The Career Switch Podcast

19. From Military Procurement to Lactation Consultant: The Power of a Pause

July 25, 2021 Elyse Levine
The Career Switch Podcast
19. From Military Procurement to Lactation Consultant: The Power of a Pause
Show Notes Transcript

Margaret Becker is a community health nurse and lactation consultant based in Spain. Before going full-time to pursue her passion for maternal health, she worked as a Contracting Officer for the military for more than 5 years. In addition to her clinical and consulting work, she also hosts the Mobile Milk Maid Podcast, where she shares stories and conversations about women’s and infant health. Today on the show, we discuss how and why we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect, to know exactly what’s next, and to have a sense of direction, when all we really need is to take a pause, do some reflecting, and let our intuition guide us.

Listen to the Mobile Milk Maid Podcast and find out more about Margaret's services at https://themobilemilkmaid.com/. 

Follow The Mobile Milk Maid on Instagram @themobilemilkmaid or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/themobilemilkmaid/


[00:00:00] Elyse: Margaret. Thank you so much for joining us on the show today.

I've been so excited and looking forward to talking to you.

Margaret: Thank you. I'm excited to be here. I just love the idea of your podcast. I think it's

so important. I remember sitting in seventh grade a long time ago and I had a teacher and he

said to me, you will change your careers multiple times. Your parents stayed with one career

choice and you guys will change and change and change and want to find happiness. And I

remember that struck me as, no I won't! You know? Because our parents and their parents

they just have a pension for 40 years to see, and that was the kind of goal.

So,

Elyse: yeah. And they drilled it into us too. There was a lot of, what are you going to do when

you grow up? And it wasn't the sense of grow up and explore. It was a sense of, pick the one

thing that you're going to do when you grow up .

Margaret: Yeah. Yeah. I think that's probably uniquely American too.

Cause living overseas and having [00:01:00] traveled a lot overseas and abroad meeting

young people that are on their gap years or, that's just kind of a normal sense of finding

yourself out. And when I say that I'm talking not about the developed world, but meeting a

lot of people going, well, I don't know what I'll do.

I'm just finding myself, right. Oh, that's so nice. I didn't, I wish, I think it's a different time

maybe now for people, but 10, 15, 20 years ago that wasn't the perception.

Elyse: Yeah. I'd love that. It's such a great perspective to have, and it really, I think helps take

the pressure off because we put so much pressure in American society of like, go out, get

your schooling, get into the right college, get your career, maybe go to grad school, but don't

if you're not really sure what you want to do and then go do your thing and you'll be in that

thing. And that's what you're going to do forever. And you need to know who you are by like

age 11. And it just it's, I think it adds so much pressure and I love how [00:02:00] I love

hearing stories from other countries because it's just so it's liberating in a sense.

Margaret: It is, I have three little kids and they're all early elementary age.

And it's interesting. They'll say I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. And in my

husband, who's had a, a 20 year career, he'll say, neither do I? And that's just part of it, you

know, just this kind of fear. Cause that's what everyone asks them to still, will you be when

you grow up? I don't know.

Elyse: And that's fine. That's really why I started this show, was to normalize this sense of

like, what you're doing now is great. And if you want to keep doing it, keep doing it. But if it's

not fitting with who you are, or maybe a fit with who you are several years ago, and now it

doesn't anymore, change it. Why not? We're not stuck. We can take this mindset of exploring

and experimenting and trying to find that thing thatmatches with who we are as we evolve

as people. So I love we got off on this tangent right [00:03:00] at the beginning. Yeah.

It's perfect. But I actually, I know that obviously you made a real career change, a big career

change which is why I asked you to come on the show, but I would love to just get a sense of

what you were doing originally. I know you mentioned you were the contracting officer

working in procurement for the military.

Can you tell us a little bit about what you did?

Margaret: Yes. It's so. Different from what I do now that sometimes you forget, you kind of

shut the door on that life. It felt like another life, but it wasn't that long ago. I worked in

procurement for the department of defense. I was a contract specialist and negotiator and

became a contracting officer.

I really did that out of college. I was a business and political science major, thought hard

about law school and then really decided to first write contracts and grants for the military. It

was a great job. I was adequately compensated, I learned a lot. They do all your professional

training.

