The Wet Nurse

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When I review patients coming in for their appointments, often I would praise them or congratulate them if have made progress in taking care of their health. Diabetic patients for instance, who made changes in their lifestyle, or who are more compliant to their medications, which in turn had better glycaemic control. I would say ‘good job’ or ‘congratulations’. I would then coax them, to share with me their success stories. Not for myself but more for them so that they know they are being acknowledged and that every effort they made counted. Hence, InsyaAllah they would strive more for the better.

Occasionally, I would come across Life Lessons in the form of these patients. Like yesterday, when I had the opportunity to listen to a story of Kindness, Determination, Patience in one.

I was sitting in one of my Rural Clinic sessions. These clinics are usually less busy as compared to the Primary Care Clinics. This serves as an opportunity to spend more one on one time with the patients. And in came a lady bringing in her newborn for a check. On the baby book – it was already clearly indicated that she was the adoptive mother.

As I checked the baby, I asked whether the biological mom had any antenatal medical issues to which she didn’t. Then I enquired further whether they still keep in touch and if the biomum supplied her breastmilk to the baby – because that is what some biomums do when they give their baby away out of love. The adoptive mom said she doesnt have much milk so the supply has stopped BUT she is giving her own milk as well so the baby is well fed. I was in AWE.

The adoptive mother, Madam Kind was in her early 40s with already 2 teenage children and she underwent induced lactation! Of course I asked of her experience which she was happy to share. Cause you see, as a medical professional, we sometimes see things from the medical perspective only – this was one of those rare opportunities (I say rare because I’m not in the gynae field that deals with this case more) for me to know the thinking process/emotional part of it. I wanted to know how difficult or how meaningful the journey was to the patient.

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HOW IT STARTED

Madam Kind was working as a nurse in a private hospital when one of the specialists was looking for interested individuals to care for the baby. The search started in the biomums 3rd trimester. Coincidentally she wanted to adopt a child and when the chance came, she jumped on it.

THE NIYAT

Prior to this she had always had the intention, that if she were to adopt a child, be it a girl or boy… she would still breastfeed them. BECAUSE she wanted the child to be ‘milk-siblings’ with her current children. Hence, a mahram muabbad to her husband as well (if the baby is a girl) which instantly grants this baby the status similar to their biological child. At least they would be no issues regarding aurat amongst family members.

THE PROCESS

This particular lady started her journey as a wet nurse at Week 33 gestation of the biomum. She only had to consume Domperidone and regular pumping sessions to stimulate her breast. On good days she can store 1 ounces of milk from both breasts of which she would keep it in her freezer. The aim is to collect her breast milk as much as she could so the rules of Milk-Sibling could be fulfilled. Which is for the child (less than 2 years old) to be ‘full’ at least 5 times. And this milk is enough to grow the build and bones of the child.

Do note that the stomach of a newborn is only the size of a marble. Hence she collected more than enough for the purpose and was even able to directly breastfeed the baby.

Listening to her journey made me realize why it has always been suggested that if you wish to adopt a child outside your family – it would be best to welcome them in the family since Day 1. Tak susah kan nak bagi baby kenyang? Of course, the adoptive mother too  have to make her own sacrifices and this would not be possible if the lady did not have tremendous support from her own husband and kids.

I asked  her if she was happy with how everything turned out to which she said Alhamdulilah with great pride. Of course the family is still tied to paperwork. I did not manage to ask her regarding THAT as I had another patient to review after her. It would be interesting to learn that aspect of adoption as well.

I congratulated her on her new bundle of joy. I praised her for her diligence and mentioned the kindness and understanding of her family and co-workers as well. I feel that she should know that she was doing a good job. I am glad that the baby found a good, caring family. Insya-Allah the baby will grow up to be an outstanding khalifah.