Episode 113: Mom Journey: Breastfeeding After Loss
Jacqueline Kincer 0:37
Welcome back to the Breastfeeding Talk Podcast. I’m your host, Jacqueline Kincer. And on today’s episode, I am going to give you just a little bit of a content warning. So we will be discussing pregnancy and infant loss on this episode. So if that is something that you do not want to listen to definitely skip this episode and just stay subscribed and check out our other ones. But on that note, I did want to bring this important conversation to the podcast. I know sometimes breastfeeding and pregnancy or infant loss seem to be two very separate conversations. And what I’m hoping is that we’ll walk away from this interview with Sarah Cox, who I will tell you a bit more about just in a moment with an understanding of how both of those things can work together. And I find it really important. I’ve supported some clients through this either, you know, trying to donate their milk in and pump it and keep lactating for a time after experiencing a loss. I’ve also supported some families who have decided to do the exact opposite and get rid of that milk as quickly as possible. And you will hear what Sarah has chosen to do for herself and her children.
But Breastfeeding can be this subject that I feel like is often not really addressed well within health care for someone who’s experienced loss, but even sometimes those communities as well. So Sarah Cox has been so willing to be open with her journey. And I love that she is here on the podcast today. And she’s a mother of four children. So three that are living one that isn’t heaven. And she has used her journey through infertility and loss to help other families going through the same thing, just like she’s doing today. So thank you, Sarah. She’s created the journey for Jasmine blog and social media pages that help raise awareness for infertility and pregnancy loss. She also created Project finding your rainbow. This is a traveling rainbow skirt that goes from one loss family to the next. And their stories are then shared to help raise awareness. And Sara has also created the finding hope after loss podcast to share stories and talk more about the issues surrounding both infertility and pregnancy and infant loss. So I so appreciate Sarah, sharing her experiences, and just talking about all the things including breastfeeding. So I would love for you to listen if you’ve experienced a loss yourself if this is something that, you know, you’re you’re perhaps worried about. I find what she shares to be really inspiring.
And I’m so glad that I’m able to have this conversation here on the show because you know, so many things involving Women’s Health fertility, right. Breastfeeding is just one of those many things. And I like to provide a lot of context and a lot of breath and not just focus on you know, the latch and the milk all of the time. So thank you so much for tuning in today. Grab a cup of water, grab a coffee, and let’s say hello to Sara Cox. Welcome to the show, Sarah. I’m really just so glad that you’re here today to talk to us about your experiences in all of your various birthing and mothering and breastfeeding journeys. And yeah, I would love for you to just, you know, tell our audience a little bit more about yourself and you know, anything that you’d like to share about you know, your your early days of motherhood, I guess.
Sarah Cox 4:12
Well, thank you so much for having me on today. So my name is Sarah, I just turned 36 this year. I struggled with infertility due to PCOS. So I didn’t have regular cycles when we were first trying to get pregnant. So it took a little bit longer than I would have liked. We had to go through some fertility treatment and I also did acupuncture that really helped. So we had my son, and then we had three losses after him. We had two early losses and then I had a 32 week stillbirth of my daughter Jasmine. And then after her we had our rainbow daughter and then last year we had a surprise daughter so Now we have three living children and our daughter in heaven.
Jacqueline Kincer 5:04
Oh, yeah, that’s thank you so much for sharing. And yeah, I’m so happy for you with, you know, the children you have had. And that’s wonderful. And, you know, I appreciate you sharing about your losses as well, because it’s just, it’s so important. And it happens for so many more people than we often know about. And we don’t always talk about it, right. And I understand, you know, and, and sometimes, you know, social media, right. It’s like this highlight reel of life. And so people don’t always feel called to share certain things. And certain contexts, which, you know, I can be a private person, so I get it. But this is a really important conversation because loss or not, a lot of people struggle with fertility alone. And you said you had PCOS? That’s really common with your first your son. How did that go in terms of breastfeeding? Like, did you notice any effects? Or I guess, maybe even what was your intention for breastfeeding with him?