Send you to all your coursework, has great benefits. And [00:04:00] I got to work with mostly

engineers cause I worked in service and research and development contracts, they're

developing robots and I'm writing and negotiating the contract for that, with the industry

player. First you're looking at making sure that you're providing the contract according,

obviously, to the law and that it meets all the regulations. So lots of law, lots of regulations.

And then you compete the contract between the companies and you do lots of pricing built

in and working with whoever is the person that needs the service.

So it was fascinating. Interesting. And yeah, that's what I did for, for some years.

Elyse: I mean, it sounds like, obviously very business focused, very finance focused. And you

mentioned you had grown up in a military family, is that right?

Margaret: Yes, I did. So interestingly enough, my family is very science focused.

So my father was a nuclear submarine officer and so kind of an engineering background,

[00:05:00] was in the military for decades, so long, his whole career, and then worked in

industry after, and then in procurement, but I never gave a contract to him. I just would like

to say that we were just to put it on the record.

I had to sign all these things that I will not. But And then my mother is an in she's an anatomy

teacher and my brother is a Navy physicians and all my cousins and uncles and aunts, and

everybody's very military. You kind of grow up and that's your life and you're around it.

It's interesting cause I'm in science or the medical field now, but I knew that I didn't I think I,

Oh, that's what they do. So I'm going to do something different, but it still was in the lens of

what do I know, I have a lot of connections with? So my internships in the summer were at

the Pentagon doing industrial procurements and kind of learning that field because you

know it, You know what's needed and you know the life.

And so, I stayed close to that. It's also a very [00:06:00] flexible job for that life when you're

always on the move too.

Elyse: So you were doing this role and, you kind of steeped in this family history of service,

right. How did you get into this idea of wanting to work in women's health?

Margaret: Yeah. So I have always been really passionate about maybe because my life has

been so military surrounded by pretty stiff guys that I have always been fascinated in women

and women's issues. My dad is actually a big proponent of women and women on

submarines. I went to a women's college and I'm really interested in women's health and I

worked for, I did a little like summer program with domestic violence victims and just kind of

my always had my finger on the pulse of women's issues.

It's something that I read on the side. And my brother is a Navy obstetrician. And so that was

something I thought about, well, maybe I should go back and [00:07:00] become an

obstetrician too, because I know that helping women and women's health is really

fascinating to me.

I've always been interested in how the body works, but I think because maybe I'm the

youngest child and just thought, Oh, that's what they're all doing. I should do something

different. That I'm not maybe inherently don't have, I'm not inherent administrator or a

contract writer, that's not that this doesn't fulfill any of my inherent skills, but it's something I

could do.

And I learned to fight about money. But I shadowed my brother and I thought for a hot

second about being an OB GYN. And then I was really taken by the nurses and the nurses at

the bedside. And I don't love surgery. That's like my last interesting thing in the healthcare

field.

I know it's you know, important. And and so I just thought, Oh, these nurses really spend the

most time with the patient and that intrigued me. And so I looked at different nursing paths

from there.

Elyse: As you were sort of [00:08:00] developing this interest, when did you like have the

thought, I think I want to leave my job and maybe make a change into women's health. were

you exploring all this on the side?

Margaret: Yes, I was just Googling, researching different paths at night. My brother was very

interested in me changing and kind of following in his footsteps.

But I knew that wasn't right. It was difficult because here I had a very, you know, my, my job

was great. It adequately compensated. I'm a military spouse and flexible. So any place I move

I will be able to, there is defense procurement, because if you move with the military and the

needed field, they really do need people in that field. And there's upward mobility, all the

logical, I always equate it to, it's like dating the guy that your parents love, and he has a job

and he's nice to you, but you just don't, you don't love him.

Elyse: There's no connection. Right, right.

Margaret: There's no [00:09:00] connection, no passion. And so that's really hard.

So I did, I had a, and it always comes. We have a really hard fiscal year end in the defense

procurement world, you hear fiscal year, the end of the fiscal year. And those are, I mean,

people have like cots and they sleep in their office. You're up all night kind of processing the

last contract and it's just to spend that money.

And so I think I had one too many of ha I'm pretty young was pre-kid, pre family starting

years and going, to be kind of giving my all to this, which it's really important for me to show

up with a full heart and give everything I have. And I don't love this.

And so I had that kind of like, I need something else, moments about five years, a little bit

before and going, okay, I need to change. And so then I just really started researching all the

different paths to nursing care. Originally, I thought I'd be maybe a midwife or a certified

nurse midwife or something in [00:10:00] the nursing women's health role.

