as a Leader, let the people in LLL help. They’ve been there, too.

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