There have been many instances throughout the existence of my blog that I have spoken about how writing is a therapeutic saving grace.
Writing has guided me through many occasions of growth and of loss. Loss of animals, loss of friends, loss of my job and is now helping me heal through the loss of a child.
After Willa was born, my nurse (also a mother of loss) warned me that although my baby was “gone” my milk would still “come in.”
As a woman who just lost their child you automatically think about what a cruel reminder something so absolutely precious suddenly became. How could it be that what your heart and mind knew, could have such disconnect from your body?
I remember waiting for three excruciatingly long days for the let down, for the physical reminder of my tragic loss. I say “I remember” like this event in my life was so long ago, but that’s because to me, the past two and a half weeks have felt like two and a half years.
Throughout the days between Willas birthday and the day my milk finally came in, I received an overwhelming amount of questions pertaining too “drying up, pumping, leakage, mastitis, lactation tea & nursing bras”. It was Chad, a man who just so happens was also elected into this “club” that we never asked to join, whom let the words “donation” mutter across his lips.
Directly after undergoing a loss all you can think about is ridding the emotional pain, trying to find a way to feel something, anything at all but all you feel is numb.
You don’t want constant reminders of what should have been. To me, pumping my milk and storing it in the freezer would be a constant reminder of the baby whom I was supposed to nourish, of the bonding time that I so longed for and a reminder of the most cherished moments that I got to spend with Oak but wouldn’t get with Willa. At first when Chad suggested donating my milk I instantly became defensive and stated that I just wanted to “dry up”. It took me a day to think about it and I came to the realization that if I was a mama who didn’t have enough milk to provide to her baby, had a child in the NICU, had an adopted baby etc that I would be so grateful for healthy human milk for my baby. When I came to terms with my personal decision, I also decided that Willa would be happy to share what should have been hers with someone who needed it most.
So three days after our sweet Willa was born the hard process of pumping started. You don’t do it for praise or to feel like a hero, you do it because it feels so right. It was also on that third day that I realized pumping my milk was just as much for me, as it was for the baby who would receive it. There is absolutely nothing in the world that can fully heal the heart of a mother who has lost a child, not time, not another baby, not well wishes from others etc. But there are some things that can make it less painful and for me in this instance, in this second week since losing my baby, therapy in the form of writing and donating Willas milk are two.
To the Babies,
Ps. if you live in Alberta and are a healthy mama you can donate your breast milk VIA a facebook group called “Human Milk 4 Human Babies-Alberta” HM4HB