But I wasn't quite sure, but I just knew, I need to just start taking the classes and kind of

getting there.

Elyse: So it was one too many nights on a cot at the end of the fiscal year, just trying to get

these things processed. And you were like, Ugh. No, thank you. I also love what you said

about being adequately compensated.

I just appreciate that term. But so what got you into lactation consulting? You love nursing,

how did, how did what you're specifically doing now evolve?

Margaret: So when I became a nurse I did a, kind of a, almost like a nurse residency after

nursing school with the UC system.

So UC San Diego, they're a baby-friendly hospital. UC San Diego is very much the cutting

edge of lactation medicine and they have a milk bank. And so working there, we have to do

kind of rotations and internships. And I did all of those primarily with UC system, but as soon

[00:11:00] as I could, it was with mother, baby perinatal units and perinatal unit nursing and

shadowing midwives, and just kind of, that was my interest and focus and working for them,

kind of seeing.

I worked as a perinatal nurse. And so you kind of float through the NICU and postpartum and

antepartum and you see women and children and you see the struggles of breastfeeding and

particularly the vitality of lactation for premies and really just kind of saving lives. And then I

saw it be on one sense, you know, I have my friends in very developed high socioeconomic

communities being kind of shamed for not breastfeeding. And then I have had friends that, I

was going to save their baby's life. And so there's just this dichotomy and, and different parts

of the world, it really can save a baby's life. This breastfeeding thing is really, really

interesting.

So it was working for a few years on on the floor as a nurse and [00:12:00] breastfeeding was

so much a part of your job with her postpartum or in the NICU. And so it's kind of laid the

trenches and then I had twins and I breastfed twins which was a lot of work. And then I had

one babe right after. So I had three babies in 18 months and my husband was deployed.

I don't recommend it. I mean, I, I love them, but the timing was interesting. And my husband

was deployed and I was working nights as a NICU nurse. Lots of baby crying, Elyse. And it's

one thing I could do, you know, I could, I we go through the trenches, but I could make milk

for those babies.

And it was an honor and I really kind of learned a lot. And then I started down into

community health nursing and lactation is a huge part of being a visiting nurse and visiting

moms and babies in the home and weighing babies. A lot of people need a lot of help in

those early postpartum days and a big part of it is there in their confidence and setting the

tone is having the assistance with breastfeeding. So it kind of started to start the process to

becoming a lactation consultant [00:13:00] through that.

Elyse: Wow. So it's sort of evolved really organically. But going back to your it's procurement

career, when, when was the moment that you actually left your contracting job and was it to

go, was it to go to nursing school?

Margaret: So this is one of the beauties and hardship. So being a military spouse is that you

almost never have to break up with anything because you move. Right. So I never really had

to tell people like I'm leaving the field because I, I moved.

And when I moved, I had already applied and taken all my pre-recs on the side prerequisites

for, gone back and taken the anatomy lab, which is really interesting. Cause by day your

procurement officer with all these meals and working with all these male engineers, we

really didn't, 15, 20, almost 20 years ago, it didn't have a lot of females in them that I was

working with with engineer, which was another thing too. Sometimes in procurement, there

are females, but I, I felt a little bit isolated as a [00:14:00] young female in that, in that world.

And so nobody really spoke my language. And so we moved and when we moved, I had

already applied for nursing school school.

And so then I started when we moved, I was doing contracting on the side. So I was kind of

teleworking on some contracts that cause some contracts take kind of years to, to establish.

So I was kind of. Not consulting because I was still working at part-time telework before that

wasn't even a thing. Yeah, so.

Wow. It was a slow, slow burn, but that nobody, nobody really did. I didn't have to say I'm

leaving you. I had to say, Oh, I'm moving right then. And then one day I wasn't in that, you

know, I was in nursing school and I wasn't a contracting officer anymore. And that, that was,

you know, interesting.

Elyse: Yeah. I bet. I mean, so you didn't necessarily have to tell your boss, or your coworkers,

but you did have to tell your spouse and you did have to tell your family, I presume in your

[00:15:00] friends. What did everybody think when you said I want to go into nursing?

Margaret: Yeah. So that is a great question because my husband in the beginning, as soon as

I told them, I always say every dreamer girl needs a solid kind of rock guy.

