Mother of Stillborn Son Donates 16 Gallons of Breast Milk: 'It Gave Me A Purpose'
This grieving mother donated more than 16 gallons of breast milk after she gave birth to a stillborn son, hoping to turn her personal tragedy into hope.
"I wanted to turn something tragic into something good," Wendy Cruz-Chan of New York told InsideEdition.com
Cruz-Chan was 19 weeks pregnant with her son, Killiam, when she suffered a rare uterus infection that caused her baby to be stillborn.
"All I have of him are his ashes in his urn," Cruz-Chan told InsideEdition.com. "I can't dress him, I can't play him, I can't watch him grow. As a mother, it breaks me. It hurts me deeply."
As she was leaving the hospital, she recalled that her breasts were still extremely engorged, and the milk ducts were developing. That's when she and her husband decided she would begin pumping, and donate the breastmilk to babies in need.
"Even though I cannot personally breastfeed my own son, I wanted to do something in his name," she explained. "That's all I can do for him."
She said she turned to social media, and tried to connect with new mothers who were in need of donated breastmilk.
Cruz-Chan, who is a doula, also reached out to the community of other doulas to see which parents need extra milk.
One of the many children she's been helping was diagnosed with Epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a rare skin disease that causes blisters on the skin.
That child has been making steps towards better health since drinking Cruz-Chan's breast milk.
"Through donating, it gave me a purpose," Cruz-Chan explained. "It helped me not be in such a deep depression."
In the beginning, she told herself that she would pump for three months, but when she reached 1,000 ounces, or nearly 8 gallons, of breastmilk in two months, she was determined to double her goal the following month.
"I'm just so proud of my boobs," she laughed.
Cruz-Chan said she's started weaning her breasts from producing milk after hitting her goal, but wants to continue to help other women by spreading awareness, and normalizing donated breastmilk.
She also wants to raise money to put proper equipment in hospitals for other stillborn babies.