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 Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less

Former President George W. Bush and current president Donald Trump may both be Republicans but they have contrasting views when it comes to immigration.

Trump has been one of the most anti-immigrant presidents of recent memory. His Administration separated undocumented families at the border, placed bans on travelers from majority-Muslim countries, and he's proudly proclaimed, "Our country is full."

George W. Bush's legacy on immigration is a bit more nuanced. He ended catch-and-release and called for heightened security at the U.S.-Mexico border, but he also championed an immigration bill that created a guest worker program and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people.

Unfortunately, that bill did not pass.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less

I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

Keep Reading Show less

Roland Pollard and his 4-year-old daughter Jayden have been doing cheer and tumbling stunts together since Jayden could walk. When you see videos of their skills, the level of commitment is apparent—as is the supportive relationship this daddy has with his daughter.

Pollard, a former competitive cheerleader and cheer coach, told In The Know that he didn't expect Jayden to catch on to her flying skills at age 3, but she did. He said he never pressures her to perform stunts and that she enjoys it. And as a viral video of Jayden almost falling during a stunt shows, excelling at a skill requires good teaching—something Pollard appears to have mastered.

Keep Reading Show less