Sarah Cox 6:06
So I had always wanted to breastfeed. And you know, my mom, she breastfed me and my brother at a time when breastfeeding was not popular. So you know, she’s always been open about her experience with me, which I think really helped me feel confident when I was going into breastfeeding. I was a little bit concerned, having PCOS, I’ve heard that sometimes people with PCOS aren’t able to breastfeed, or their milk doesn’t come in, or, you know, they just had trouble. So I kind of heard that. And so I was like, oh, you know, I may not be able to. But fortunately, it all was fine. I was able to do it. Definitely an odd feeling when he first like when you first have a baby latch, it’s like, oh, but like, but am I what am I doing? Am I doing this? Right? Am I holding them? Right? Am I, you know, it’s kind of, but then as you know, as you get used to it, I found that to be such a great bonding time with my son. And I was able to breastfeed him until he was 13 months, and he weaned himself. I was working at the time. So I was pumping during the day. And then I was feeding him whenever I was home with him. Wow, that’s so amazing that you went that long. Like, I love that. And yeah, just very cool. So I Yeah, and that he got the chance to self wean.
Jacqueline Kincer 7:34
So yeah, well, you’ve had, obviously four children. And so after him is when you experienced your first loss. Is that right?
Sarah Cox 7:43
Yes. Actually, all all three losses. were after him in between him and my and my daughter.
Jacqueline Kincer 7:50
Okay. So yeah, tell us tell us a little bit about that. And what that was like, because I imagine that you had the success of the first one, you had to do some things to to make that work for that pregnancies. So yeah, I’m just curious how how those experiences were for you.
Sarah Cox 8:10
Though, I will say I was surprised. I thought that me going through infertility was going to be the hard part, I didn’t think that I would be hit also with the lost sight of things. And I did get pregnant on my own with that first loss, but then it ended in a chemical pregnancy. So I basically had the positive test, and then just a few days later, started bleeding and it was negative. Then we did fertility treatment. Again, I did get pregnant. But when we went for the first ultrasound, they couldn’t see anything. And so I miscarried without ever, like seeing a heartbeat or the actual baby or anything. And then I actually had to have a shot of methotrexate on that one. My, they were monitoring my levels to make sure they went down, and then they started going back up. And so they couldn’t figure out if it was an ectopic pregnancy. Or if I had like retained tissue or something in the uterus, so I had to get that shot, and then had to be put on hold for three months. I wasn’t allowed to try. So then we did fertility treatment, again, that failed. I got pregnant on my own the cycle after with my daughter, Jasmine, and then we lost her at 32 weeks, she had mosaic Trisomy 13. And she had what’s called a congenital diaphragmatic hernia, which means there’s a hole in her diaphragm, and that allows all of the other organs to push up into her chest cavity, and then it compresses her lungs. So with both of those, they’re both pretty rare diagnosis is that we knew pretty early on in the pregnancy. So it was a rough pregnancy but yeah, I never saw it ending in in loss. I thought okay, we’re gonna beat this. We’re gonna you know, we’re gonna get through this and Yeah, I didn’t see that one coming.
Jacqueline Kincer 10:04
Yeah. So so if that, was there something that any of your healthcare providers said like, there’s, like a good shot, she won’t make it. Or like, cuz you said you weren’t really expecting the loss, you are expecting to have a special needs baby, right?
Sarah Cox 10:22
Yes, exactly. My first MFM said it was 5050 CDH. Babies don’t have, you know, great odds 5050. But there are specialists around the US that specifically treat CDH. And we met with one of these specialists, and he’s had really good success, you know, so we were we were expecting things to go well, she would have had to have had surgery right after birth. But then, right after we met with him, they saw some some other abnormalities on her ultrasound, and on like the MRI that I had done. So I had to go back and get an amnio with my doctor at home. That’s when we found out she also had the mosaic Trisomy 15. And so then that, you know, that kind of added an unknown, because there’s only been, I want to say it was like less than 50 cases of Mosaic Trisomy 15 in the whole world, like it’s not, they said that babies that typically had Trisomy 15, those pregnancies usually ended a miscarriage. So the fact that she had come so far, you know, I was like, well, she’s, she’s a fighter, like we’re gonna, you know, we’re gonna go get through this. And, you know, I just even though the odds were kind of unknown, I still just thought, like, you said that we have a special needs baby and medical needs baby. And I was like, Okay, I’ll do what I need to do, you know?
