Victoria JacksonI am a mother of two beautiful little girls, ages three and five. They are my inspiration for what I do. It is because of them, that I was led to where I am today. When I look back on the last five years and reflect on everything that I have been through, I have to acknowledge that they went through those exact same experiences with me. I did not always provide the best images for them to see. I was in a domestic violence relationship with their father. It was extremely toxic. I reached out for help several times with his family. I would ask for some alone time, or just an hour to myself without my daughters. I was told that I have children now, and no longer am afforded alone time.
I would have pregnancy counselors come to my house to do their usual routine. They would fill out paperwork and ‘check on me.’ I worked in a daycare and knew all the ‘right answers,’ to their questions. I put on my mask and politely told them what they wanted to hear and sent them on their way. All the while, I was depressed, in a ‘situation-ship’ with their father, and going to work, to provide for my babies. I thank God for my experiences.
I know how important it is to create lasting relationships. I know how important it is to a mother, and soon to be mothers to have someone to talk with. I also know what it looks like when I ask a mother, “Are you ok?” and she tells me everything is fine, but in reality, she feels like her life is hell. I understand what it means to not want to wake up in the morning, and feel like everyone is against you. It shows in your actions, and how you treat others, because; our reality is only an exact reflection of how we feel on the inside.
As a Grassroots Maternal and Child Health Leader, I am acting to make changes in our communities to improve birth outcomes. I am doing this by telling my story, and being the voice for those that have lost or do not know they have a voice.
I am now a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), through the Marion County Health Department. I am able to sit with mothers, build relationships with them, teach and help them reduce infant mortality rates, simply, by breastfeeding. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and this is most definitely true. It also takes that same village to stand together, unite, and create change for a better future, and the development of our children and the many generations to come.