Monday, July 13, 2015

Touched by a Nanny: Angelita Fechino

As told by and to Donna Robinson:I first met Angelita Fechino at a NannyPalooza conference which is a small conference where you get a chance to really get to know each other.  She was sitting with a group and when she said she was a newborn care specialist out of New York, we struck up a friendship as I am in New York quite often.  What drew me to her was the discussion on the conferences needed more diversity and how many do not understand the barriers of Hispanic nannies.  That stuck in my brain and later talking to my daughter she reminded me that we do not have to think about those things being born white middleclass. We don’t often go out of our way to understand another culture.  I didn’t want to be one of those people. I knew this was a very special person who would help me understand.  We had a lot in common because we both had our own business and we both liked to think “out of the box”. The next time I was in New York we met for lunch and that was the start of a lasting friendship. Her story is inspiring, but her determination and her commitment to her dreams brought her a long way and I want to share her story so that she can be an inspiration to you as well.  .As a teenager, Angelita felt she wanted to follow her mother’s footsteps in the medical field working with newborns.  Her mom discouraged her as she felt Angelita was just too sensitive to deal with the life and death of the neonatal ward.  Her family was big on education so she went to college and got her BA in Foreign Language Ed and Translation and Interpreting focused on English and French.  She graduated with honors.  She said she was a people pleaser and struggled with the self confidence that would have allowed her to stand up for what was really going to make her happy. Angelita is going to share her story  of how she went into the business world and became very successful but still broke away to start a career working as a nanny with newborns an later a Newborn Care Specialist before she even knew that career had a name. Angelita says:While in college in Chile in 2000, I got a job in a hotel as a Phone operator, then I was moved to Front Desk. But I was too short so they moved me to sales which wasn’t my thing! I moved within the company to become a Housekeeping Supervisor but was moved back into the Business Centre (that was a full state of the art office facility and it was like being personal/executive assistant of different guests). That Hotel was next to the Government Palace so it was pretty iconic to work there. While working there I met an executive for Sam Ash Music and started working assisting in different cultural matters and coordinating meetings and things while they were doing a Market Research over there. Then they brought me to Miami to do translation into Spanish of some of their catalogues. I then started to come to the US occasionally on vacation and decided I wanted to move here. It didn't happen for a while as I started working in the Mining Industry (main activity in Chile) as a Translator and Interpreter and Executive Assistant. I got to meet many wonderful people. My real passion was put aside, which was still working with pregnancy, birth and newborns. I was an only child and didn't really have any major experience until my best friend got pregnant. I fell in love with that special time and I "doula-ed" her without even knowing that was a thing (that was 16 yrs ago when I was 20 at the time). I wanted to be around newborns, I wanted to tend to moms and I knew other than doing it on-the-side in Chile, if I wanted to really become a professional I had to move to the US. (Australia and Canada also crossed my mind).I moved to the US in 2007 as I applied to work at Marriott online and they called me, I explained I was willing to move and they said it was up to me to figure out how to do it. I went to the US Embassy and showed them my job offer and proof I could afford to move. I quit my job, gave away most of my things. One month later I arrived in New Jersey and started working the overnight shift at the front desk of the Marriott. I also started to work as a nanny to a newborn during the day. Even though I got promoted to Front Office Supervisor/Overnight Manager in less than 6 months I never thought I wanted to stay on that career path.  I was becoming more and more convinced than ever that newborns was "my thing".” Donna Robinson says:Can you imagine how difficult it is to give up a successful career to go into a field where you never know when you will have a job? She said the first couple of years she worked mainly on instinct and read everything she could that would guide her. She realized she needed more education to be the best and did a NCS course in NY. She felt that the course was lacking and brought nothing new to her knowledge base. She felt she could not call herself a NCS until she had the correct training. How is that for integrity?She said that while she was attending trainings and interacting with others in her field, she felt out of place.  She respected their views but realized she didn’t always share their views on newborns. So she did what she was best at—seeking out education that would enable her to be the best.I am so impressed with her continued desire to educate herself.  After the INA conference last year she became a Happiest Baby Educator. She also had become deeply interested in being a Doula and started training with a wonderful Dona International Doula. When she told her she believed “Doulas are born, not made”, she knew at last she had found her calling. She started with a passion to seek out training.  She did Labor and Postpartum Doula Trainings, she became a Lamaze Educator and completed training as a Lactation Counselor. She found a glitch when she failed one of the tests but she hasn’t given up and will continue to study “till she makes it!She said that many times as she attended trainings and interacting with others, she has felt out of place as she didn't always share some of the common beliefs others in the field held, but she respected other's points of views as she said “we're all individuals after all.”She also became a CPST. She did a seminar in Postpartum psychosis and several other webinars in many other subjects related and is currently attending an international lactation conference online.She did training as a Labor doula with Prodoula as well and is planning on doing the Sacred Pregnancy. She offers this advice:  ‘I say do your research and find the right institution that shares your vision or train with them all and find your own values”.Sometimes I get dizzy listening to her next “goal”!  She is just so amazing with her deserve to always be learning.  For example, she said she will also be training as placenta encapsulation specialist and belly binding and several other trainings this year. She does this she says “while working a lot of hours every week, trying to keep my sanity and my family together and my beloved doggies well-cared for”..She told me she feels blessed by her journey.I knew she had a bad accident in 2009 where she was told she might not walk afterwards. But after months of hard physical therapy and a cervical replacement later, she said she was happy to be standing and keep moving. In three months she was back working with a newborn even though her mobility and strength were very limited.She said that life was never be the same after her accident.  She still struggled with chronic pain. She said it was very difficult to “clean herself from pain management meds”. For a couple of years they were the reason she could keep working and moving forward as pain was excruciating.She admits she had to break some barriers as sometimes she felt judged just for been Hispanic. She felt at times the pay offered was lower than it would have been if she had not been Hispanic. Yet, rather than being bitter, she feels she can help others by continuing to break down this barrier.  Her optimism has always amazed me.She found that by offering herself as a volunteer in a Hospital, she got the opportunity to start a very intense Internship. This would lead to a part-time job preparing material for the childbirth department and she started teaching classes to expecting parents. She found she truly loved teaching. She said, “I have put my heart and soul into learning and I feel honored to be able to give back to others. I love that I can help them gain the confidence they need as new parents. We talked about our friendship and she told me I was someone she looked up to as she found me strong and honest and that we share ideas that might not be industry standard but that we stay true to ourselves. I just kept thinking, “my dear YOU are the inspiration!”I am always touched by Angelita.  We meet when I am in NY and she brings a smile to my face as we share and laugh together.  She touches my heart and makes me so proud of our profession.In closing, I asked her has she met all of her goals now. “Well, she said, I want to become a professional trainer/educator and travel to South America and other places someday. I would like to open their minds and hearts to do some things differently than what is now neonatal care.  I want to become a mother more than I want to breathe but only God knows if it will ever happen...I want to keep growing as a human being and I want to always be able to be amazed by small things.”I ask you now, are you not touched by this nanny? 
If your life has been touched by a special nanny, please send your submission to nannytransitions(at)g(mail)dot(com)