Jacqueline Kincer 11:48
Yeah. Wow, that that is exceedingly rare. For sure. So gosh, yeah. In terms of unknowns, right. So then, in terms of her birth, I’m curious, you know, what happened? Did you actually end up going into labor? Or just, you know, because it sounds like there was a surprise there, or was there a, an appointment you had and they, they saw something different was going on.
Sarah Cox 12:19
So we were seeing we were being seen by my OB, and then we were also being seen by an MFM. So we’re having regular ultrasounds. And we had met with a specialist, she did have a little bit of fluid around her lung. And so we were being monitored for that. It wasn’t changing. But then at, I think it was our 32 week appointment. They noticed that the fluid had increased, and she now had fluid on her brain and in her skin. So my MFM at the time, he was very just, this is how it is. So he basically said, Well, you can choose to induce and give birth now and spend a few minutes with her. Or the longer you wait, the higher the chances that she’ll be stillborn. And so then I noticed I hadn’t felt her moving in a couple of days, we were actually going to go to another hospital to get a second opinion just to see if they could do something to help. You know, we’re just grasping it at anything, really. And I went into the hospital for a movement check, because they asked me to go in before we came. And that’s when we learned there was no heartbeat. Oh, wow. And just for the audience to MFM is maternal fetal medicine. Yeah, yes. So if they’re not familiar, I just wanted to clear that up. I’m sorry, I forget not everybody to see the specialist. I know. I know. Right. Um, yeah. So. Wow. So okay, you found that out. That’s just got to be the most heartbreaking thing that you’ve probably ever heard, right. Oh, it was and, and, you know, before I before they even showed the ultrasound screen, like, I just knew she was gone. Like I just I just knew. And so, you know, when they showed it to me, they were they were trying because they’re like, Okay, well, she has CDH. So her heart may be, you know, slightly in a different place. Maybe we’re just not finding the heartbeat. I’m like, no, like, I know, it’s not there. I’ve had, you know, enough ultrasounds to know that it’s not there. So, you know, and then I’m sure that’s not easy news for them to deliver either. No, no, it wasn’t and they were kind of confused to about why I was at this hospital because this hospital isn’t equipped to deliver those kinds of babies. They can’t do the surgery and that kind of thing. So they were just kind of confused like, well, what Wait, why are you at this hospital and it was all just a lot.
Jacqueline Kincer 14:55
Yeah, so at that point, then we’re You induced to be able to give birth to her?
Sarah Cox 15:04
Yes. I asked if, because I didn’t know what to expect, you know, I was like, do they do a C section? Do they do still get birth? Like, you know? And they said, no, they prefer you to give vaginal birth if possible, because it’s easier on your body. You don’t have to go through the, the extra healing with the C section and all of that. And I actually prefer to it that way. You know, I was still able to go through the labor and everything. But it was kind of harder, because, you know, when you’re when you’re in labor, the baby does their part too. And she couldn’t do her part. So that made it a little bit harder to actually do the birth, they had to like, move her.
Jacqueline Kincer 15:48
Wow. Yeah, I am so sorry that you had to go through that. Because obviously, this is probably most mom’s worst nightmare. Right? And, you know, you were hoping for a different outcome, of course. So when she was born, I assume they let you spend some time with her even though she was stillborn. Right. I’ve seen that be the case for a lot of moms I’ve supported.
Sarah Cox 16:17
Yes, they did. We didn’t have like a cuddle pot or anything. So you know, they, unfortunately, they do start to deteriorate fast. And that was not something that I was expecting. But we were able to spend about 24 hours with her. And then we had to go home. And then actually later last year, we donated a cuddle cot in her honor to the hospital. So now other people can spend, you know, hopefully more time with their baby.
Jacqueline Kincer 16:49
Oh, that’s amazing. And can you tell us what a cuddle cot is?
Sarah Cox 16:53
Sure. It’s, it’s basically a cooling system that helps keep the baby cool so that you can spend more time it kind of slows down the the process of them like deteriorating? I don’t know better word for that. But yeah, yeah. So you gave birth to Jasmine and then you go home without Jasmine.
Jacqueline Kincer 17:18
Were you given like any guidance, either during your pregnancy or after you birthed her about lactation at all? I’m really curious if that ever came up?
