When Natasha Fogarty of St. Louis, Missouri, found out she was pregnant, she knew she wanted to breastfeed. It was something very special to her, and she wanted to have that unbreakable bond with her child. So, when she gave birth to her son Milo, that is exactly what she did. She breastfed him every single day for the first five months of his life.
“The connection that we had – anytime I could, I would just grab him and hold him,” Fogarty, 29, told People Magazine. “We would look at each other and it would be such a connection of love and joy. It was our time, it was no one else’s.”
Unfortunately, Fogarty’s breastfeeding relationship with her son had to come to an end much sooner than she had expected. She had initially wanted to breastfeed until Milo was at least a year old. The decision to stop breastfeeding wasn’t one Natasha wanted to make, but it was one that would save her life.
Fogarty recalled feeling a lump in her right breast while she was pregnant and then again as she breastfed Milo. At first, she just thought it was her milk coming in, but she soon realized that she needed to tell the doctor and get checked out.
Mom who gave up breastfeeding to battle breast cancer poses with son
— Patricia Kayla (@thetrishkayla) July 6, 2016
“I actually felt a lump on the right side [when] I was like a month from delivering [Milo], and I just thought it was my milk coming in,” Natasha told Cosmopolitan.com. “My boobs were getting lumpy and different, and I was like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to worry about it.’ I had him, and then my boobs got really engorged, [and] I forgot about it, and I started being a mom and raising my son. But every time I would breastfeed him, that particular bump would never go away. I’d push it around, thinking it was a clog, and it didn’t [budge].”
Natasha made an appointment with her obstetrician, who advised her to have an ultrasound done of the lump, which then lead to a mammogram. Following the mammogram, a biopsy of the lump was conducted, and then on June 10, she found out the heartbreaking news that she has breast cancer and would have to have a mastectomy.
“They were like, ‘You know, I hate to tell you this over the phone…’” she recalled. “It was shock and disbelief, and she starts saying all these other things, I felt like I didn’t even hear her, I couldn’t believe that was what it was.”
The next few days were full of emotion. Not only did she have to come to terms with the fact that she has breast cancer, but Natasha also had to realize that she could no longer do what she loved to do and breastfeed her son. Her doctors scheduled her mastectomy for June 27, leaving her with only two weeks to share that connection with Milo.
It was just a few days before she was scheduled to undergo surgery that Fogarty had a realization.
“I was taking a shower and looking down and thinking, ‘I’m never going to have this breast again. This breast that nourished my son,’ ” she said.
— Trending Cancer News (@cancerolizer) July 7, 2016
Fogarty immediately posted a message on Facebook asking if there was anyone who would be willing to take pictures of her nursing. One of her friends from high school, Kari Dallas, of Vintage Lens Photography in St. Louis, Missouri, responded to her post and offered to shoot the photos for free.
“It was so amazing,” she said. “That is what I wanted — not only be able to remember breastfeeding, but the last day I was breastfeeding my son.”
Nearly a week later, Natasha shared the touching photos in the Facebook group, “Breastfeeding Mama Talk.”
“Sunday I decided to have a photo shoot to remember my last day breastfeeding. 2:05 am on Monday as my son fell asleep on my boob I was sad, but it was peaceful,” she wrote in the post. “I was lucky to be able to cherish the last week of our breastfeeding journey.”
Fogarty is now recovering from her mastectomy, and she will soon start her 24 weeks of chemotherapy in hopes of becoming cancer-free. Even though his mother won’t be able to breastfeed, Milo will still receive a healthy diet of breast milk thanks to her friends who offered to donate.
“Milo won’t take formula, so my really close friends donated their breastmilk to me,” she explained. “It’s really amazing, the love and support they gave me. I couldn’t do it without my friends and family.”
[Photo via Shutterstock]