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When Amy Anderson lost her newborn Bryson in 2010 when she was 20 weeks pregnant, she was numb. As she grieved the passing of her stillborn son, her body continued to produce milk that Bryson would have used for nourishment if he had lived.
But instead of taking Sudafed and binding her breasts to suppress lactation as her doctors recommended, Anderson did the opposite, Fox 5 Atlanta reported. The Caribou, Maine woman let her body take its natural course, and then she donated her breast milk to other preterm children like little Bryson, who lost his life Oct. 30, 2010 after suffering a lower urinary tract infection in utero.
"Though [preterm breast milk donation] not the best choice for everyone, it can help to foster healing and gratitude in an otherwise dark and desolate time," Anderson, 34, told Fox5Atlanta.com.
While miscarriages and stillbirths carry a stigma among many women, Anderson has been vocal about the loss of not only her son Bryson but also her children Joey Skylor, Bean, and SweetPea on Facebook and shared her story in an October 2015 article for Mother’s Milk Bank Northeast (MMBNE).
Fox5Atlanta.com reported that Anderson, who is the mother of two living children ages 8 and 2, pumped for eight months and donated about 92 gallons of breast milk that went to the MMBNE and was distributed to five U.S. states and three countries. She pointed out her breast milk is healthier than full-term breast milk because it contains the fat, protein and nutrient content that preterm babies need.
"Pumping milk in Bryson’s memory felt so very right,” she told the news station.
She made her last preterm breast milk donation in person in June 2011, but she has since advocated for the right of grieving mothers to also consider donation in spite of any taboos.
"I've shed tears reading beautiful stories of other bereaved moms completing acts in honor of their angels, shared in heartbreak for those moms regretting missed opportunities, and offered information and references to professionals seeking knowledge about this unique form of ‘organ donation,’” Anderson told Fox5Atlanta.com. “It warms my heart to have others acknowledge my Bryson's brief yet beautiful life and to know that we are making a difference in the world.”