There is no stronger bond than that of family, except perhaps friendship. And the story of Lauren and Sarah, two friends from America, proves this like no other.
Becoming a mother is one of the greatest moments on earth. This moment was about to be made even more memorable for friends Sarah and Lauren, who were both expecting little girls around the same time. Lauren, who struggled with infertility for years, was preparing to meet her adopted daughter, Arsema in October, while Sarah was expecting her second child soon after.
Then, heartbreak. Sarah received the terrible news, after her 20-week ultrasound, that her daughter would not live outside of the womb.
As Lauren prepared a nursery and made plans for the trip to Ethiopia to collect Arsema, Sarah prepared a funeral for own daughter, Evie. The two friends spent hours together, grieving over Sarah’s loss and sharing in the joy that Lauren was about to experience.
When Lauren brought baby Arsema home, Sarah arrived at her doorstop to meet the little girl. She also came with a question:
“I was wondering if you would like to have my breast milk after Evie is born. I thought maybe you could use it to feed Arsema. I don’t know how long I’ll pump or how much I’ll be able to produce, but I’d love to give it to you if you want it.”
While the notion of giving someone else’s baby your breast milk may sound strange to some people, under this circumstance, it is anything but. It is a beautiful expression of love and friendship that stemmed from a heartbreaking loss.
Sarah’s own daughter, Evie Caris was born in November and lived four hours surrounded by the people who loved her the most. A week after Sarah said goodbye to her daughter, she arrived at Lauren’s doorstep with an esky of expressed breastmilk, ready for baby Arsema.
For several months Sarah would bring Lauren breast milk to feed Arsema.
“Each time I filled Arsema’s bottle and sat in the rocker to feed her I would think about Sarah and Evie,” Lauren tells Today. “I would pray for Sarah’s broken heart and thank God for the gift Sarah had so selflessly given me and my daughter.”
Lauren wishes she would have been able to breastfeed her own daughter and that Sarah was about to breastfeed hers, but, as we all know, life doesn’t always work out the way we hope.
As Lauren writes, “Life doesn’t always make sense. When everything is broken and mixed up, we have to create our own beauty from the pieces.”
We share a number of stories on Babyology about infant loss and the beauty in humanity but none exemplify the heartbreak, humility and hope that resulted from one mum’s incredibly selfless gift.