Every now and then we receive emails like the one below. These are Kim’s words. We are thankful that she has reached out to us to share her story. Often when we receive these kinds of emails and we are left in tears. Mostly though, we are thankful that moms like Kim have the chance to find healing through donating their breast milk and providing another families’ Aaren with a chance for survival.
Kim’s Story: Aaren’s Milk
On 1/12/13, I delivered my son Aaren @ 38 weeks and he was stillborn. It came as a complete shock as I had a healthy pregnancy and 3 other healthy children. I went in for a routine check up and there was no heartbeat. I refused an autopsy and don’t know why it happened.
I’m a very strong advocate of breastfeeding and decided to still go ahead and pump my milk and donate it. I’m able to pump 30 ounces a day. **I donated 3 weeks worth to a local baby that has a rare skin disease and only takes breast milk. I’m also donating some to a friend who is back to work and worried about keeping her supply up. Finally, I’m donating the rest to the Indiana Mothers' Milk Bank because I want to be able to help preemies too. My other son is 17 months and I’ve been giving him 5 oz a day as well.
Pumping my milk is more healing than I thought it would be. I do it 4 times a day for 10 minutes. Those 40 minutes have become very precious to me. It allows me to reflect upon everything that has happened, cry, and pray. It’s very therapeutic to have something positive come from such a traumatic event. When I first started I gave myself the goal of 6-8 weeks. I think I have no problems making it to 8 weeks, but I just hope I can stop when I’m ready and at peace with it. Since this is my last physical connection to my baby, I don’t want it to become an obsession and turn into a ”weird” thing.
I hope you or someone you know never has to experience this kind of loss, but if you do, please keep my story of breast milk donation in mind. From people I’ve talked to and the stories and books I’ve read, it’s not really talked about or even suggested and I hope that can change.
I have 2 more weeks to reach my goal of 8 weeks and then I’ll start to wean myself off from the pump. In total, I will have donated over 1500 ounces of breast milk, which is equivalent to 12 gallons! I wish more than anything in this world that I would have been able to give my milk to my precious baby, Aaren, but I feel blessed to be able to do the next best thing by giving it to babies in need.
If you or someone you know has experienced a loss, there are resources available. The Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank accepts any amount of breast milk from bereaved families and memorializes these gifts with a leaf on a tree that hangs in our office. We also have a private Facebook chat groups where bereaved moms can connect. For more information about how to become a human milk donor, please click here. Kim, Thank you for your brave words! Our hearts are with you and your family!
**The Federal Drug and Food Administration and the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank do not recommend the sharing or consuming of breast milk shared between individuals.