As one of the seven founders of La Leche League International, Marian Tompson is an inspiration to women around the globe, especially those involved in early childcare and infant feeding. Born in 1929, she was given no support when attempting to breastfeed her children, and in fact found more opposition than encouragement in choosing breastfeeding over artificial baby milk, or formula. She, together with six other women founded the premier breastfeeding support society in the world. She is an inspiring figure because she found ways to advocate for women, create a global community, and unite women together for a common goal of bettering their lives and the lives of their children.
In the era in which she raised children, many women would simply have accepted the breastfeeding was not a reasonable way to feed an infant. With the advent of formula, most of Tompson’s contemporaries chose the relatively easier method of infant feeding. However, with marked determination, Tompson chose to persevere down a path that was anything but easy. Her drive is admirable, and shows a great deal of commitment to herself, her child, and her cause. She was forced to switch doctors three times during her first three pregnancies to find one that would support her desires to breastfeed. Still, she never gave up, and showed a tenacity and drive that makes her an inspiration figure.
Perhaps the most motivating aspect of Tompson’s life, however, is the fact that she did not stop with simple personal advocacy. She could have found a way to breastfeed, found a supportive doctor, and left it at that. Instead, she went out of her way to create a community for women with similar problems. She and her fellow founders saw a need, and worked to fill it. She showed incredible social responsibility, and a dedication to the worldwide population of women and children that few would have demonstrated. In founding La Leche League, she not only gained support for herself, but made a safe space for women of all nationalities and levels of experience.
Marian Tompson is a truly admirable women because of both what she did for herself and her children, and what she did for the world. She founded an organization that now encompasses thousands of women, all working together to support one another, and acting with social conscious and responsibility. She retained the determination to see her children fed in the best possible manner, and transformed that determination into a global organization. She bucked the tide of her generation, and fought against the existing medical power structure to advocate for what she knew was best for the children in her life. For that, she is an incredibly inspiring figure.