RAF MILDENHALL, England --
As newly minted mothers make their way back into the workforce, one of the toughest dilemmas they face is finding a private lactation space.
Fortunately, for the new mothers in the 100th Communications Squadron, an old supply room has been officially designated as the Mothers’ Room. The private space allows nursing moms to have a secluded lactation area available whenever they may need it. However, there was one thing missing – ambiance.
That’s where Nadja Ellis took the initiative during her winter break.
“I was asked to paint the walls of the Mothers’ Room because it didn’t really look welcoming, so I decided to paint a mural,” said Ellis, daughter of Senior Master Sgt. Lanora Waldron, 100 CS acting first sergeant.
For the Mothers’ Room mural, Ellis said she chose to make it feel like it was out of a children’s picture book to hopefully inspire happy and calming thoughts. Each wall of the room is different, with paintings of a tiger and her cub, a mother crane and her young, and a cherry blossom tree.
“When I first walked into the room, I had the baby in my hands and she looked up at the pink flowers and started smiling and talking to them,” said Master Sgt. Christina Kelly, 100th CS first sergeant and new mother, currently on maternity leave.
When reflecting on the progress of the room, Kelly said it was nothing compared to what the room has become. There used to be shelving in the room with not much space to pump, but now it’s bright and welcoming. “It’s a beautiful creation and I was so happy when I saw it,” she said.
Ellis said she hoped providing mothers a more relaxed and happier environment will help facilitate the lactation process. So far, she has done just that.
When Ellis is not volunteering her time or visiting family in England, she is studying interior design at Valdosta State University, Georgia.
“I’ve been drawing since a young age, but I started seriously drawing about 10 years ago,” Ellis said. “Art is part of interior design, and this project is helping me get better at painting and drawing all together.”
As the new college semester starts up and Ellis returns to Valdosta State University, her volunteer effort will allow mothers on Mildenhall to enjoy a more peaceful and private atmosphere when motherhood duties call.