The loss of a child is one of the most devastating experiences a parent can go through. Remember the mom who went through 6 miscarriages before dazzling the world with an incredible “rainbow baby” maternity shoot? How about the man who burst into tears when his wife told him she was pregnant after 17 years of trying, 4 miscarriages, and a stillbirth?
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After suffering both a stillbirth and– one year later– the loss of her baby after only 11 days, one mom in California decided to respond to this difficult situation in a way that is touching hearts everywhere… .
Ariel Matthew is Mom to a healthy 3-year-old son named Noah. Last year– on Christmas Day– Ariel had a stillborn baby boy named Cayden. A month later, she became pregnant with another son named Ronan. When he was born, he was immediately taken to the NICU where he passed away 11 days later.
In response to these repeated heartbreaks, Ariel decided to do something selfless and loving for mothers of healthy children who needed milk… she’d donate her own.
“My milk was going to come in anyways, so I wanted to make good use of it,” explained Ariel. “Even if pumping is exhausting.”
But Ariel’s choice wasn’t just for the other moms and babies out there who would benefit, it was in memory of her lost son.
“When Ronan passed, it just felt like the right thing to do. He got to share his gift even if he wasn’t here,” she said. “The only reason I was able to donate was because of Ronan. I just wanted to share his gift.â€
“I got the honor of helping other babies have full bellies,”she said. “[The moms] would send me pictures of the babies right after drinking my milk, all passed out and full. So that was really cool.â€
Between both her pregnancy with Cayden and Ronan, Ariel donated a total of 2,801 oz. of milk. That’s over 175 lbs… more than Ariel weighs!
“I’ve always wanted to inspire people but never knew this would be the reason why. If my story is bringing hope, and light, I couldn’t be more happy.â€
A photo posted by Ariel Matthews (@little_mermaid_13) on
Her story is especially meaningful to other moms who have lost babies.
“I feel like child loss is something that used to be more hush-hush. I believe it should be well known what women have to go through. If anything I do can pick someone out of the darkness of loss, then that is something I can be proud of the rest of my life. Women should feel strong and brave for their ability to overcome something so awful. I just hope I can help.â€
I am officially done pumping. 2,370 ounces total, which is about 18.5 gallons in milk. After I pumped 1000oz I decided to keep going and set another goal, which was to pump my body weight in breast milk. I got the idea from my dad. Well, I succeeded! All those ounces come out to about 148.1 lbs., which is more than I weigh, thankfully. Thanks to my sweet Ronan I was able to bless three babies with milk. After I empty out my freezer, 2,300 of those ounces will have been officially donated. I definitely feel lucky to have been able to help babies stay healthy, and grow. With my two boys in heaven I have donated a total of 2,810 ounces. I know I donated with Noah as well, but cannot remember the exact amount. I believe it was around another 100oz. Not going to lie, it was a good feeling to be able to do this, and for mothers trusting me enough to use my milk. Oh sweet Ronan how I miss you. There are days where I wish I could relive the NICU days just to see you alive and whole. I know that isn’t possible, so I will cherish your 11 days of life in my heart forever. You were such a blessing to carry in my womb, (no matter how much I complained) I will never wish I had not. There are many things I wish, for example sibling bonding, to kiss you, to snuggle, to watch you grow, and learn. Thankfully this isn’t forever, and I will see your beautiful face again. #donated #babyboy #love #breastmilk #beauty #rainbowbaby #missed #infantloss #blessed #mommy #boymom
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