A mom presented Reddit’s AITA forum with a painfully sad breastfeeding dilemma and the community is surrounding her with a whole lot of support. The Reddit user began by explaining that she gave birth to a stillborn five weeks ago and her sister had a healthy baby boy four weeks ago.
“After my stillbirth, I was producing milk and pumping, and my sister couldn’t breastfeed after her son was born,” she wrote. “Formula shortage was awful and I was literally throwing my milk away, so I offered it to my sister and she gladly accepted.”
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The user’s doctor informed her that she should pump for three weeks and then stop, so she’ll stop producing milk. As a favor to her sister, the mom has continued pumping past that timeline just so she can help out. “Now that there is more formula in stock and she has been able go buy it, I told her I’ll stop pumping,” she wrote. “She told me her son has stomach problems after the formula and asked me to keep pumping.”
The Reddit user declined, explaining that she could not emotionally tolerate pumping any longer. Her sister responded by calling her selfish. Interjecting here just to add that the sister had also asked the user to breastfeed her nephew, which she (very understandably) declined.
“I told her I’m sorry and I can pump for a few more days so she can put some in the freezer and have some back up until she finds a better formula for her son, but she said breast milk is healthiest and I should just help her out,” she continued. Her sister informed her that she is the the embodiment of “misery loves company.” “I feel really awful because I could still help her out and I know she needs it,” the user concluded.
Many, many Reddit commenters swarmed to the platform to reassure her that she was not in the wrong here. A lot of people emphasized that she had gone through a traumatic loss and this is no way for her to be treated.
“I am so so sorry for your tragic loss. I am actually shocked at how selfish and inconsiderate your sister is being,” one person wrote. “You have just experienced probably one of the absolute worst things a human can experience. The loss, trauma and grief of a stillborn baby is an unfathomable pain I cannot even imagine. Your family should be rallying around you and your husband! FFS! You have every right to do whatever you need to try and survive right now.”
Another user added: “You shouldn’t be bullied into continuing your milk production and then pumping when this is time for you to grieve. You were kind enough to continue for 2 additional weeks, she needs to be grateful and move on.”
Others noted just how hard and time-consuming pumping is and how incredibly unfair it is to expect someone else to take on that work. “I did it for 6 months for my baby, I wouldn’t have done for a nephew / niece,” someone noted. “Sorry but no. Whole day is about pumping, washing parts, etc. Without even mentioning mastitis and all those fun things. This is also the reason why I stopped even though I could have pumped longer. The sister is such an AH.”
And then there was this succinctly written response that really hit at the core of it all: “Sending you all the love in the world for your loss and your willingness, despite your grief, to do something [for your nephew] that you hoped you’d be able to do for your own child.”
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