Sarah Cox 17:29
Not really. I can’t remember if one of the nurses may have said like your milk can come in, but I don’t. I don’t remember that. Like, you know, I don’t remember everything that was said. I’m sure but definitely not told ways to like, dry it up faster or anything like that. I had to do my own research. And yeah, I just I was hoping it wouldn’t come in, even though I was already 32 weeks. I was like, well, maybe it won’t. But it did. Yeah. What was that like for you? It was awful. I hated it. Because it was just like another reminder that, you know, my body was prepared for a baby that didn’t even get to come home. And so I hated it. I was like, I just want this gone. Like, you know, try the cabbage leaves tried that everything just to get it to go away. In hindsight, I wish I had actually pumped some of it so that I could have had a piece of jewelry made with it. But I didn’t think about it at the time. So yeah, think about those things later.
Jacqueline Kincer 18:36
Right, of course, and you said you tried cabbage leaves? I’m curious. What were some of the other things that you tried that you found helpful? Or was there anything you did that like didn’t seem helpful? Or was was not working for you?
Sarah Cox 18:52
It seemed like none of it worked. Just because it was it was taking so long. But ya know, I tried the cabbage leaves. I tried the the tighter, like sports bra. I did not try even though I looked it up I know that some medicine can help with that. But I don’t like to, like take medicine if I don’t have to. So I didn’t go that route. But sure, mainly just the the the cabbage leaves the sports bra. They’re trying to not pump it. They’re trying to just let it you know, go but it was painful at times.
Jacqueline Kincer 19:28
Yeah, I bet and for you, how long did it actually take take for your milk to dry up?
Sarah Cox 19:35
Um, I can’t remember the exact amount of time but I mean, I think it was at least two or three weeks that it is it took for it to and there was probably still some there but for the bulk of it to really be gone. It was like two or three weeks, I think. Right? Yeah. Well, gosh, probably not fast enough for you at that point. No, I was like I want to go on right now.
Jacqueline Kincer 19:59
Oh, yes, I’m sure that was really hard. I know, you know, some moms will choose, you know, to dry it up, I’ve definitely, you know, helped out in those cases. And it does, yeah, it’s, I would say, two to three weeks is probably the fastest we’re gonna get, like you said, there are some medications that can help, you know, maybe a week to two weeks, you know, it can be a bit shorter, right. But you know, they’re not without side effects and things too. So, typically, if someone’s been through that kind of experience, there’s other things going on also. So we have to be careful. But I’ve known some moms who have decided to pump the milk, not just for a keepsake, sometimes they’ll donate it because it’s something that for them is, is healing like, well, if I don’t have my baby, at least I can, you know, give this milk to other babies. And for others like yourself, it’s just, that’s just way too hard. It’s just like you said, a reminder that you don’t have your daughter with you. So I think both are totally fine. And it’s so individual, I don’t think anybody should ever feel like they have to do one or the other. So I just wanted to say that because I totally respect where you came from. And if I was in your position, I can’t say choose differently. You know, you don’t know until you’re there. So after Jasmine, I imagine, you know, okay, well, I don’t know, I’m curious, was it? Was it something where you thought to yourself, like, I definitely want to try again? Were you like, I never want to try again? Was it somewhere in between? Was it too soon to even think about any of that? Because that’s, that’s seems a bit, you know, like a whole other level from your other losses that you had.
Sarah Cox 21:44
We knew pretty quickly that we wanted to try again. And I know we both felt a little bit guilty about feeling that way. But we knew that it would never replace her. But our arms felt empty. You know, we had our son, but we were supposed to also have our daughter. And so we we did want to try again. I was told I had to wait six months since I went through birth. Had to get my body time to heal. And we did fertility treatment at the six month mark. And thankfully, that worked. And we were able to have my my rainbow daughter.
Jacqueline Kincer 22:21
Yay. Oh, so happy for y’all. And yeah. Wow. I mean, when you were going through that pregnancy worth her? Was there a lot of worry in the background? You know, could something happen again? Could we lose her? You’ve been through, you know, three losses at that point?
