Faith Over Fear – My Favorite Donor Milk Story
I want to share an experience with you all that moved me to tears and yesterday and perhaps, may move you to tears as well. You see, one of the things that I was the most scared to try and do with Wilder has turned out to be one of the most profound forms of connection and favorite things about parenting. And to think, I almost didn’t do it and changed my mind because I was scared. I was scared of failing but instead, I’ve flourished.
As someone who had a double mastectomy (aka top surgery) nine years ago, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to produce enough milk from my body to be able to feed Wilder. Part of my own healing process around that was deciding to feed Wilder 100% donor milk after birth. What this means, is that other people would pump breastmilk for us and then donate it to Wilder. For over a year now, Wilder has been fed 100% breastmilk from other parents and there is no end in sight.
This journey of feeding donor milk has created a connection to the parenting community in a way that I deeply needed during the pandemic. Some of the kindness that has come from people donating milk to the people who have helped transport it half a country away, have been heart altering. Wilder has been fed from 42 different donors from across five different states. This next story I’m about to share, is the one that left me with goosebumps yesterday and reminded me of all the reasons to walk through fear and to have faith.
Throughout our journey receiving donor milk, one donor has always stuck with me and is often a story I will share with others. When Wilder was three months old, we received a donation from a mama who’s three month old was in the NICU with a rare genetic disorder and wasn’t anticipated to come home. She decided to donate all of the milk that her baby wasn’t eating to help other families. Her milk helped Wilder thrive, while her baby simply survived. I remember when she handed me the grocery bag full of milk and her energy transferred to mine, it was as if I could hear her say in a desperate voice, “please, please enjoy this for us.” Honestly, I cried on the way home and it still breaks my heart to think about to this day.
Fast forward one year later to yesterday. I was scrolling Facebook and noticed her name pop up in our local Human Milk for Human Babies group and my heart sank. Her baby was still in the hospital and now, he was in need of milk. Due to health complications, they were having to put him back on breastmilk but she was no longer producing. So now, in addition to the stress of having a baby with a rare genetic disorder who has lived their entire precious life in a hospital, she has to source milk as a nonnative English speaker. I could hear the desperation in her voice and immediately knew what I was going to do next; exactly what she had done for me.
Yesterday we were able to pull enough milk to get her through a few worry free weeks and connected to a regular donor who can feed her baby ongoing. The gratitude expressed from her can’t be captured with words but the feelings are familiar. Yesterday we dropped milk off at the same house we picked it up from a year before.
Do you believe in karma? I do. I believe that when we put good energy out we are met with it and when we do the next right thing, then the universe sends us that in return.
This is just one of the profound and beautiful connections that I’ve made as a result of feeding donor milk. And to think, I almost didn’t do it because I was scared of trying something new. Here’s to trying something new today and having more faith than fear.
Danny (& Wilder)