Breastfeeding is something many mothers love. It can be a tremendous bonding experience and something some parents want documented, so they can look back on the photos someday.
New mom Natasha Fogarty wanted to memorialize the time she spent breastfeeding her 5-month-old son, Milo, but her reasons for doing so were a bit different. Fogarty was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer so she had to stop breastfeeding earlier than intended to undergo a single mastectomy.
Fogarty wrote about her experience and her idea to commemorate the last day of breastfeeding her son with a photo shoot on the popular Breastfeeding Mama Talk Facebook page.
"I have been a fan of this page for 5 whole months. My breastfeeding story stopped just Sunday. There are heavy tears in my eyes. I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and I am only 29 years old. I had to have a single mastectomy. I wanted and planned to breastfeed for a year. Unfortunately to save my life, I had to stop. I want any other mom out there going through this to stay strong and positive. I am so blessed to have 3 breastmilk donors in my life. That are giving for free. Sunday I decided to have a photo shoot to remember my last day breastfeeding. 2:05 am on Monday as my son fell asleep on my boob I was sad, but it was peaceful. I was lucky to be able to cherish the last week of our breastfeeding journey. Oh and I dyed my hair pink because I will destroy this cancer!! Thank you again for this page. And if you are going through breast cancer too and need a shoulder and someone to talk to I am here!! Thanks Breastfeeding Mama Talk!!" ~Natasha Fogarty
Fogarty wrote to A Plus about how the photo shoot idea came to her in the shower. She explained, "Looking down, I realized that this boob had an expiration date. Time was of the essence and if I was thinking about commemorating the end of this special time in my life, I would need to act quickly."
Fogarty reached out to Missouri-based photographer Kari Dallas of Vintage Lens Photography to capture the final times she would be breastfeeding.
The photos of Fogarty, Milo and her Fogarty's husband, James, are touching and filled with love.
Fogarty told A Plus she decided to share the photos in hopes that she could get advice and inspiration from others in similar situations. In the end, she was the one spreading inspiration to others.
"When an enormous amount of love and support started flooding in, I realized that there are many more women who are going through, or have went through, something similar to what I am battling."
She added, "finding out that I was able to touch the lives of others and inspire women all over the world led me to the decision to share these. If sharing can help or inspire just one person, it would be more than worth it."
Since Fogarty's message was posted on Facebook on July 3, it has been shared over 5,300 times. Women are also writing in to show their support and share similar experiences.
One Facebook user wrote, "You are an incredible, strong, beautiful, amazing mom. I look up to you so much and pray that your journey with cancer ends quickly and that you stay as strong as possible. Bless you and your sweet boy."
Another commented about how they had to stop breastfeeding too, "Be strong. I know it's no comparison at all but I had to stop nursing all of a sudden due to an illness and the medications they had to put me on, and it destroyed me emotionally for a while. You will kick this cancer's butt and you and your baby will always have a bond that no one else can duplicate. Prayers for you and your family!"
Fogarty's photos commemorate a special time in her and her family's life, but they are also a reminder that even if things change, the bond between her and her son does not.