And that is him. I could say tomorrow, I think I'm doing this. And he'd say, do you want to

yeah, make it happen. I used his GI bill. He's been, he went to the Naval Academy and I was

in Iraq and I used it as post 9/11 GI bill, and which was a blessing to be able to have that, I'm

thankful.

And I thankful to him because he doesn't always, love it, you know, aspects of his career and

he's been doing it. He's getting ready to be, to finish. And I think for someone who has kind

of stayed the path. His whole family went to the Naval Academy. He went to the Naval

Academy and has been on this kind of military trajectory and not had a lot of choice.

I think he sees me with the ability for choice and he says, go run with it. [00:16:00] Do what

makes you happy. And that having that kind of base. it's pretty, pretty magical. Now my

family who, my brother's a physician and his family, they're all professionals. And I had to

say, I'm leaving.

I was at GS 12 or almost getting ready to accept a GS 13. So for people don't know, that's

pretty, higher up, especially for, I was young and I had became a contracting officer, had a

title, you know, business cards in my own. And was really had a great career and job. And I

said, I want to go back to school to be a nurse and nurses, amazing.

There's so many different roles, but that isn't as prestigious as what I was doing. It wasn't

going to be as lucrative. And it kinda, they go, huh? You sure you really want to do this?

Because sometimes nursing has looked at is just changing bed pans, unfortunately, that is

such not what it is, but there is that kind of stereotype of the, the nurse.

But kind of going from this more [00:17:00] professionally titled sounds better on paper,

we'll use that word adequately compensated job too. More, almost sometimes hourly wage

and nurses like teachers aren't aren't paid enough and kind of the thought, Oh, okay. Don't

you want to be a doctor?

So yeah, I went through a little bit of that and I had to really know that this is what I wanted

to do and I knew it was better for me.

Elyse: Yeah. You had to really kind of stick to your guns and to your passion for what you

wanted to do eventually. We hear that, I mean we hear that a lot about families kind of like

we'll pass you sort of job listings under the table, or we'll be like, well, okay, but you're going

into this, but don't you want to do that one thing that's just a little bit more widely

recognized as prestigious ? But yeah, you really have to know what you're going for and be

very focused on that.

Margaret: Right. Right. And then once I think once they knew I was [00:18:00] committed,

and they knew that it was what would bring me joy and that it was really important to me to

go down this path.

They were very, very supportive.

Elyse: Then one of the things you mentioned was that it was potentially a lower salary. You

were going from a GS 12, GS 13. How did you and your husband work through the financial

implications of that?

Margaret: Yeah. You know, my husband has always been he has undergrad and a master's in

economics of finance, or I guess money management has been a priority for him.

And we did the numbers, you know, used the GI bill and we're still working part time. And we

just saved, we had the, the fortunate aspect of, we hadn't started our family yet, so we didn't

have that kind of financial pull yet. So we were able to budget for it really. And then we

didn't know what it would look like after as much so that's unknown, but we knew it

[00:19:00] was important enough to make that thankfully he had, we had one kind of stable

salary, so.

Elyse: How did it affect you this idea that you weren't going to be making as much money?

Did that, did that scare you at all?

Margaret: It did.

I was raised very experientially by my parents. I have to say for how kind of military they are,

they're like military and their mindsets and money came up. But it just, it wasn't a huge

dialogue and was raised with people that knew that they, they had to have enough to live

the life that made them happy.

But I wasn't raised with parents that are or appear to be kind of, That was the bottom line

for happiness or for building foundation. I have a friend the other day. She's like, let's not

pretend that money isn't important, but it wasn't everything. And since I did, we had that

kind of stable salary through my spouse, I was able to have that flexibility. and I was young

too, you know, going back [00:20:00] now, I go, Oh my goodness. Sometimes I look at, go

look at them you know, where I would be financially now if I had stayed with that trajectory,

but you kind of realize though, I I'm so fulfilled professionally and I'm happy.

It really didn't become everything. I had to kinda swallow that, and swallow that idea that I

wasn't going to be making as much, I wasn't going to have this kind of clear laid out plan.

And, and then I had to just kind of accept it and go forward.

Elyse: Yeah. And there's not really a comparison, right?

I mean, when you talk about, if you had stayed in the military versus doing what you're doing

now, it seems very apples to oranges because you also don't really know where your career

in the military would have taken you.

Margaret: Yes. And I'm sorry, I just wanna to, I worked with, so I was a civilian, but with the

military, you know, no, no, no.

