Read a neat excerpt from Nina Planck's new book, where she tells about the heart-wrenching, yet beautiful story of Deidre Currie and more about donating breast milk…
In the early nursing weeks, I often thought of my cesarean. I was haunted by mothers who come home from the hospital with milk but no baby to drink it, and by babies who come home with no mother. It still happens. With plenty of milk on my shirt and time on my hands, I considered finding a local baby who needed milk and offering to share, but never did anything about it.
More than a year later, I learned about Deidre Currie, a New Zealander and champion of real food. After a quick and sure romance over real food, she married the American Archie Welch, settled in Michigan, started earning her nutrition degree, and with characteristic zeal planned a real food conference. Within months of the honeymoon, Deidre, thirty-eight, was pregnant and eating better than ever. The happy couple was planning a home birth, but instead Deidre ended up in the emergency room with a pulmonary embolism and the baby in distress. Though failing fast, she willed herself to hold on long enough to give birth to Jack, who weighed more than six pounds despite being six weeks early. Archie told me what happened next.
“The word went out to mothers and they started pumping for him. His first meal in the hospital was breast milk from a mother who drove an hour and a half. She dropped off the milk, gave us all hugs, and left. She wouldn’t accept any money for gas or anything. She said she was honored to help. All the mothers have been screened for diet, supplements, and drugs. About nine mothers consistently donate. I’m sure he’s getting the advantage of a lot of different antibodies. As his appetite increases and some mums drop out, I’ve been adding raw cow milk. For a preemie, he is big. At four months, he is seventeen pounds and over two feet long. And happy. Jack is not a fussy child. Very calm, smiles a lot – but lets me know when he’s hungry.”
Deidre never saw or held her son. But she left him a legacy to last his entire life. In Jack’s short life, many mothers have already cared for him. By way of thanks, Archie shares food with the nursing mothers. “I figure if the mothers are getting good fats and nutrients from healthy raw cow’s milk, they will pass on those good things to Jack and to their own child. I also give them cod liver oil, coconut oil, meat, books, and my undying gratitude,” he said. “What I do for them pales in comparison for what they do for Jack.”
Nina’s book went on sale yesterday, and you can buy it here:
I was blessed to have met Archie, baby Jack, and a few members of Deidre's family at the Deidre Currie Festival last fall. Read more about that amazing day and find the links to my notes on the talks: the Deidre Currie Festival.
- Check out Nina’s website