My "Hot" Date with LLL
Eve LaRochelle Faucher
Lowell MA USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 41 No. 1, February-March 2005, pp. 16-17.
One Friday night, I volunteered to take calls for the LLLI HotLLLine. I anticipated a lot of calls and an emotionally and physically exhausting evening. Well, it was actually quite the opposite. It was an exhilarating and stimulating experience.
Leaders seem to talk about the HotLLLine like it is a scary realm that only the bravest of Leaders dare to enter. The commitment of an overnight shift definitely sounds overwhelming, which explains why the HotLLLine is understaffed and there aren’t enough volunteers to handle the current volume of calls. On some evenings and weekends, there isn’t even a number available for mothers to call with breastfeeding questions. The thought of mothers not getting the help they needed motivated me.
Part of the reason I became a Leader is to help women breastfeed their babies. I think if more women had support, encouragement, and information, fewer would give up breastfeeding after a few weeks. This is how I realized that the HotLLLine is an important tool for both mothers and LLL. Mothers receive immediate assistance with their breastfeeding concerns. Leaders can build confidence or fine tune their helping skills. The organization will benefit from the word of mouth that LLL provides help to mothers.
Before making any decisions, I did a bit of thinking. I estimated that, if I volunteered, my busiest call time would be between 8:30 pm and 11:30 pm. During my shift, my daughter could be tucked in for the night by my husband. I knew there was a slim chance that I would receive a midnight call from a desperate mother, but that didn’t happen.
I searched the LLL Web site for information on how to volunteer and I signed up for a night when I knew my husband would be home. I set up a comfortable place to sit—the futon in our little office. I surrounded myself with pillows and made sure the lighting was adequate. I shut the door so I would not be interrupted and spread all of my helping tools out on the bed around me.
I had the Leader Log Forms and Leader directory that had been sent to me. I had THE BREASTFEEDING ANSWER BOOK, THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, and my three ring binder of tear-off sheets and pamphlets nearby. I also had my LLL files and a computer nearby, just in case I needed them.
I live in Massachusetts, USA. My phone started ringing soon after 8:30 pm, and it was very busy for about an hour and a half. By 9:30 pm I had received seven or eight calls, and my call waiting service often beeped while I was engaged in another call. I scribbled notes in my log as I gave information, asked questions, and listened. My caller identification device was flashing numbers from California to Florida. A few mothers left voice mail messages; a couple did not. By 10:15 pm, I had called back everyone I could reach. I finally hung up the phone. I felt a little drained and relieved that the calls were over.
For the most part, the mothers asked pretty straightforward questions. Two of the women just needed to find out if medications were safe while nursing. With a copy of Medications and Mothers' Milk by my side, those calls were a breeze. One mother had a question and also mentioned that she was moving soon. In addition to breastfeeding information, I gave her telephone numbers for her current and future towns from the directory I had been given.
The most difficult call was from a young mother who is human milk feeding her infant. She had many questions ranging from milk storage to maintaining her supply and pumping efficiently. Most of her questions were simple to respond to. I had recently had a call from a mother in my area who was human milk feeding so I wasn’t taken off guard by the concept. But if I had not been comfortable taking the call, I could have referred her to the phone number in the directory or called her back after some research.
All the mothers I spoke to were surprised and happy to reach an LLL Leader. They were receptive to the support and encouragement that I provided. Despite my nervousness, I had all of the information I needed to handle the HotLLLine calls just from a few months of experience being a Leader. It was a great way to get over the jitters and build confidence taking helping calls. When I got off the phone I felt smart, generous, helpful, and all around fabulous.
I enjoyed my "hot"
date with LLL. If you have some evenings and weekends free but you aren’t
ready for a long-term commitment, volunteer for a shift with the HotLLLine!
You might get hooked.
What's the difference between
Eve LaRochelle Faucher
has been a Leader since January 2004. She and her two-year-old daughter
and husband live in Pepperell, Massachusetts, USA. Eve is a self-proclaimed
meeting junkie who leads meetings in Lowell, Andover, and Ayer, Massachusetts,
USA. Eve is a new Leader who is continuing to develop great phone helping
skills. She was inspired by volunteering on the hotline and is now making
it a regularly scheduled part of her commitment to LLL. Brandel D. Falk
is Contributing Editor for this column. Please send articles or ideas
to Brandel at Pal-Yam 34, Tsameret Ha-Bira, Jerusalem, ISRAEL or ImaBDF at inter dot net dot il