Meghan Koziel had no desire to be reminded of her cancer battle as she celebrated the birth of her daughter.
According to Fatherly, three years ago, the 29-year-old mom from Pennsylvania went through aggressive treatment for breast cancer that involved a double mastectomy.
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Attention please, attention please. We do indeed have a mommy-to-be who had breast cancer and a mastectomy which means, without boobs in the houseeeee! Got the banner raised just in case people are confused at why we are NOT going to be breastfeeding our little bundle of joy. Yes I have foobs, no I do not have boobs (or nipples) therefore… my body is incapable of breastfeeding:) -sign was made by me!!!!!) ? thank u @japalelis for the inspiration! #breastcancer #pregnancy #thebump #bump #babybump #pregnant #survivor #thriver #breastcancer #breastcancerawareness #pregnantafterchemo #pregnancydiary #pregnantbelly #photography #38weekspregnant #inducedlabor #laboranddelivery #formulafeeding #breastfeeding #breastfeedingmama #banner #breastfeedingbanner #nobreastfeeding @similac_us
She told Metro that she risked cancer’s return by stopping hormone suppression medicine to get pregnant:
“I always dreamed of being a mum, so we took a risky decision to try and hoped it all turned out well. If not, we would be fighting the disease again. If the surgeon had left one cancer cell in the body, the hormones could have caused it to spread.”
Meghan’s dream did come true. In September, she and her husband welcomed daughter Kendra Jane, named partially in honor of Meghan’s oncologist. She told Metro that Kendra is, “our little miracle baby. We never thought we would have a child naturally and so are blessed.”
As someone who once worked in a hospital, Meghan knew that moms are encouraged to breastfeed and that not every doctor or nurse would read her chart when they walked in her room. What’s more, she didn’t want to have to rehash her medical history every time someone checked on her. So she made a sign to hang over her hospital bed that 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.
Meghan posted a photo of her sign on Instagram, writing, “Got the banner raised just in case people are confused at why we are NOT going to be breastfeeding our little bundle of joy. Yes I have foobs, no I do not have boobs (or nipples) therefore … my body is incapable of breastfeeding.”
The new mom says that a friend gave her the idea for the sign as a way to bypass the pain of having to recount her breast cancer history over and over again. Not only did the hospital staff respond well to it, but others on Instagram chimed in to say how much they liked the idea.
One commenter wrote: “Thank you so much for posting this … I went through this last year… I had to say this to every nurse who came into the nursery after I gave birth and even leading up to the birth I was reminded that I would not be able to breast feed and I felt a lil less than […] sometimes I feel guilty that I was not able to but it was out of my hands. I wish would have thought of this sign.”
Another said, “I love it! I’m a cancer survivor too. I had lymphoma. For whatever reason (I had chemo and radiation) I never produced ANY milk, nothing. I tried and tried but it was either go with a bottle or have my baby admitted for dehydration. I wish more people were sensitive to this topic. I even had a coworker tell me, ‘Anyone can breastfeed if they want to.’ So proud for you.”
There were a few commenters who weighed in to criticize Meghan’s formula decision, suggesting she try milk donation groups. However, Meghan told Parents that her local milk bank only provides breast milk for preemies or multiples. Plus, without help from insurance, the milk goes for $3 to $5 an ounce.
She added that she isn’t interested in trying milk from a Facebook donation group because there is no testing to ensure the milk isn’t carrying any diseases:
“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.”
On Instagram, Meghan continues to encourage cancer survivors not to give up hope of having a child, pointing out that, “fertility isn’t guaranteed for anyone in life.” And she has advice for moms who are tired of getting parenting lectures online as well.
As she told Parents, “We all must make decisions that are best for our families, and it is truly no one else’s business if it doesn’t affect them! Raise your child surrounded by love and with happiness and that baby will be amazing.”