It's okay. It's okay.

Elyse: Yeah, no, no, no. That's good to know with like, with the defense department and but

anyway, but yeah, I mean, especially on the GS schedule too, right. Because it [00:21:00]

goes up to a 15, a GS 15, and then over there from there to the senior executive service and

obviously it gets very competitive once you get up to those levels.

But it's also just a totally different lifestyle. And I think it's hard to say, you would have been

better off one way or another. But what you're doing now obviously sounds very fulfilling.

Margaret: My friends that stayed with the procurement path, they are GS fourteens and

fifteens, And so sometimes you go out, where would my life have been?

And that is wonderful and they are doing great things and you have to want it, right. Yeah.

Elyse: Yeah. You really, really do, especially to stick with the government that long. But it

sounds like, so the support of your spouse was obviously absolutely crucial to your change,

but I'm also curious if you had any other help, like when you were developing your business

as a lactation consultant, or did you ever have [00:22:00] any other help from like mentors or

coaches or friends? Yeah.

Margaret: I've worked with some amazing nurses and lactation consultants. I mean, just

amazing women. They've been primarily women. I have worked with a fabulous male,

lactation consultant, they do exist. But I've had a few people in and you really see that's the

kind of nurse I want to be. That's the kind of lactation you take. And you're always learning in

this field. It changes. I mean, from a year ago, what we recommend for breastfeeding, It

changes where, because I think I just saw the statistics.

I just saw some statistic, there's more science and research on strawberries than there is on

human breast milk, just because it wasn't something that could be marketed. And now that

pumps are, something that can be marketed and all of the things that they're selling you

hope for, for breastfeeding, it's become a little bit more Of an industry where it wasn't an

industry before .

It [00:23:00] was traditionally in the seventies, you had that kind of like lay lactation

consultant, who is this, la leche leader and, and a different time. And now it's actually really

grown as a profession specifically with the lactation consultant piece. But I have had some

wonderful people that you just see, there was a lady early on in my career at UCLA. Carol

Sands is her name and she was a nurse and a lactation consultant. And she just was so gentle

in her approach. And you really, from an early point, I said, that's the kind of nurse I want to

be is, with them at the, during their familial transition.

To the point where you're supporting and you're walking alongside them, but not kind of

coming in and changing what mom's doing. And so really kind of a gentle approach and

people like that, that I've met, that you kind of have your sights on and say, this is the kind of

nurse and lactation consultant that I wanted.

Elyse: Yeah. Really role models and examples to learn from for sure. [00:24:00] Were there

any other sort of obstacles that you encountered or had to overcome as you were going

through this process?

Margaret: I think having to retake a lot of classes. When you go back and it's a different

career, there's a lot of it's kind of loopholes. They want you to take a statistics class. I had

been a political science business major, but because of the time expiration, so I had to go

back and take some of these classes that I'm going, really?

And I go back and take this, that wasn't really relevant to what I'd be doing, but just punching

a card. So I think for me, I want to know why we have to do this things and how it will

contribute, particularly if I'm spending money and I'm investing my time.

So some of the things that you had to do and take to be able to go back to school and you

really realize I had the luxury right of having financial support, but if you don't there's a lot of

barriers and hindrance. And so I see that and I always kind of think about that. If I'm

someone who has, you know, we have one stable [00:25:00] income and I'm doing this, then

when you peel back the echelons of socio-economics and culture, and you see that there's a

lot of barriers to people having upward or any kind of mobility, really. And so that, that kind

of frustrated me is having to take this class for this one school, but not this other one. And

that there wasn't a lot of standardization too, of what's needed for different universities and

kind of everyone does something different.

And so that, that way. Yeah. You have to be kind of really expending a lot and, and that, that

was just frustrating for me.

Elyse: It sounds like you really had to work a lot of it out for yourself and there wasn't a lot of

guidance or, no structure around this career path right?

Margaret: No because I was just before the push, where lots of people are going back to

school to be just the push before nurse practitioners kind of came into that a larger role. And

we're going to get people direct entry to these [00:26:00] different nursing programs. So I

was just at the beginning of kind of accelerated nursing programs for people who had done

something else.

