A grieving mother who miscarried her son at 20 weeks turned the tragic situation into an opportunity to help other babies and their families.
Amy Anderson recently told the Philly Voice that she decided to donate her breastmilk to help premature babies after she lost her own unborn son, Bryson, half way through her pregnancy in 2010. And now she wants to share the legacy of her unborn son’s tiny but meaningful life with others.
The Caribou, Maine mother said when she was 15 weeks pregnant, she learned that Bryson had a lower urinary tract obstruction, which put pressure on his tiny bladder; the morning before her appointment to schedule his surgery, Bryson died. Though she lost her son, her body still responded as if she was pregnant and she began to lactate, according to the report.
The article continues:
[Anderson said:] “Bryson’s body was delivered on Oct. 30, and the holidays that year were simply unbearable. My grief was heavy, and while I found comfort in expressing milk in his name, no one in my family dared to talk about my baby. However, that is actually what I needed the most.
“A mother’s love is a mother’s love regardless of whether or not her child lives or dies.”
She began to research and quickly discovered there was a great need for donor breast milk, especially with regard to the best practices of care employed to save the lives of prematurely born babies.
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“Because Bryson was so early, my milk was deemed ‘preterm breast milk’ and was very nutrient-rich. In fact, it was considerably healthier than full-term breast milk, as my body made it to sustain the life of a significantly premature baby. It is normal practice for the milk bank to combine the milk of three or more donors, but they kept Bryson’s milk separate and gave it to the highest of high-needs babies…
Anderson pumped and donated 92 gallons of milk in eight months, as a tribute to her son, according to the article. She said she takes comfort in knowing that because of Bryson, other babies’ lives are being saved.
Now, she volunteers for the breastmilk donation group Mother’s Milk Bank Northeast and is working to become a lactation consultant, the article states. She said she also is dedicated to sharing her story and her son’s legacy in the hopes of helping other families avoid the heartbreak of losing a baby.
Stories like baby Bryson’s are a beautiful testimony to the value of every human life, no matter how short. His mother recognized that. The young mother of two living children and four “angel babies,” spoke strongly about how meaningful her son’s life was, even though he never lived outside the womb. Through her grief, she said she learned to see how her son’s short life was a blessing to so many others.
“Pumping milk in Bryson’s memory felt so very right,” Anderson said. “All life has meaning, and my son’s life was no different. I decided to embrace his life’s purpose.”