Sarah Cox 22:43
Yes, it was awful. My anxiety was just insane. Like, every day, I just felt like, well, she’s she’s gone now. You know, like, there’s gonna be something wrong. There’s gonna be, you know, up until the moment that I gave birth to her and held her. I mean, I just cried because I’m like, Oh, my God, like, she’s here. Like, you know, it, she’s safe. And but you know, even even after that I have increased worry about my living children, too, and something happening to one of them. So yeah, I was already an anxious person. And my loss is just like, heightened it even more. Yeah. Would you say that? There may even be or maybe, you know, like, some sort of PTSD that goes along with that as well. And that kind of plays into that? I would definitely say so. Yeah, it’s, I mean, it’s the worst thing I’ve ever been through, like hands down. And it’s, you know, an experience that will always stay with me the rest of my life. And it’s, you know, people, people don’t understand that it’s not just losing your baby, it changes you as a person, and you’re not the same person that you were no, before your loss. And it’s, it has so many other like ramifications that we don’t even always see right away. You know, they may pop up later. And then you’re like, oh, man, like, why am I reacting like this? And then when you think about it, like, oh, it all kind of points back to that moment.
Jacqueline Kincer 24:11
Yeah, yeah. I think, you know, that makes sense that, you know, it, there are unexpected things, right, that come up for you. And you know, you’re allowed to have whatever feelings you have around that because, you know, the circumstances that you’ve gone through a different than someone else and, you know, so many other things going on. And yeah, I just, I have to give it to you that the fact that you’re able to talk about it now, I think is really huge, right? So you’re coming from this this place of there’s clearly been a fair amount of healing that has happened enough for you to get to this point. Do you feel like when you had your daughter that’s now live like that, that was helpful for some of that healing or was that even really difficult, let’s just, you know, coming to terms with I have her but not my other daughter.
Sarah Cox 25:10
It was a little bit of both honestly, it was, you know, healing that I did have, you know, a living daughter now, but everything, you know, seeing her grow just highlights everything that you miss out on with the daughter that should be here. So she would have been five this year, she would have been going into kindergarten. So that’s been kind of a rough, there’s every year is hard, but certain years have those big milestones. And those, those are harder. So it was healing that, you know, I was able to, you know, have have a baby that was living and or another baby that was living a daughter. But yeah, it does make you realize everything you miss out on at the same time. So it like heightens the joy but also heightens the grief to
Jacqueline Kincer 25:59
Yes, I guess there’s no having one without the other.
Sarah Cox 26:04
Unfortunately, no, I tried to make the grief go away. It does not.
Jacqueline Kincer 26:08
Yeah. And yeah, I think I think when you go through something like that, you realize that’s not the goal, right? Is is just sort of learning to, to be able to handle the grief or you know, live with it. Right. But you did end up breastfeeding your living daughter? So tell us a bit about that. Because you previously were like, I don’t want this milk. Let me get rid of it as soon as possible. So were did your feelings about wanting to breastfeed this daughter change at all? Were they different because of that previous experience?
Sarah Cox 26:43
Well, again, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to for some reason, like what if, because I dried it up the first time, like what if it doesn’t come back or, you know, something like that. But fortunately, it did. And I also breastfed her for about 13 months, I was working at home the whole time. So I actually got to breastfeed her the whole time. I didn’t have to pump very often, which was nice. I’m not a fan of pumping, if I don’t have to. But ya know, that was another, you know, good experience. And at the end, we were just down to nighttime. And then, you know, I did wean her and I still remember the last time I decided, okay, this is going to be the last time so I tried to, you know, savor that moment.
Jacqueline Kincer 27:28
Yeah. Oh, that’s, that’s wonderful. I love that did it? Was there something about breastfeeding? That was helpful for you, like, sometimes I’ve heard moms say, you know, it, it can restore a bit of trust in their bodies, when they felt like, you know, something was sort of wrong with their bodies, or, you know, you’re saying that sort of an air quotes there, you know, quote unquote, wrong or, or that their bodies have, you know, failed them or some kind of feeling like that, right. But then being able to breastfeed or even lactate can be this, like, sort of redeeming quality about that. So yeah, I wonder if you experienced that feeling at all.