And I was fortunate in that I did do an accelerated nursing program. So after I did my

prerequisites, I got into one. And so I was in nursing school, kind of my own little cohort with

other people who had done different things. And so that was really neat. So engineers and,

bio, bio mechanical engineers and lawyers and just people had done different things. So we

were all in that same kind of what are we doing? You know? And so that was uplifting. Yeah.

Elyse: Yeah, absolutely. Well, at least you had a little community and that is just can be so

powerful and encouraging.

Margaret: It can, it really can.

Elyse: Is there anything that you wish you had done differently?

Margaret: You know, I wish I would have started sooner.

I wish I would have started sooner. I love what I do. And imposter syndrome is always

[00:27:00] a product, I think, of the female experience. And so, you know, sometimes you'll

meet a lactation consultant and she'll say I've been doing this for 30 years. Well, I had a

career change, so I couldn't have just been doing it for that long. And so then you're like, Oh,

I haven't been doing it that long, but it doesn't mean that I I'm not contributing. And I have

been doing it for a while now, but so I just wished that I would've started sooner. Or maybe

not. I mean, I'm thankful for my path. I'm thankful for my time as in procurement.

I think the older I get as a woman, I kind of gain of voice and I wasn't someone who knew

exactly what I wanted to do at, you know, 21. And so maybe I would have taken more time

off to kind of explore some of that before I went right into this career, I haven't really had

any time off.

So sometimes I think about that maybe I should you know, we, I think we talked about it at

the beginning. I was always busy and I'm so set on the next step and kind of getting things

done that I didn't [00:28:00] really sit, sit with. The finality of some of these, these decisions.

Elyse: Well, it's so true.

I think it's because of a couple of reasons. Going back to what we were talking about at the

beginning, you know, there's a lot of pressure on us to just find a career and do it. Over and

over and over again. There's obviously financial pressure.

The older we get kind of the more responsibilities we have, overall at least the majority of us

and, I think there's an intimidation aspect too, because when we think about I'm going to,

okay, I'm going to quit my job and I don't really know what I want to do next, like that is a,

that's a cliff. You don't know what's on the other side of that. And it's very hard to sit with

that and actually say, okay, I am going to take some time and try to find myself. But I think

we should all take a gap year. Yes we should.

Margaret: And maybe, maybe the gap year isn't an after high school or college or maybe the

gap year is [00:29:00] mid career or, I think about my husband at close to retiring. We've

been talking about because now it's part of my practices, virtual because of COVID well,

maybe, you know, we'll take six months to a year before he settles into, after this, 20 year

careers as a Naval officer said let's, you know, travel, in a post COVID world. Let's take a

family gap year and that actually excites him for someone who's just kind of rolled right into,

you know, at 17 being screamed at. So, yeah. So true.

Elyse: You hear about professors taking sabbaticals. You hear about people who have

managed to make it so that they can take these mid-career breaks. I think that we should all

do that. And maybe it's not just a one-time thing. Maybe it's every, so often throughout our

careers in our lives, we take, you know, we take a break.

Margaret: I think we, as a culture, we really celebrate suffering. And we don't celebrate

[00:30:00] pause and clarity, and maybe we'd have a little bit less cortisol stress if we took

some time to, like you said, pause and celebrate that. It's okay to ask for help. It's okay to

take breaks. And I see that with mothers, I work with, with mothers and babies and so

quickly, there's just a need too, you know, we used to have women in the hospital for 10 days

after they deliver. And now it's like two days and then there was expected to be back in their

CrossFit gear with the baby, perfectly happy and all the things just quickly done. And so we

can just pretend that that little time that wasn't productive, right because women are seen

as unproductive in their familial season, if they're unproductive, let's wrap that up quick so

you can go back to, and that's really, really hurting women and mothers.

Elyse: Yeah. I don't have kids of my own, [00:31:00] but my sister my sister had a baby, my

nephew who's now he's almost two.

And. I remember when she had him and she was on maternity leave. It was like every hour I

was seeing articles about this makes you a bad mother that makes you a better mother or

this other thing makes you a bad mother. And she's sending me articles and texts like, Oh my

God, I accidentally gave him this thing.

He's going to die. I'm like, you're fine. You're fine. You're fine. You're fine. But it really, I

mean, just the amount of pressure that society puts on mothers to be perfect at all times.

While you're working, while you're taking care of your babies, while you're trying to get your

body back, you know, from being taken over for the last nine months, right? Like it's just

crazy.

