After her son was stillborn, this mom pumped enough milk to feed 6 babies.

Wendy Cruz-Chan was only 19 weeks pregnant with her son Killian when she was diagnosed with a rare uterine infection that led to him being stillborn.

Photo via Wendy Cruz-Chan.

While she was still reeling, emotionally devastated by the loss, Cruz-Chan noticed that her body was still preparing for a baby. Her breasts were so engorged they were leaking.


Determined not to let the negative feelings get her down, she decided to do something positive: She would donate her breast milk to moms with babies in need.

"I felt like my job being his mother was not done," says Cruz-Chan over the phone. "I needed to do more. I couldn’t dress him. I couldn’t hold him more. I couldn’t feed him and watch him grow. I needed to do something more to fulfill my purpose as a mother."

Cruz-Chan's husband supported her plan, and together, they started pumping and storing for moms and babies in need.

As a doula, Cruz-Chan already had connections to local new mom groups online, so she simply reached out and told them she had milk to spare.

A whole lot of it.

Photo via Wendy Cruz-Chan.

The process of getting the milk was exhausting. They were often up in the middle of the night relieving her swollen breasts — a common reality facing women who lose their babies.

In the end, however, Cruz-Chan says it was worth it.

After three months of pumping, she was able to donate 2,038 ounces (almost 16 gallons) of milk to six babies who needed it.

Photo via Wendy Cruz-Chan.

"Looking at those babies’ faces I was helping warms my heart," said Cruz-Chan. "It makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something. Like I’m doing something to make sure my son’s milk is being used with lots of love."

There are many reasons why it might be more difficult for some moms to breastfeed than others. One baby in particular, named Mackenzie, who has a genetic disorder called epidermolysis bullosa (EB), especially benefited from Cruz-Chan's donation. As a result of EB, Mackenzie's skin is very fragile and she often breaks out in blisters. Cruz-Chan's milk, however, seemed to soothe her digestive track, which in turn helped calm her condition.

Cruz-Chan says the whole experience not only gave her a sense of purpose, but it also helped her grieve and mourn the loss of her son.

Now, she's raising money to get CuddleCots — beds that help preserve stillborn babies longer so parents can spend more time with them — into hospitals in New York City.

"People don’t want to talk about stillbirths, but they happen every day, and women suffer more because they feel like they can’t talk about it," she says.

October is Infant Loss Awareness Month. This is the time to be sharing stories like these to help support women and families who have lost children.

If you've recently lost a child and are looking to donate your breast milk, Cruz-Chan encourages you to reach out to your local breast milk bank or new mom and doula online communities. "Surround yourself with people who truly support your decision," she encouraged.

Helping other moms and babies may end up being the right experience to help you get closure and move forward with your life. It certainly was for Cruz-Chan.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Racist jokes are one of the more frustrating manifestations of racism. Jokes in general are meant to be a shared experience, a connection over a mutual sense of humor, a rush of feel-good chemicals that bond us to those around us through laughter.

So when you mix jokes with racism, the result is that racism becomes something light and fun, as opposed to the horrendous bane that it really is.

The harm done with racist humor isn't just the emotional hurt they can cause. When a group of white people shares jokes at the expense of a marginalized or oppressed racial group, the power of white supremacy is actually reinforced—not only because of the "punching down" nature of such humor, but because of the group dynamics that work in favor of maintaining the status quo.

British author and motivational speaker Paul Scanlon shared a story about interrupting a racist joke at a table of white people at an event in the U.S, and the lessons he drew from it illustrate this idea beautifully. Watch:

Keep Reading Show less
True

*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through links on our site.

With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

Keep Reading Show less