Like any other mom-to-be, all that 31-year-old Sarah Whitney wanted was to have a healthy baby. But the Florida mom needed to have one breast removed 20 weeks into her pregnancy and started chemotherapy for stage 3 breast cancer shortly afterwards.
When healthy baby Kal-El was born in April, photographer Kate Murray was there to capture the beautiful moment of Whitney breastfeeding her baby. Now, those photos have gone viral, touching the hearts of many after Whitney’s midwife office, Gentle Birth Options, posted the images to its Facebook page. The story has gained so much attention, and now Whitney is ready to share the story behind the emotional photos.
“I think for different people, they mean different things—maybe it’s the vulnerability, or maybe it’s that any woman who has had a child knows you would do anything for them, or maybe it’s seeing a mom breastfeed against all odds,” Whitney told Today Parents.
Whitney, now a mother of three, knew she would only be able to breastfeed Kal-El for two weeks before starting stronger treatment sessions, which would affect the breast milk. She wanted these photos taken so she could remember these precious moments.
“It is still, to this day, the hardest thing to deal with,” she told Today Parents. “Every day, it’s a constant reminder when I’m feeding my son a bottle that I can’t breastfeed.”
Now finished with chemo and radiation, she is treating her cancer with infusions of a medication called Herceptin. Whitney is also considering having her second breast removed as a preventive measure.
Since the birth of Kal-El, who is now six months old, Whitney has received the support of numerous women through an online community called Super Sarah Supporters and the GoFundMe page her supporters started to raise money for her medical bills. The money raised also covers the shipping costs of breast milk that breastfeeding mothers have been donating to Whitney.
Despite all the attention, Whitney is just glad she was able to share a beautiful moment with Kal-El and have it captured as a keepsake.
“For him to come out perfect and then know what to do and latch on, it was so important to me to be able to have that time with him,” she says. “I was just overwhelmed with emotion.”