Breast cancer survivor makes ‘No Breastfeeding Zone’ sign after giving birth

Many breast cancer survivors know that the anguish of getting treatment often far outlives the disease itself—leaving scars, both physical and emotional, that may last a lifetime.

For new mom Meghan Koziel, her “miracle baby” came as consolation to her after she endured the agony of having a double mastectomy due to breast cancer. For her baby, breast milk from her own body would remain off the menu, as she was totally unable to produce milk.

Meghan was diagnosed with breast cancer on Oct. 12, 2015, when she was 26 years old.

She had undergone chemotherapy, 33 rounds of radiation, and later, two breast reconstruction surgeries, according to ABC news.

Meghan did an IVF for an egg retrieval so that the couple could have a chance to become parents.

“It was basically because chemotherapy damages your ovaries,” she said. “I always dreamed of being a mom.”

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During her stay in the hospital after her daughter’s birth, Meghan had hoped to avoid re-opening old wounds, memories from her past treatment, because of probing hospital staff who might, having failed to read her chart, probe into the reasons why she wasn’t breastfeeding her baby. As a medical professional herself, Meghan knew that such staff sometimes overlook details such as these.

Thus, her friend came up with an idea for a special sign that Meghan would have printed out and hung above her hospital bed as a kind reminder that she is a “survivor” and to please have some sensitivity around the subject. Later, she posted a photo of the sign on social media as a way to share this message with a wider audience. It read:

NO BREASTFEEDING ZONE

Though breastfeeding is a very special task, please be aware before you ask. Our miracle baby will be formula fed, and it will not affect her future ahead. This mommy is a survivor.

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Hospital staff applauded her action, while it was an educational opportunity for others who inquired about Meghan’s story. Online, internet users’ responses were very much supportive, though some came down on her for choosing to use formula, recommending instead for her to choose donated breast milk.

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Yet, this latter option was fraught with difficulties in Meghan’s position; not only was she, as a cancer survivor, not covered for such donations under her insurance, but also, as she told Parents.com, she “was turned off because the milk has no way of being tested.”

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“Yes, breast milk is fabulous and filled with utmost nutrition,” she added, “however, it can also carry disease! I am not willing to risk my daughter’s life simply to use breast milk when formula has been used for years and there is no known difference from a breastfed to formula fed baby.”

Meghan shared her message with other would-be mothers who have endured the pain of cancer treatment and survived on Instagram:

All survivors who are wanting to be moms, never ever give up hope! Doctors cannot guarantee fertility, but if you think about it … fertility isn’t guaranteed for anyone in life! Miracles happen, and whether you can conceive naturally, through IVF, or adoption … there is ALWAYS a way to become a mom! You just have to find the path and trust in it once it’s found.

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Three years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I thought my life would never ever be the same. I was forced to make so many HUGE life decisions including preserving my fertility through an egg retrieval was one of them. After two years on hormone blocking medications (because my cancer is so aggressive and highly affected my estrogen and progesterone), I made the decision to go off of my medications to fulfill my lifelong dream of being a mom! On Saturday September 15th, my dream came true when we were blessed with the birth of our beautiful miracle baby! Cancer has changed my life forever… but looking down at this sweet little girl makes all my fears of recurrence and having to go through active treatment again fade away! I am so so so blessed and will forever Sparkle On* 📸: @jen_haseleu #breastcancer #babyafterbreastcancer #fertility #baby #mastectomy #portscar #breastcancer #mastectomy #mastectomyscars #foobs #breastreconstruction #breastreconstructionawareness #savetheboobies #pregnantaftercancer #baby #newbornphotography

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