Saturday, August 6, 2011

World Breastfeeding Week

The first week in August is celebrated as World Breastfeeding week. Breastfeeding *may* be an issue I get a little passionate about. I'm sure you haven't noticed. I am often rather subtle. So, in case you've missed it, here are a few of the other times I've talked about it.  See, hardly ever. Subtly is one of my strengths. Second only to sarcasm.

Okay, in all seriousness, I had an experience yesterday that fits right in with World Breastfeeding Week. So, here ya go.

I've talked before about HM4HB (previously known as Eats on Feets). In this post, I shared the story of getting milk from a family whose beautiful baby boy had passed away. Yesterday, baby E, the kid and I traveled about 40 minutes from home to pick up the milk of another beautiful baby boy who passed away.

This was a different experience than the other time, but still so much the same. Different families, different cities, different assortment of people present, different length of time since the baby had passed away, different reactions the parents had to baby E, different ways of showing their grief. But, the pain in their eyes was the same. The sadness was the same. The grief was there, the same. The desire that this milk, meant for their own baby boys, be used to nourish some other child, the same. The desire for something good to come out of their horrific loss, the same. The hope, which I so admire and am in awe of, the same.  The beauty of their spirits, the same. The humbleness, and awe, and sense of responsibility I felt upon driving away with a full cooler, the same.

Last time the milk came home with us and was pretty much used completely within a few weeks. This time, the milk went to M's house (our beautiful, generous, loving sitter/friend) and filled her deep freeze to the brim, ready for baby E when he returns there next week (after having been home with hubby this summer). Last time, I found myself feeling so sad when I looked at or thought about the milk. Immensely grateful, but still sad. This time, I could feel a peace settling in on me as we filled the deep freeze. A feeling of gratefulness. While, of course, I still wish we didn't have that milk, that that sweet baby boy was still here to use it, I appreciate the strength it must have taken that mama yesterday - and the one all those months ago - to hand it over to us, trusting that it would be used with love and appreciation. I'm sure it was yet another goodbye they had to say.

So, today, I say thank you to all the mommas who milk share, for whatever reason you choose to do so. I know for some it is excruciating, for others joyful. For us, it is wrought with a mix of emotions as well. Gratefulness is what always rises to the top. Appreciation that these mommas are able to do what I am not, able to feed my child with the food God intended, the food that helps him to be so very healthy and happy. Thank you, mommas.

Today's lesson - I am again reminded that grief takes many forms and to some extent we are able to choose what those forms will be. While we are not able to control the feelings we experience, we are able to choose how we deal with the grief, able to choose to make something good come of it. Sometimes the best of us rises up in the midst of the worst experiences. My momma would probably call that grace. I think I'd agree with her.


Peg said...

The lesson today was beautifully written. Thanks for that. I'm trying to look for that grace.

Victoria said...

I am crying as I read your blog. Her story broke my heart and I had the opportunity to talk on the phone with her a few weeks ago. As the admin HM4HB~Kentucky, I have witnessed so much love from families. It has been one of the mostvrewarding experiences of my life. Thank you for being a beautiful part of it..

Camilleta said...

I think mother to mother milk-sharing is one of the best ideas ever thought of. Whether you're donating or receiving, it's a great way to help babies and support breastfeeding (and NOT support formula companies)! I just hope they don't find some way to make it illegal. I donated milk before, but I can't imagine what it would be like to donate after the loss of a child. The people that do that are just amazing.

Good for you for trying so hard to give your baby breastmilk! All the way until his first birthday too, that's great. =)

SuperMommySometimes said...

Absolutely beautiful post...

Mommy of 2 and one on the way said...

I am so glad that I was able to give the milk to another baby and even more so another baby boy. There is not much I can do for Weston any more but there are things I can do in his honor or in his name. It was such a blessing meeting you and your beautiful family