I’d love to be a part of the project because, while I’ve been a nursing mama, I’ve never experienced the joy and bond of nursing my own baby. -Olive’s mama.
From November, 2015: My breastfeeding journey began after my daughter was born last July. She was born unresponsive and taken immediately to Children’s Hospital where they were able to stabilize her for the next 36 hours until her passing. Her death was unexpected. I was asked to start pumping while she was in the NICU and was able to give them some colostrum for her. I pumped the short time we were there and then we went home, with empty arms and empty hearts.
The next morning my milk had come in. I had a choice. I got the pump out and began pumping. At the time I didn’t know who the milk was for, I just knew that it felt right. For the next month I pumped several times each day and stored the milk in my freezer. One evening I saw a plea on Facebook where a mother was asking for milk for her infant son. I responded immediately and a few days later delivered her what I had. While my breastfeeding journey only lasted a month, it was a powerful month and one that made me realize the importance of breastfeeding – regardless of whose baby I was feeding.
With my third child due (I miscarried my second and never had milk come in) in about 8 weeks I pray that he and I will be able to have the breastfeeding journey I long for. I intend to exclusively breastfeed until I have to return to work, but plan to pump when I’m able and feed him from the breast the rest of the time. While my breastfeeding journey was nothing like I intended, I felt very supported when I was pumping. It wasn’t something that I was very open about at first, but my husband and family knew that I felt strongly that, while I wasn’t sure what I would end up doing with the milk, I wanted to keep pumping. I am certain that I’ll be supported this time around as well.
Shortly after my daughter passed I started blogging about our journey and have since become an advocate for infant and pregnancy loss. I’d love to be a part of the project because, while I’ve been a nursing mama, I’ve never experienced the joy and bond of nursing my own baby. I want to be able to be a voice (or face) to other loss parents to help them to see the joy that can still be experienced in this lifetime – specifically after the loss of a child. Many loss parents struggle with connecting to their rainbow babies. I know it’s something I fear. We specifically found out the gender of this baby (we hadn’t known with the others) so that I could begin the process of bonding with him before he made his appearance. I know that breastfeeding will be extremely emotional for me, but it’s something I’m looking forward to so much. If you’d like to learn more about our journey, feel free to visit my blog, Olive and Her Branches.
Breastfeeding has been one of the hardest things I’ve done, but it’s also been healing. I look at my son and realize I’m doing more than nourishing him- and he’s doing more than just eating. We’ve connected in a beautiful way, where we both need each other. Parenting after loss is an emotional roller coaster. Finding room in my heart for both children has been easier than I thought it would be. I’m saddened that I never got to experience this connection with my daughter, but love the quiet moments with my son where memories of her flood my heart. Moments that I find myself telling him her story and connecting more to her through my bond with him.