When most of us learned we were going to be parents, we never imagined facing prolonged school and complete town closures for a virus, let alone how to handle lactation after the loss of a child. We more likely envisioned a sweet baby nestled contentedly in our lap, or a preschooler handing us a hand-drawn card, covered in hearts, for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. And of course, boasting a sweet smile, as in one of the many Mother’s Day photos that are featured in this issue’s “Mother’s Day Around the World” (…or in our upcoming August issue’s Father’s Day photos).
In this special issue, we honor some incredibly strong women who remind us that motherhood can sometimes be raw — and the complete opposite of rosy. Strong women like…
- An Italian mother, Giulia, whose personal journey of losing a little one is shared with us by her dear friend, our Associate Editor, Valentina. In this heartbreaking story, “Italian version of the story—Il regalo di Bianca: Consolidare l’Amore nel Dolore” and its English translation, “A Gift from Bianca: A Story of Grief and Love,” you’ll discover how Giulia honored her daughter during and after birth, while managing an abundant and painful postpartum milk flow.
- A French mother, Natacha, whose story, “Donating Milk: A Heartfelt Wish to Honor Juliette,” explores the powerful and uplifting reasons why Natacha chose to donate milk to a milk bank as part of her personal healing journey. You may also want to check out some tips on lactation after loss here, in case you ever have the opportunity to support a bereaved mother.
- Canadian mother and nurse, Sabrina, whose detailed account of persistence in the face of obstacles while feeding her son with Down syndrome is truly inspiring and informational for families facing similar circumstances. (See her story, here).
I hope this issue’s pages will serve as a reassuring reminder to you that in both joyful and sorrowful situations, La Leche League is there for you. Because no matter what part of the world you live in, nor how difficult your situation, we are all in this parenting journey together.
A Few Words of Thanks
to People Who Inspire Me
It is with a fond farewell that I say goodbye to the magazine this summer, and to all of the wonderful people behind its pages. Since June of last year, I have enjoyed working alongside a talented team as we planned for and relaunched this magazine. However, as La Leche League has taught me over the years, family is precious, and I have decided that I need to savor more time with my children in the coming year.
I am grateful for the people who will continue to bring each issue to you: to Valentina Attanasio, for your amazing skills of organization, research, international perspective and enthusiastic communication with contributors; to Caroline Behe, for your joyful spirit and creative graphic design of each issue — even on days when you are facing a hundred other tasks on your to-do list; and to Zion Tankard, for welcoming ideas large and small, and inspiring me along the way.
In addition, I am thankful for the final text reviews of recently retired LLLI Board Chair Cecily Harkins (You are such an encourager! Wish you a wonderful retirement.), for former LLLI Executive Director Lee Bryan Claassen (You helped fuel our initial steps of this relaunch.), and for our Co-Chairs present, Devorah Schesch-Wernick and Shevawn O’Connor (Thank you for helping with final text review in this next leg of the journey.).
And finally, to our dedicated Breastfeeding Today Editorial Review Board, who generously gave of their time to help polish for publication many issues of this magazine: Marcella Bonanno, Carolyn Driver-Burgess, Helen Lloyd, RuthAnna Mather, Anna Restuccia, Lois Rowlands, Alyssa Schnell, and Eva Natali Williams. Your insights and “eagle eyes” for detail on each article have truly been a blessing.