One conversation with a stranger can change your life. (When your life is changed, you can change the lives of those around you.)
We have been recently visiting my family back in Czech Republic and took a trip to Český Krumlov (a UNESCO Heritage town, a must visit if you ever get to go in that direction 🙂 . We stayed in a small B&B and one day when my toddler took longer to wake up, I waited for him to finish his breakfast while others went to get ready for the day. We were the only people left in the kitchen aside for the “breakfast lady”. So we started talking. About kids, obviously, that’s what mothers do (here comes a stereotype, but let’s face it… that’s what mothers really do 😉 ). She said she had three kids, but then added something that sounded a little strange. Something along the lines “We had only two kids, but then fate wanted us to have the third one.”
And I had to take a sip of tea, you know, that sip you take when you’re having breakfast with a stranger and they say something you need to replay in your head without them knowing you are hitting the rewind button. That sentence could have meant so many things…
She must have sensed what was going through my mind and asked: “Did you breastfeed?”
“Well, yes, we’re actually still breastfeeding. My family is making fun of me, that I will have to follow my son to his university, so he could get his daily milk!” (Aditya is more than 2,5 years old.)
“I breastfed my first child for 1,5 years, but with the second one I got some nasty infection and had to be on a course of antibiotics, so I had to stop breastfeeding when he was less than one month old. By the time I was off antibiotics, my milk has disappeared,” she continued. (She was about my mother’s age and from what I remember my mother telling me about her pregnancy and the times when I was a toddler, women didn’t have access to breast pumps and other things that would have taken care of the situation now.) Very sadly, she continued her story: “He used to get sick a lot, but it wasn’t suspicious until he was about 3 years old, when doctors diagnosed him with some rare blood disease. He had to get lots of blood transfusions and spent lengthy time in various hospitals, doctors weren’t sure, how long he had to live. When he was almost 5 years old, the doctors lots all hope and told us, he had about a year, maybe a little more to live, but he wouldn’t make it past 7 years of age in the best predictions…”
By this time I was hoping for a happy end, some miracle, if you understand.
“Someone told me, that breast milk might make his condition better. But where to get it from? So me and my husband decided to try for another baby and God granted our wishes and I got pregnant with our third baby. When she was born, I breastfed her and then our 6 year old son, too. It was very weird at times to nurse such a big boy, but I saw it as the only option.”
She nursed her son together with her small daughter for nearly a year, and within that time his blood test were coming back better and better! By the end of that pivotal year, his condition improved so much, that the doctors always took his blood for testing twice – they couldn’t believe in such turn of events and were astonished by the reason behind his betterment. He continued to improve and by the time he was 18 years old, he didn’t need any transfusions and special medical treatment any more. Breast milk was the miracle that saved this mother’s son’s life.
She smiled finishing her story: “He’s in his thirties now and has a family of his own. Sometimes he tells me ‘Mom, I remember how you were breastfeeding me’. It still feels incredible we saved his life by having another baby.”