There's no perfect prescription for dealing with the loss of a child. Every parent will grieve differently. But Jennifer Coias has found a way to cope with saying goodbye to son Jude that's particularly beautiful. She's helping other moms sustain their babies with donations of her breast milk.
Coias, an American mom living in Brazil, is known by many parents on the Internet for her natural parenting articles: from her passion about ending circumcision to co-sleeping advocacy. But last month word began to spread about her for another reason. On September 15, she delivered her son, Jude Mateo, via an HVBAC (home vaginal birth after C-section). Jude was stillborn, something the Coias family knew two weeks prior to his arrival. But like the bodies of so many moms who lose a child early on, Jennifer's has continued to produce breast milk.
And Jennifer decided she could use that milk to help other babies: babies whose moms can't produce enough or are unable to breastfeed for some reason, babies who don't have their biological mom and her milk available, any baby really who's working with a human milk bank at a Brazilian hospital. The kids are getting the results of the seven to eight pumpings that Coias is doing daily. Her donations compose HALF of all the hospital's bank gets, and hers is the highest in calories and fat (that's the good stuff for babies). According to her reports on Facebook, before she started donating, the hospital had to ration out the milk for only the "sickest and smallest of the NICU babies." Now they have enough to feed every NICU baby with human milk.
With son Noah at home and son Jude to grieve for, Jennifer's strength is astounding. She could have given up on this a long time ago, but nearly a month in, she's increasing her milk supply and sending out bag after bag of milk. The Coias family has put together an incredible tribute for their son.
Want to help her keep going? She needs milk bag donations, which can be sent to Jennifer Coias, Unit 7500, Box 1381, DPO, AA 34030-1381. A PayPal account has also been set up to cover the costs of services for Jude and her birth bill.
Have you ever donated breast milk?
Image via Daquella manera/Flickr