A Letter to Breastmilk Donors
To the breast milk donors in Central Florida and beyond,
My freezer is full of Ziploc bags bursting with pouches of milk, donated by you.
When I take a few to thaw them, I count the ounces to match the clean bottles. I set the pouches in a large blue bowl to rest in a hot bath. Sometimes I smile because your significant other wrote you a little note in black permanent marker. I read, “Last pump of 2019!” and giggle because the staggered handwriting is cute.
The breast milk that fills my baby’s bottles is unique, just like the women who pumped it. Sometimes it is white, like cow’s milk. Other times it has a tinge of yellow. I see the fatty nutrients building up at the top of the pouch and thank God that He made us the way He did. Our bodies are full of what our babies need.
Your bodies have given me the chance to still give my baby the milk that she needs. She did not come from my body and I can’t make my own milk.
For five years, my body has rejected the design of its Creator and decided instead to rule me infertile.
I have never been pregnant. I have never known the urge to pee multiple times in the night, or throw up because of a tiny life growing in my womb. I didn’t have a gender reveal party or a baby shower where others giggled and measured my bulging waist to win a prize. When we announced the baby coming to join our family, my husband didn’t hold up his hands like a heart around my growing belly. I never got to hold up a “Prego” spaghetti sauce bottle as our baby announcement, something I’ve always dreamed of doing.
The tears I have cried have been that of desperation to grow my family, to become a mother, to move on to a new stage as a 30-year-old woman married nearly a decade.
When our open adoption match came through, I had less than three weeks to prepare for a newborn. Feeling unprepared for a newborn, I scrambled, frantic to learn and know as much as possible about all the millions of things that accompany adoption, birth, motherhood, babies.
But the one thing I knew I needed more than anything was milk for my child.
Panic set in as the due date loomed. The birth mother was sure to deliver at any moment and I had nothing to feed my coming baby. I read that the hospital would provide formula, but I wasn’t sure how many bottles they would send home with us.
My husband and I went to Target for a crib, and we grabbed formula in case the baby came before the due date. But then my friend helped me share the news of our adoption online, and you all flew in on fairy dust to help me.
You dropped everything to donate bag after bag after bag to fill my freezer with fresh breast milk. We were desperate. We needed nourishment and none of you took advantage of us or ignored us. You spread out your arms and gave from what you had.
I was in shock.
I couldn’t believe that complete strangers would give from their wealth, from their stash, from their bodies; such rich and beautiful liquid gold of nutrients for my newborn.
When Eden came home, I was delirious with the trauma of a weekend in the hospital with the birth family. It had been a long few days of taking care of our baby without being recognized as the parents until the final papers were signed. We were mentally exhausted already, from the great lengths we had gone to become a family.
Thank you doesn’t seem good enough.
You gave me something that I couldn’t do myself. You not only saved me financially from purchasing formula for a very hungry and growing little girl, but you saved me spiritually by showing me the tangible love of God.
Thank you just doesn’t feel big enough.
But it’s what I have.
My heart cries at the relief that washes over me from your generosity. When I open the freezer and see what others have done for me without one spot of expecting anything in return, I am humbled. I am amazed at my selfishness when all of you have been so selfless.
Your 3 am pumping sessions do not go unnoticed.
Your weariness and exhaustion, sore bodies and salty tears are not overlooked.
You have not forgotten me so I refuse to forget you.
How blessed are your children to have mothers who not only pour out to them, but strangers in the community who need help. Their mothers are strong women who know it is better to give than to receive, and will teach them those powerful values.
Is this thank you good enough?
Will you forgive me for not being able to give you more?
Your beauty has bolstered me to stand up and be strong when I am weak. Your generosity has encouraged me to stop counting what I deserve and instead give, give, give, until it hurts. Your kindness has stretched from one end of the rainbow to the other, blessing me with bursting color, bright hope and endless love.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
From one mama to another.