Sarah Cox 28:08
I did, actually, with, you know, with the PCOS with the, I’m like, okay, my body can’t do like one of the main things it’s supposed to do, which is have, you know, the regular cycles, and, you know, it was very frustrating, but then for it to actually do this for me, and to, you know, let me have enough milk for my babies and, you know, didn’t really have very few issues. Like I only had the beginnings of mastitis like once, so I didn’t really have a lot of issues with it. I didn’t have like the bleeding nipples or like that, anything like that. So really, it was a pretty smooth experience for me. And for that. Yeah, I was very thankful that my body was able to at least do that thing for me.
Jacqueline Kincer 28:49
Yes. Oh, that’s amazing. I’m really glad that you didn’t have problems. That’s the best, right? Because if you had that on top of everything, it’s like, Oh, my goodness, you know, like really like one more thing. Yeah, you don’t need one more thing. So. So your your third daughter, your second living daughter, you have breastfed her. You are breastfeeding her and you had mentioned that this was a surprise pregnancy, right? Yes. So yeah, how soon after you weaned your daughter? Did you end up getting pregnant?
Sarah Cox 29:27
Okay, so I she was born in 2019. And I breastfed her for a little over a year. I found out I was pregnant with this daughter in May of last year. So I guess it was a couple of years. Very surprised because like I said, I didn’t have the regular cycles always had to have helped getting pregnant before. My cycles this last year had been somewhat more regular. So I guess that’s what did it. I was like, huh I haven’t had my period. But you know, that’s not anything abnormal for me. But the PCOS, but every single time that I’ve been pregnant, like I knew it, because I, I can feel it. Like, my body feels different. And so I was like, I think I need to take a test. And then surprise. Oh, I was like, Well, surely getting pregnant on my own. Like, I didn’t think I was worried about loss or you know, something happening, but well, she was born healthy. And December came almost two weeks early.
Jacqueline Kincer 30:32
Wow. Yeah. Wow. That’s awesome. I love that for you. And so yeah, I curious about how breastfeeding has gone with her has it been as problem free as with your other children?
Sarah Cox 30:45
Thankfully, yes. And I’m still working at home. So I’m still able to, you know, feed her whenever she wants to be fed. And she’s a pretty good sleeper. And it’s, you know, she’s been waking up at night lately. The but she pretty much eats and then goes to bed. So it’s been? It’s been nice. I it’s something I’m glad that I’ve been able to do for all of my babies.
Jacqueline Kincer 31:07
Yeah. Wow. That’s amazing. I’m so happy for you. And thank you. Yeah. So then she’s around a year old now. Right.
Sarah Cox 31:16
But she is almost six months. She was born in December of 2022.
Jacqueline Kincer 31:20
You said, Oh, I thought you said me.
Sarah Cox 31:22
And I was like, oh, yeah, sorry. That’s when I got pregnant.
Jacqueline Kincer 31:25
Okay. Oh, my gosh, I wasn’t listening as closely as I should have been.
Sarah Cox 31:29
That’s okay. I know somebody dates. Yeah. I got pregnant with her in May. And then she was born in December.
Jacqueline Kincer 31:34
Got it? Okay. Yeah. So six months. That’s fun. Is she doing any solid foods yet?
Sarah Cox 31:40
Not yet. But I have her six month appointment next week? I think so. It’s either next week or the week after time all kind of runs together now. But yeah, she should be able to start then. And she’s a pretty happy baby. She’s my column. This one. She’s super smiley loves to laugh at her brother and sister. So it’s, it’s nice.
Jacqueline Kincer 32:03
Oh, that’s amazing. I’m so happy for you. Do you have any, like, goals of you know, you want to try to breastfeed as long as you did with your other children or anything different this time?
Sarah Cox 32:15
Yeah, that’s my goal is you know, to go, I always try to go to at least a year, and then usually I have a hard time. So I’m like, Okay, let’s just go a little bit longer. And then I guess it kind of depends on, you know, if she’s wants to wean herself or, or how that goes, but that’s my goal is at least a year.
Jacqueline Kincer 32:32
Right? Oh, that’s awesome. I love that for you. You said sometimes, we kind of get to that point, like past a year. Right? Right at that mark, that it’s just not feeling like great for you anymore. What’s the shifts that you’ve experienced with that in the past? Where, like, with your previous daughter, you weaned her was there like a just kind of feeling touched out or just wanting to be done and things specific there?
