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Archive for November, 2011

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Ideas for me start out small, like a lit match in the night. It could be a passing thought, an email, an article, a tv commercial, a Facebook post. Something that lights this idea in me. Sometimes I light a candle with that idea an keep it burning for a while, waiting for the right moment to come along. Sometimes I light a small fire and show off my idea to passers-by. Sometimes, it becomes like a raging forest fire that gets out of control, consuming my mind until I can think of nothing else. (I have a few forest fires burning right now!) If you’re my close friends, you know which ideas have spawned forest fires because it’s about all I can talk about. When there is a new development, the fire jumps a road or gobbles up another tree, I call you and keep you posted. Forest fires eventually run out of fuel. In me, my ideas die down or come to fruition, glowing embers of what had burned remain to show evidence of what I’ve been up to. The fires die down. Some of my ideas last a long time and the remains of those ideas can be seen in the charred forest floor, and soon, new growth crops up. Given time to grow, it may be fuel for another future fire.

One such fire was a little out of control this morning. I did something different. Something wildly emotional. So unexpectedly emotional it caught me off-guard. Today, I donated breastmilk to a complete stranger.

I added donating breastmilk to my bucket list back in September when I had polled my Facebook friends about donating breastmilk: creepy or cool? Many commented that it was, indeed, cool. Some of you shared stories of your own experiences of donating milk or thinking about it at least! This sharing made my idea go from match to candle. I joined a Facebook page called Human Milk for Human Babies and I watched as donors were matched up with moms and babies in need. Last Friday I happened to see a mom in need post her story. She has had some difficulty nursing her 8-week old daughter despite the fact that she’s already nursed two older siblings successfully. When I read that she lived in the town I work in, my candlelight became a bonfire. I started to reach out to friends and my husband for input and support soon the fire became out of control. I found myself really wanting to help this mom out, but I was suddenly frozen with fear and doubt and an undeniable need to preserve my milk stash.

My friend Lisa told me just what I needed to hear: that my emotions were justified. That this was my milk, that I created and painstakingly pumped to sustain life for my daughter and that this hoarding tendency I was experiencing was probably normal. I gained a little courage. I also began reflecting on how my own friend Jessie used donor milk when her daughter, Ivy, was a newborn because of difficulty initiating nursing. She courageously and humbly accepted milk made by another mom at a time that it would have been easy to shut down or freak out or give up.

I ripped off the bandaid and called this mom. Reached out across the flames to connect with a stranger who was in need of something that I could give. The fire glowed brighter, jumped a road and gobbled a few trees but her courage to seek out other people’s milk further inspired me. Everything worked out in the end. I dropped off 40 ounces for her beautiful baby girl who I got to meet this morning before work. Her mom thanked me and put my milk in her freezer.

By 8:00 am I was charged by this fire of emotion. Ups and downs, fear, inspiration, nerves, pride. Now, tonight, as I packed away another 12 ounces into the freezer, I’m surrounded by the glowing embers of this magnificent fire, still warm from the day; waiting to see what will grow in its wake.

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