“He got to share his gift even if he wasn’t here.”
Ariel Matthews lost her sweet baby boy Ronan just 11 days after his birth. While dealing with the unimaginable loss, the California mom decided to donate the breast milk her body still produced to help other parents.
“When Ronan passed, it just felt like the right thing to do. He got to share his gift even if he wasn’t here,” she told Scary Mommy. Matthews, who has a 3-year-old named Noah, told us that helping other moms was important to her even though she was still grieving. “I wanted to help other moms because I physically could,” Matthews shared. “Plus the only reason I was able to donate was because of Ronan. I just wanted to share his gift.”
Matthews had lived through a similar situation before. About a year ago she had a stillborn baby boy named Cayden. She told us that when he was born, she decided then to donate as much breast milk as possible. “My milk was going to come in anyways, so I wanted to make good use of it,” she explained. “Even if pumping is exhausting.” She had hoped to donate 1,000 oz. with Cayden, but her body produced 510 oz. “I think because he came early, I just didn’t produce as much,” Matthews told PEOPLE. “So I made it another goal if my body would let me, to try for 1,000 oz. And then I just decided to keep going with it once I hit it.”
After Ronan passed away, she donated 2,370 oz. or about 148.1 lbs. of breast milk, which is more than Matthews weighs. Her milk went to three families. Two moms never produced milk after their babies’ births and one family had just adopted a foster baby. “I got the honor of helping other babies have full bellies,” she told us. “[The moms] would send me pictures of the babies right after drinking my milk, all passed out and full. So that was really cool.” Donating breast milk has been an important act of love for Matthews so she donated after all three pregnancies for a total of 2,801 oz.
Matthews shared her selfless journey on Instagram and has reached hundreds of women, moms, and parents with her kindness. “I’ve always wanted to inspire people but never knew this would be the reason why,” she wrote on Instagram. “If my story is bringing hope, and light, I couldn’t be more happy.”
Matthews also told us that it’s important to her that other moms don’t feel ashamed of miscarriages, stillborns, or young infant losses. “I feel like child loss is something that used to be more hush-hush. I believe it should be well known what women have to go through,” she shared.”If anything I do can pick someone out of the darkness of loss, then that is something I can be proud of the rest of my life. Women should feel strong and brave for their ability to overcome something so awful. I just hope I can help.”