Sarah Cox 32:59
Yeah, it was just that it was I mean, like I said, it was down to pretty much being just at nighttime, sometimes in the morning. So it was, I know, it was more of a comfort thing. But it was, I mean, it was comforting to me, too. But then sometimes she would nurse like a really long time. And it would be at a point where I’m like, Okay, I know you’re not doing it for nutritional value anymore. And the comfort for me was kind of going down just because of how long she would want to nurse. And also, her nursing wasn’t putting her to sleep anymore. So it you know, that’s what it used to do. But she was just basically staying awake and still nursing. So that’s when I just kind of decided, Okay, I think it’s time to be done.
Jacqueline Kincer 33:44
That makes sense. That totally makes sense. And I feel like the that’s like a really good thing to talk about. Because there’s this nuance that people seem to miss when they read or hear what the public health recommendations are for breastfeeding. So when the World Health Organization or the American Academy of Pediatrics, I know at least for the who it’s it’s phrased this way, but you know, recommending breastfeeding for short amount of time and then as long as is mutually desirable by the mom and baby. Right? And I think that’s so important as it’s the mutually desirable part. Like just because your child wants you doesn’t mean you have to like for them it seemed like there was like this inverse like if we have a graph there’s like one line you know, for for your daughter and like it’s going up like she’s, she’s happy she’s enjoying for you. The longer she’s doing it, the less you’re enjoying it, right. And so like there has to be that point where those two lines crossed, and you’re going Yeah, I don’t know if this is like mutually a good fit for us anymore. Because if you’re not happy, you’re not enjoying it. I I think most moms kind of feel like that ends up sort of affecting their children, right. Like you don’t want your child to pick up on the fact that you’re on doing this thing. And you know, you’re not going to be a great mom. If you’re feeling like you’re doing something and You’re not enjoying it. So I just think that’s important. Want to point that out? Because people hear, you know, oh, I should breastfeed for this long. Yeah, but like with conditions, so to not feel guilty about it, sometimes you know about about the stopping, but it’s like, okay, eventually at some point, you will have to stop, you know, you can’t go until they’re an adult, you know. So at some point, you will reach that, and so I just had to, I felt they won’t want to go out on but yeah, right. I don’t think anybody else to worry about that. Just so you guys know. So, like, kind of the joke, right? Like, oh, you breastfeed them when they’re in college. Like, okay, you know, I’m pretty sure there’s like, No, I mean, they get to a point where it’s not mommy and daddy, it’s mom and dad, right? And then it’s, you know, don’t Don’t Hug Me Before You say goodbye. And, you know, they don’t want to be seen, like, trust me. They’re gonna get there. Right? Well, gosh, you’ve been through, you know, so, so many different, but also kind of similar, right? There’s some similarities between all of your children and journeys with them. And now you’re doing some awesome work with using your journeys and your stories, you’ve got a podcast yourself, tell us about some of the things that you’re doing for, you know, community of parents like yourself.
Sarah Cox 36:20
So I started, my blog was the first thing I started. And I started writing, actually, during my pregnancy with jasmine, because it was, you know, we had her diagnosis. And I was, I was mainly writing for me, just to get all the feelings out. But people responded well to it, people liked reading it. So then I started getting involved with pregnancy after loss support. And I wrote for them during my rainbow daughter’s pregnancy. Basically, I did like a weekly update with how I was feeling during the pregnancy and that kind of thing. And then after that, you know, I just kind of decided that I wanted to do more to help other lost families. So I started my traveling rainbow skirt. It’s actually a skirt I wore during my maternity pictures. It’s like a huge skirt. And it now it travels. Well, there’s actually multiple ones now because the project has grown. But it travels from one lost family to the next. And then they take pictures with it. And then the pictures and the short stories are shared. And it you know, it’s given a lot of people a voice to share their story. Some had never shared it before. Some have shared it before. But so many people said how, how it was so helpful to write it out, even though it’s hard, that they felt so much better, like after writing it out, and that the skirt helped them feel like powerful and strong. And it’s, it’s been really great.
