Mum who donated 350 litres of milk after stillbirth speaks of grief and joy, six years on

Amy Anderson with her son and husband with some of her donated breast milk.
Amy Anderson with her son and husband with some of her donated breast milk. 

A bereaved mum who pumped nearly 350 litres of breastmilk after her baby was stillborn has spoken about her ongoing grief - and her joy at the development of the milk bank she donated to. 

Amy Anderson's son Bryson died in the womb at just 20 weeks gestation in 2010. And after the baby was delivered, medical staff tried to give Anderson medication to stop her milk coming in.

But rather than prevent lactation, the devastated mum chose to do the opposite: she started to express her breastmilk, donating the 'liquid gold' to help sick and premature babies.

Anderson continued to pump for eight months, and managed to donate an impressive 348 litres.

It has now been six years since Bryson passed away, but Anderson says that the grief can still be all consuming. Writing on her Facebook page Donating through grief: Bryson's Legacy, she wrote:

"Fall marks yet another year of him not being here, another 365 days of longing and wondering. I truly thought this year was different, however, even 6 years later the grief remains raw and even more intense than in years past."

"Immediately, my mind returned to that hospital bed, where I was pleading and resisting against my body's urge to push. My breath left me as I lost all control over my thoughts.

"I felt my heart dying all over again as my soul screamed out in horrified agony. It was all I could do to withdraw to a corner and collapse into myself, allowing my tears to drown the overwhelming sorrow."

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She also notes that she was shocked by the intensity of her grief. "[I thought] that I was emotionally prepared for Bryson's sixth birthday and that I was in control of my grief after all these years," she says.

"However, grief is unpredictable and messy. It is ever-changing yet it never ends. It is the expense of great love; a love that will remain forever and always."

Anderson says that she wanted to share her experience to show that grief is normal and natural. "It certainly is not a sign of weakness, nor a disease that can be spread. It is a very personal journey into the unknown," she writes.

"The bereaved heart is heavily burdened but there is great comfort when other's assist in carrying this grief simply by listening, supporting and remembering."

As well as the amazing gift she gave to all those families in need of breastmilk for their own babies, Anderson and her family have another amazing legacy: a freezer at the milk bank has been named after Bryson.

"Amy Anderson was our first mom to donate after loss," a post on the Mothers' Milk Bank Northeast (MMBNE) Facebook page explained.

"Here she is with her family, in front of the freezer that is named for her angel baby Bryson. She carries on his legacy through Donating Through Grief: Bryson's Legacy."  

After first posting a photo of her hugging the freezer in an emotion moment, Anderson posted a family photo, writing, "LOVE our family picture with 'Bryson' freezer at MMBNE!"