Margaret: Yeah. Yeah. There's I thinking about that you know, what would it take to, to kind

of elevate pause during the postpartum period, which is so important would be a culture

that [00:32:00] also is okay with pauses in your professional career. So yeah, let's work on

that at least.

Elyse: Okay. A hundred percent. If you're listening this episode, that is our takeaway is pause

and I feel more relaxed just thinking about me too. Me too. But as we kind of wrap up here, I

mean, obviously we just talked about pausing. And we talked about so much else today, but I

am wondering if there's any other advice you would have for someone who's looking to

make a career change?

Margaret: You know, it's a process. And in uncertainty that can feel really icky to us, right. Is

the unknown we want, you know, we want that diagnosis. We want, from the medical

perspective, just give me anything, tell me what we want to move forward. But sometimes

there's a lot of beauty in that I wish I would've, it's taken more time and kind of reflected in

my schooling, going back to school days, instead of just so quickly, the [00:33:00] I on I have

to be a nurse and then I have to be this kind of nurse that I have to be this advanced,

lactation consultant. I wish I would have paused a little bit, like I want my mama's to do that I

care for, and, and really everyone to kind of embrace some of the, the sludge and the

uncertainty. And it's going to be okay and that's coming from my own, my own lens. I fully

realize that I have a financial support and all the things that have made it possible. Well, you

know, not blind to that have all of my being fortunate.

Yeah. But I. I would say, you know, that if your heart's not in what you're doing, if you don't

find joy in what you're doing, what you spent, we really spent so much time at work as

American professionals. If you don't find joy in that, Then then look for what you can find joy

in because whatever the process takes, because I think it's for how much time is spent at

work.

We really need [00:34:00] to enjoy that contribution. as someone who has left a, a more

lucrative and, and, and I say that, you know, nursing can be, can be, you know, depending on

which route you go, you can make money, but most I've never really met a nurse that got

into it for the money. It's definitely for caring compassion.

So you know, embrace the, I think I've embrace the suck, embrace that the pain and the

uncertainty of it, and really work to find, find joy. And it is possible to completely change

your career. And It's okay.

Elyse: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think it's great advice. And my last question for you is, what is

your definition of success?

Margaret: Mm, for me, success is in the try and the attitude. I, I think it was John D

Rockefeller. He said, you know, pay a man far more for his attitude and ability to get along

with others than any skill you must possess. And so I've had, I realized in nursing and

[00:35:00] in procurement, there is very skill heavy, right?

There's people who are probably the best at giving us IVs just so and yeah. You know,

somebody who could probably quicker write a government contract, I'm not sure or really

knows how to use that charting system, and skills are very important and we need to learn

them for our job.

But I really think that the attitude and the try and the effort and the kind of work effort and

attitude is everything. And so I think in putting an effort and maintaining positivity or joy, I

love that word joy, because I think it, I think it's so important. But having that kind of respect

for myself, then that's in what I'm doing.

That to me is success. It's not maybe that I have reached this, you know, GS level at this age,

which is great, you know, but that's something that maybe it's not so tangible, which is kind

of respect for ourselves in what we're doing and what attitude I'm putting forth and what

[00:36:00] work I'm putting forth.

And that I'm happy with it to me is success.

Elyse: Well, Margaret, thank you so much. It's been so inspiring to have you on the show. I

really appreciate you sharing everything and your story with us. Thanks for being on.

Margaret: Thank you. Thank you for having me. If you're particularly, if you're interested in

going back to, to nursing school or becoming a lactation consultant, you know, I'm an open

book.

If you need somebody to talk to about that field. Yeah, never, never looked back and I am so

thankful. I get to work with mothers and babies every day and see transformative changes.

As someone who's made big transformative changes myself. And so yeah, I'm thankful and

I'm thankful to have this experience to talk about it and going, yeah, this is why

I'm doing it.

So thank you.

Elyse: Yeah, of course. Where can people find you?

Margaret: Yes.

So my by day I'm a community health nurse and lactation consultant for the Navy Marine

Corps, Relief society, which is a organization that supports military families [00:37:00] as a

nonprofit, but I also have a virtual practice and a podcast.

So you can find me on Instagram at, @ the mobile milkmaid or you can go to my website,

WW w dot the mobile milkmaid.com. And I also have a Facebook page, which is the mobile

milk bank. So that's my kind of lactation name.

Elyse: Awesome. Well, thank you, Margaret.

Margaret: Thank you.