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Woman to Watch: Emily Hannaman

December 1, 2019 | by anna rogers | photos by erin james

Outside of town, you can find Emily Hannaman and her husband, Bart, tending their land with their two young boys. It is quiet and peaceful at Blind Dog Ranch, their property in Laurel, but there is plenty to do. Chickens and ducks roam the grounds around the house and barn, and wide-open fields are home to horses and cattle. Their two dogs greet you as you pull down the drive, and you can feel that this is a place where a love of family, home, and animals is fostered.

Inside town, you can find Emily Hannaman in a less scenic but equally beautiful setting. She has left her dirt roads and now walks sterile hallways, working with mothers and new babies as a lactation consultant.

No matter where you find Emily – at home raising her boys, in the yard collecting eggs, on the job supporting new moms – her passion is the same, and it’s contagious. She radiates a love of others and a drive to make a difference in her community.

What is a day like at home compared to in the hospital?

At the Ranch

“My husband and I often joke that I keep everything alive on the inside of the house, and he keeps everything alive on the outside. We've been on the ranch for five years, and I've been pregnant or raising a young baby for most of that. It makes it hard to be out dedicating long hours to ranching, and because of that, we've had to prioritize and grow the ranch slowly. My husband handles the majority of ranch chores, waiting until the baby naps so I can run out and help hang a gate. But as the boys get older and join us, it makes it all worth it. It's what we wanted for our children and why we took the plunge.”

On the Job

“I'm very fortunate to be able to work part-time, which is the best of both worlds. I enjoy my boys forming relationships and learning from other adults beyond my husband and me. When I'm in career mode, I get to practice my lactation skills, learn the new world of healthcare, be present and emotionally open for my patients, and really continue developing myself in a professional setting. The challenge and growth of this new career make me a better mother. It also opens my eyes to different and sometimes unfortunate family circumstances. I hug my children extra tight when I get home."

What drove you to pursue lactation consulting? 

“When my oldest son Lee was born, I planned to breastfeed but had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I had no knowledge of a good latch, engorgement, and suffered through so much pain while nursing. I will never forget the relief, joy, comfort, and kindness that a lactation consultant brought me. She gave me the tools I needed to feed my child.

One day I was driving down the road and decided that lactation consulting was the career I had always looked for but couldn’t find until I had kids. I want to help moms take back the power of birth and breastfeeding into their own hands.

Despite numerous skilled doctors and staff, the mother is the most compelling force in the room. She needs her supporters and care staff to provide confidence, security, encouragement, and to keep her body safe while it does its job. I’m so grateful that these women allow me to be a part of their postpartum experience.”

What do you love about ranch life?

“I enjoy new experiences, and every day out here brings a new one. The ranch provides so many teachable moments for my boys – life, death, safety around tools and livestock, problem-solving, the responsibility of animals, chores, keeping our land and environment clean, the list goes on and on. I’ve learned how to juggle the needs of a newborn and toddler with a loose cow in the front yard or while de-icing the chickens’ water. Just like anything in life, sometimes you laugh, sometimes you cry, but you always get through it.”

WHAT ENCOURAGEMENT DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER WOMEN?

To All Women

“When facing each day, discover in what capacity you can give to your family, career, future goals, and your community. Some days what you can give may not be what you’d hoped, but that’s what tomorrow is for! Find other women who you admire and with whom you can grow. We don’t form bonds by showing the world false perfection – we bond over moments in the trenches.”

To New Moms

"Breastfeeding offers wonderful benefits for mom and baby, whether you breastfeed for one week or two years. The beginning is always tough but well worth the effort. Seek out a good support system, and with the right information, every woman can find a feeding plan that works for them and feel confident about it. Remember to focus on your own family and set goals surrounding what works for you, baby, and your lifestyle. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!”

WHAT DO YOU DO TO FIND A FRESH PERSPECTIVE AND FEEL RE-BALANCED?

“I’ve always loved horseback riding. There is nothing more fulfilling or refreshing than enjoying life from the back of a horse. And they are tall, so my kids can't reach me! Beyond horses, I’m sure I’m like any mom who can recharge with good friends, a glass of wine, a book, or my personal favorite, the Great British Baking Show.”

Originally printed in the December 2019 issue of Simply Family Magazine

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