Mom Amy Anderson lost her son when she was 20 weeks pregnant. It was an experience that devastated her and her husband, who grieved for the loss of their son, Bryson. Rather than bind her breasts as the doctors had suggested to stop further lactating, Anderson decided to pump her milk to donate it to the babies in need in honor of Bryson.
Amy Anderson became pregnant in 2010. She and her husband, Bryan, were overjoyed to be having another little bundle of joy to add to their family. However, when Amy was 15 weeks pregnant, the doctors discovered that Bryson had developed a lower urinary tract obstruction. Although he fought for his life over the next month, Bryson eventually succumbed to the obstruction, and his parents found out he had died on Oct. 28, 2010. Two days later, Amy gave birth to her stillborn son.
Bryson isn’t the only baby the Andersons have lost. Over the past eight years, Amy and Bryan have lost three other babies to miscarriages, Today reports. Since Amy was able to hear Bryson’s heartbeat and feel him move inside her, she felt the greatest connection to him and wanted to make sure he was remembered. Therefore, on November 3, Amy decided to start pumping her breast milk. While she admits she wasn’t sure what she would do with the milk at the time, she eventually did some research on donating milk and discovered the huge need for it.
Beautiful woman. ‘I turned tragedy into a blessing’: Mom who suffered miscarriage spent eight months exp… https://t.co/pih1zqx10g
— Katee Sackhoff (@kateesackhoff) December 3, 2015
“No one prepared me for what would happen to my breasts after Bryson was born,” Amy told the Philly Voice. “In fact, I was told that it was way too early for breast milk to be produced by my body. But this was a horrible misconception. Within a couple days after delivering Bryson, my milk came in. My rock-hard chest was throbbing, and milk saturated everything. No one suggested the option of donating Bryson’s milk.”
Although Amy knew she wasn’t supposed to pump, she said pumping gave her a sense of relief from the pain in her chest, and also comforted her, so she continued to do it.
“As I expressed the milk, a real sense of calm descended,” she continued. “I felt a powerful closeness to my Bryson, which reminded me how much I loved the breastfeeding relationship I had shared with my eldest son. Pumping milk in Bryson’s memory felt so very right. All life has meaning, and my son’s life was no different. I decided to embrace his life’s purpose.”
Not only did Amy pump for eight months straight, which allowed her to produce 92 gallons of breast milk to donate, she also took the opportunity to challenge the “Break Time for Nursing Mothers Law” to also include surrogate and bereaved moms. Amy said she had asked her former employer if she could take regular breaks to express her milk and was told, “Your baby is dead.” Amy immediately quit the job and has been fighting for the terminology in the law to include all lactating mothers. Amy recently heard back from a state legislator, who has offered to help her.
Mom of stillborn donates milk: Amy Anderson donates almost 350 litres of breast milk to help others https://t.co/SFj3BKUaKm
— canadajournal (@canadajournalm) December 6, 2015
“These words stung like a second grief. Whether or not I had a baby, I was a lactating woman with physical needs,” she said. “As Bryson’s mother, it is such an honor to have this opportunity to bring support and advocacy to mothers faced with lactation following the devastation of baby loss.”
Amy created a Facebook page called “Donating Through Grief: Bryson’s Legacy” to document her journey to help babies in need and make the laws applicable to all mothers, whether they have their child in their arms or not.
[Photo via Shutterstock]