Jacqueline Kincer 37:46
Ah, I love that. I love that. I I feel like I see, you know, communities like yours, which I think it’s fair to say that right? Like even the people who, you know, comment on your Instagram posts or what have you, right, there’s this connection that you all have. And then there’s like this physical connection you’ve created with the skirt. And just what a beautiful idea, right? The taking the the term rainbow baby and turning it into this thing that gets to reach so many families.
Sarah Cox 38:21
I think the other day, I just published story number 275. And then it’s been to almost all 50 states. We’re missing a few it’s been to Canada, the UK, Australia, and then also one person in Peru.
Jacqueline Kincer 38:37
Oh my goodness, that is so cool. Do you have any like specific goals? Want to send it all around the world? Or?
Sarah Cox 38:44
Yes, I would love that. I mean, my first of all, let’s just I want to get all the 50 states? Yes. So close. We’re just missing like, I think five or six is all which states? Are you missing for anyone listening? I know, I can’t remember all of them. I know Alaska is one New Mexico, Mississippi, Maine. And then I think it’s Vermont is the other one. Okay, well, if you’ve had a loss, and you’re one of those states, definitely let Sarah know, because you too could have the rainbow skirt. And you could be the first pin in your state. I have a map where I do all the pins of where it’s been. So we can see like visually, and I think it’s pretty cool.
Jacqueline Kincer 39:27
Oh, that is so cool. Yeah, absolutely. Well, I love that. You know, you’ve been so willing to share your journeys and how that’s gone with breastfeeding as well. I know sometimes those two topics are kept very separate. So I appreciate you bringing them together with us today. And yeah, we’ll link up your information so people can you know, find out about your your project. follow you on Instagram, listen to your podcasts, but where’s the best place for people to connect with you and find you
Sarah Cox 40:00
So I have my website, it’s just journey for jasmine.com. And then my Instagram is also journey for Jasmine. And I post my podcast stuff on there as well. Like, I’m not gonna maintain two different different ones right now. It’s enough doing one stone, but I know I haven’t done it either. Because yeah, I feel like you know, also, why does your podcast need its own Instagram? Like, you’re already subscribing to the podcast? Hopefully. Do you also need to follow it on there? I don’t know. Yeah, I had kind of started one, but then hadn’t done much with it. And I’m like, this is a lot. But the the podcast is called Finding Hope after loss, and it’s on Apple and Spotify and all the other main places that you listen.
Jacqueline Kincer 40:42
Wonderful. Well, thank you so much, Sarah, for sharing your experiences your journey. I feel like your stories can give hope to so many people. So I appreciate you being here today. And for everyone listening. You know, definitely go follow Sarah. Check out her podcast if it applies to you, and I’ll see you on the next episode.
Content Warning: This episode contains discussions about infant loss and infertility struggles. Listener discretion is advised.
Join Jacqueline as she sits down with Sarah Cox, a passionate content creator dedicated to raising awareness about infertility and pregnancy loss. Sarah courageously shares her personal journey through pregnancy and breastfeeding, offering a unique perspective as a mother who has experienced infant loss and fertility struggles. Her unwavering commitment to extended breastfeeding is evident as she successfully nursed all her children past one year. Sarah’s story encompasses not only the joys and challenges of breastfeeding but also her emotional journey of weaning and the choices she made regarding lactation after her stillbirth.
In this episode, you’ll hear:
- How Sarah navigated her fertility struggles and breastfed despite these challenges
- Ways to emotionally prepare for breastfeeding after previous infant loss
- What happens with lactation after a stillbirth and the options for dealing with it
- Unexpected ways breastfeeding has helped Sarah recover from loss and connect with her living children
A glance at this episode:
- [4:12] Sarah shares her pregnancy journeys and her early days of motherhood
- [6:06] Breastfeeding with PCOS
- [8:10] Sarah’s 3 pregnancy losses and dealing with infertility
- [12:19] How Sarah came to find out about her pregnancy loss
- [15:04] Giving birth to her stillborn baby at 32 weeks
- [17:29] Drying up milk supply after a stillbirth
- [21:44] Mentally preparing for another pregnancy after a stillbirth
- [26:43] What it was like breastfeeding her next born child after a stillbirth
- [32:03] Sarah’s current breastfeeding goals
- [36:20] How Sarah started her blog and podcast