Breastfeeding after cancer: One brave mum’s determination to make it a reality

Everyone is talking about this amazing mum, who bravely fought cancer and insisted on keeping one breast functioning so she could feed her baby. Although she needs to return to the important medication keeping her cancer in check, this mum has relished every moment of the five months she got to spend breastfeeding.

She said " When I was diagnosed, I was afraid this moment would never come. That I'd never hold my child, feed him in my arms from my body. Now, I hope that some woman who is just being told sees this and knows….there's hope."⠀ ⠀ This powerful mama waited 7 years for this miracle child, she kept one breast so that when he arrived, she could feed him. She'll return to the medication keeping her cancer at bay in 2 weeks, giving up this precious time nursing her child. Was the 5 months worth it? Of course it was. ⠀ ⠀ Is it just a myth that our strongest women had but one breast? Amazons swinging off horseback and through the air, wild and pure. Women are warriors; women fight and nurture. Women grind their teeth, tuck their chins and lean into the storm. Women have it in their hearts and bones to continue; we must and so we will. ⠀ Photo/text by @babyrosephoto

A post shared by Motherhood Rising™ (@motherhoodrising) on

“I was afraid this moment would never come”

This brave mum, whose name isn’t revealed, says it was her dream to feed her baby from her body, and when she was told about the cancer she feared it may never come true. “When I was diagnosed [with cancer], I was afraid this moment would never come. That I’d never hold my child, feed him in my arms from my body,” she says in the post.⠀

Not only is it a miracle she was able to nurse her baby boy, she also spent seven years after her diagnosis and treatment not knowing if she’d ever be able to conceive the child she longed for. Determined to keep her dream alive, she insisted on keeping one breast so she could breastfeed. When her miracle bub did come along she was then able to mother him the way she’d hoped.

In order to be able to safely breastfeed her baby, she had to go off the medication that was keeping her cancer at bay, and was able to spend five precious months breastfeeding as a result. This photo was taken two weeks before she is due to end her breastfeeding journey and start taking her lifesaving medication once more. When asked whether it was worth it? Her answer was, “Of course it was”.⠀

So worth it

This mum says she was grateful for the five months she was able to breastfeed her precious boy, which provided him with the ultimate nourishment from her body and important bonding time for the two of them. It’s hard to imagine just how powerful (and emotional) those breastfeeding sessions must have been, given what she’s been through.

Positive accolades

This powerful photo was shared on the Motherhood Rising Instagram page. At the time of writing it has received over 7ooo likes and countless positive comments congratulating this beautiful mum, with many commenters reminding themselves of how grateful they are to be able to breastfeed their babies without limitations.

“This is so beautiful! Crying my eyes out with happiness,” wrote one.

“Incredible mama!! Nursing is such a blessing and even more so in this case wow,” shared another.

“Wow, just wow. Makes me tear up as I know what it means to myself to nurse my daughter. I am so glad this mom got this gift, maybe for not as long as she wanted, but I hope the time she did have, forever weaves a stronger bond with her son. ”

Inspiration to other women

For any other women going through cancer and wanting to be able to breastfeed their baby some day, this brave mum says she wants them to believe there is hope. “Now, I hope that some woman who is just being told [she has cancer] sees this and knows … there’s hope,” she says.⠀

Women are amazing

Not only can we create life, but we can also smash through pain and adversity. The writer who put together this mum’s story for the Motherhood Rising post, sums up her views on the power of women beautifully:

“Women are warriors; women fight and nurture. Women grind their teeth, tuck their chins and lean into the storm. Women have it in their hearts and bones to continue; we must and so we will.”

Cancer and pregnancy

Depending on the type of cancer and treatment used, it’s still possible for cancer survivors to conceive a baby and start the family they’ve always dreamed of. Your fertility specialist can help you determine whether your ovaries and eggs have been affected by the cancer treatment and what your other options are if your fertility has been compromised.

It is also possible to breastfeed after cancer, depending again on the treatment used, as some forms can affect your breast’s capacity to make milk. If you have a partial or full mastectomy on one breast, you can usually feed without issue from the other side. Talk with your GP about the options for your particular circumstances.

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