Wendy Cruz-Chan was heartbroken when her son Killian was stillborn at 19 weeks after a rare uterus infection.
“All I have of him are his ashes in his urn,” Cruz-Chan told InsideEdition.com. “I can’t dress him, I can’t play him, I can’t watch him grow. As a mother, it breaks me. It hurts me deeply.”
But even though her son didn’t make it, her body was still producing milk. A doula, Cruz-Chan knew that there were babies out there that needed her milk, and so, three days after losing Killian, she and her husband agreed that she should pump and donate her breast milk.
“Even though I cannot personally breastfeed my own son, I wanted to do something in his name”
Her goal was to pump and donate 2,000 ounces. After pumping every 3-4 hours—day and night—for three months, she reached her goal, donating 2,038.
“Even though I cannot personally breastfeed my own son, I wanted to do something in his name,” she explained. “That’s all I can do for him.”
On the next page: read more about how Cruz-Chan paid tribute to her stillborn son’s memory by helping other babies.
To find new mothers in need of milk, Cruz-Chan turned to social media and her network of other doulas. One of the babies who’s receiving her milk has Epidermolysis bullosa, a skin disease characterized by blisters on the skin. Since drinking Cruz-Chan’s breast milk, the child has been getting healthier.
“Pumping every 3-4 hours a day including nights was very tiring,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “But it was so worth it. Seeing those babies thriving from my milk really helped me through my healing process.”
Part of the reason why Cruz-Chan was so determined to pick herself up and move forward was to set a good example for her 5-year-old daughter Ariya. She told Babble that she didn’t want Ariya to see her get lost in her grief.
“Seeing those babies thriving from my milk really helped me through my healing process”
“Pumping has helped me put my grief into concentrating on the moms who need my help,” she told Babble. While she pumped, Cruz-Chan would look at photos of the babies she would donate her breast milk to.
Though Cruz-Chan is starting to slow down her breasts’ milk production, she hopes that her story will help in normalizing breast milk donation.
“I wanted to show that even after a tragic stillbirth, you can turn that into something positive and inspire those around you,” she wrote in her Facebook post. “Through my grief I evolved and learned to pull myself out of the darkness.”
READ: Husband fulfills wife’s dying wish to keep breastfeeding their baby
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