Mary Rose Tully - an inspiration to us all!



Thirty years ago I was working at Wake Health Services, a community health center, in Apex, NC where I provided classes for pregnant and young mothers. We had a breastfeeding rate of about 1% so there was lots of room for improvement. I figured the breast had just not yet been discovered in Apex - well, not the breast that could feed a baby anyway!

Even then Mary Rose was known as the "Breast Lady" working at Wake Medical Center in Raleigh. She came to the Apex community Center to teach the small gathering of young mothers-to-be. I asked Mary Rose if she planned to do a presentation on why breastfeeding was important. She explained that her approach was just to show how to do it. So there she was with her baby doll moving in all directions as she demonstrated the various positions to make it happen. She laid on the floor, (pretending to be resting at home) she sat in a chairs (pretending to be at a gathering with friends), and she stood by the door (implying a woman could pay for her groceries while continuing to breastfeed.) It was all very discrete. A pink blanket lay over her shoulder and the baby doll.

I guess some of the teaching "took." A couple of those moms gave breastfeeding a try. I certainly did when my babies arrived a few years later.

Mary Rose Tully passed away on January 20, 2010. She introduced our state and much of our country to the best of the breast. She mentored me and others along the way and taught us to never lose site of what was best for mom and baby. It was a blessing to know her and grow from her experience, passion, and knowledge. She will be missed. Every baby I help to her mom's breast will honor this lovely and dynamic soul!