Gabriella's Breastfeeding Story
My breastfeeding journey has been one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.
I had no clue what those early days of pain, soreness, latch correcting, engorgement, and hour long nursing sessions were going to bring me and my son through.
I have not only learned about the amazing benefits of breastfeeding, but have also learned the strength and power that comes with being a mama through my own breastfeeding journey.
When my son was five months old (and five months into exclusively breastfeeding), I was diagnosed with cancer. While the focus all around me was about treating the cancer, my first response was worrying about what it meant for breastfeeding. I didn’t want to give it up, and was determined to do whatever I could to continue nursing my baby. I felt as if my body had failed me after the diagnosis, but the ability I had to continue to nourish my child with a “broken” body was nothing short of miraculous. The drive to take care of myself, so I could continue to provide milk for my son, was enough to keep me out of a dark place and allowed me to embrace the journey with courage.
I nursed my son right up until I was wheeled to the operating room to remove the cancer from my neck, and woke up from the anesthesia to my husband and a nurse pumping me. My recovery time in the hospital consisted of pumping to keep my supply up and dumping what was affected by medication.
Once I returned home, I ached to return to breastfeeding and to bond with my son. I found the crazy strength to come off pain medication and feed him immediately. I was not able to carry or lift him, but with the help of family he was placed on my chest each feeding and it was worth every ounce of unmediated pain.
He is now approaching his first birthday and we are still successfully breastfeeding. I am being monitored, but as far as we know the cancer is GONE, and while we wait to hear about treatment I will cherish every feeding (remind me of this at 2am).
It has been a blessing to be able to breastfeed my child and to experience the amazing strength we embody as mothers. It’s a beautiful gift I will never take for granted.