This viral selfie proves even cancer is no match for a mother’s love

Though it shouldn’t be, a mother breastfeeding her child in public remains a massive topic of debate. Take for example mom Conner Kendall, who was shamed on Facebook for breastfeeding her baby boy at a TGI Fridays. A photo snapped by a stranger started an all-out social media battle.

Now there is another image of a mother breastfeeding making the rounds on Facebook, but this time there is absolutely no shaming involved. Valarie Molstre posted a picture of herself shortly after breastfeeding. For Valarie this picture is a celebration of overcoming a huge hurdle, and it’s making us cry happy and sad tears all at the same time. Why? Because Valarie is currently fighting breast cancer and this photo documents her feeding her son for the first time since she began her chemotherapy.

“Today my son and I overcame a huge obstacle in my breast cancer journey,” Valarie wrote in the caption of the selfie. “Today he breastfed for the first time after chemotherapy.”

Valarie was diagnosed at 28 weeks pregnant, she explained in the photo’s caption on her Facebook page. “My cancer was stage 2, grade 3, and triple negative (very aggressive),” she continued. “So, the doctors decided to start chemotherapy while I was pregnant.”

She gave birth to a healthy baby, but she wasn’t able to breastfeed him. “I was told I couldn’t breastfeed for weeks after chemo, so I was not allowed to feed him when he was born, and at first I was even told I wouldn’t be able to pump,” she explained in the caption. “The lactation consultant at the hospital wouldn’t even come in to see me.”

However, after a ton of persistence, Valarie is now able to breastfeed and pump 10 days after a chemo dose. Valarie writes, “For 2 1/2 months I pumped and dumped to keep my milk supply, then when I started a chemotherapy with doses every other week instead of weekly, I got to breastfeed 4 days each cycle. Now, finally, after 4 months of pumping 6 times a day, I am able to breastfeed my son.” 

Oh, our hearts. A mother’s love prevails. However, this isn’t the end of the obstacles for the pair. “We still face challenges,” Valarie explained in the caption. “Radiation will likely dry up my milk on the effected side, but I feel victorious today.”

Valarie has faced an immense amount of struggle during her battle with cancer, but this moment of triumph is what she’s been waiting for. “This was like taking the power over my body back,” she wrote. “I’m the one in control of this one thing. This is something only I can do for my child, and if something happens to me, this is protection and health I can give him that will last the rest of his life.”

Valarie then encouraged others to share her story. “While every situation is different, I hope this will find some women who have been told they can’t breastfeed, and encourage them to keep looking for answers,” she concluded. “Find an expert, and if you have the will, you will find a way.”

We are totally misty-eyed. For a mother, breastfeeding is such a powerful, natural, and beautiful way to provide for a child. And even though Valarie had to overcome a whole lot to give her baby her own milk, she was determined, she never gave up, and she persevered. The power of motherly love is the strongest force in the world. Thanks, Valarie, for sharing your story. You are amazing.

[Images via]

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