Cayuga student using blog, internship to help mothers

Cayuga student Deann Merritt, pictured with her family, is interning with the Museum of Motherhood, and is writing a blog to help mothers that combines research and her own experiences. Photo courtesy of Joyce Pelkey.

AUBURN - An internship with the Museum of Motherhood has one Cayuga Community College student relying on research and her own experiences to discuss difficult topics and answer questions from other mothers.

A mother of three and a volunteer in the La Leche League, Cayuga student Deann Merritt is putting her own experience and questions she’s heard from other mothers into blog posts for the Museum of Motherhood. She is currently a liberal arts major with a concentration in psychology, and is preparing for a career as an international board-certified lactation consultant (IBCLC).

The goal is for any mother to use the blog as a resource for reliable information about diverse topics that aren’t widely addressed, said Merritt.

“There’s so much information available to mothers, but sometimes it can be overwhelming. I’m trying to present information in a way that’s easily understood and addresses topics that aren’t discussed as frequently,” she said. “I want to help all mothers, but especially younger mothers, and make sure they know about the resources that are available to support them.”

The Museum of Motherhood was founded in 2003, and recognizes and preserves the art, history and science of motherhood. Merritt has brought a unique perspective to the museum’s blog because of her experiences as a student, mother and volunteer in the La Leche League, said Founding Director Martha Joy Rose.

“Many of our previous interns have been college students with great research experience but not much practical knowledge,” said Rose. “Deann has been able to seamlessly incorporate the very real and timely questions many mothers have into her content on gender, breastfeeding and maternal anxiety.”

Much of Merritt’s passion comes from her own experience struggling to find reliable information and answers to direct questions online or from medical personnel. Her blog posts, which have addressed gender disappointment and breastfeeding, combine research with her own experiences.

A graduate of the Hannibal Central School District, Merritt decided she wanted to become an IBCLC following the birth of her second child. Relying on IBCLCs for their expertise, she was struck by their knowledge and their caring approach when working with mothers.

Merritt started volunteering with the La Leche League, and met mothers at her job in Oswego. She enrolled at Cayuga in the fall of 2019, and secured the internship the same semester. She’s hopeful the blog will help her become an IBCLC, which requires extensive experience assisting mothers with breastfeeding, passing health science and general education requirements and other mandates.

But regardless of whether she becomes an IBCLC, she always wants to help mothers with breastfeeding and fighting feelings of isolation.

“I don’t know where I’ll end up, but just like the IBCLCs who changed my life, I know I can help mothers in their own journey,” she said. “I want to go wherever my help is needed and I think this blog is a good starting point.”

Merritt’s blog posts can be found at https://mommuseum.org/about/.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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