My first child was rushed to the NICU just minutes after being born. In the frenetic aftermath of giving birth, I was too confused and exhausted to fully comprehend what was happening. I still remember yelling at my husband to not let our child out of his sight, while an intern had his arm literally inside me.
Weeks later, while getting used to haunting the NICU halls, I grew envious of the mothers who were able to take their babies home. And those were the thoughts that rushed back to me while I sniffed back tears reading Abby Frame’s incredible open letter to an unknown NICU baby and their mother. In a post that was later shared on Breastfeeding Mama Talk, Frame cast her wishes for a bright future to the young babe receiving her donation — over 8,000 ounces of breast milk, which took over 700 hours to produce.
“Dear NICU babe,” Frame’s emotional tribute begins. “I don’t know your story. I don’t know who you are. And perhaps I never will. But maybe, just maybe, you’ll do great things in your life. All you need is a fighting chance, right? So, you fight little one. You give it all you’ve got. Whatever you’re going through, fight.”
Are you crying yet? If not, buckle up, because this is where the real emotional sucker punch comes in.
Next, Frame turns her attention from the unknown baby to the unknown mother:
“And to your Mama,” she writes, “I can’t imagine what she’s going through either. But her baby is having a hard time and y’all both need a little help. And if my milk can help in any way then it is my greatest pleasure. The 700 hours I have spent pumping and cleaning and packaging this up for you is all worth it. So, take it. Fight. And grow up to be amazing! I believe in you.
Love, Donor Number: 0000060340”
Yep. I’m definitely crying now.
“God was telling me that some mama needed it,” Frame shares with Babble. “There is some mama out there who wants to give up. Who is pumping and pumping — in pain — just like me; and they want to quit so bad because ‘it’s too much work’ and she has no clue what to do with ‘all this milk’.”
Frame explains that it’s the mothers in the NICU who inspire her to keep donating. The moms who lost their babies, the adoptive mom who wants her baby to have breast milk, and “that sweet mom”, as Frame calls her.
“She’s crying in that hospital glider talking to her little baby through glass walls,” the post continues. “Unable to latch on to her little one. Praying for miracles.”
But therein lies her mission.
“Her,” Frame’s post continues. “That’s what I do it for. The hours and hours I’ve spent waking up to pump in the middle of the night or the time I’ve spent sitting alone on the sidelines watching my kids play so I can pump. Is all worth it.”
I remember those glass walls and I remember being the one crying in that rocker. I remember not being able to latch and the unbelievable pain that it caused. Frame’s words to a mom like me feel like a warm blanket of love.
And while she may never know who the little bundle is who receives her milk or the worried mom watching her baby with bated breath, she is still rooting for them anyway.
“I want those babies to know that they have a whole team fighting for them,” Frame tells Babble, “I want those mamas to know that they’re not alone. That it takes a village. That motherhood is a sisterhood and we’re all in this together.”
What an inspiring woman with a noble mission. If you ask me, the world needs more people just like Abby Frame.