Mom Prepares For Cancer Battle With Final Breastfeeding Photo Shoot

by Megan Zander
Originally Published: 

Mom marks last day of breastfeeding with incredible photo shoot

Natasha Fogarty loved breastfeeding her five-month-old-son, Mil0. While she had planned to breastfeed for a full year, a recent diagnosis of stage two breast cancer cut those plans short. “I loved breastfeeding more than anything in the world,” the St. Louis mom told Cosmopolitan. “It was my favorite thing to do. I still get choked up about it — the fact that I had to stop was extremely hard.”

Fogarty marked her final breastfeeding session with a photo shoot and shared the images on the popular Facebook page Breastfeeding Mama Talk to both raise awareness of the need for moms to routinely check themselves for lumps and to encourage moms struggling with breastfeeding. “To hear a story like mine could inspire you to take a deep breath and say, ‘I’m very lucky, and I get to do this as long as I want,'” she says.

Fogarty discovered a lump in her left chest while she was pregnant, but she initially thought it was due to her milk coming in. “My boobs were getting lumpy and different, and I was like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to worry about it.'” she said. But the lump stuck around even after the birth of her son. “I had him, and then my boobs got really engorged, [and] I forgot about it, and I started being a mom and raising my son. But every time I would breastfeed him, that particular bump would never go away.”

As moms it’s so easy to put ourselves last. We joke about not being able to remember the last time we showered or going way too long between hair cuts. And far too many of us put our own health on the back burner to take care of everyone else. Fortunately Fogarty made the wise call to make an appointment with her obstetrician, which lead to an ultrasound, a mammogram, then a biopsy and ultimately a diagnosis of stage two breast cancer. A single mastectomy was quickly scheduled.

Because Fogarty and her son shared such a special breastfeeding bond, she wanted to mark their final feeding session with a photo shoot. She put a call out on Facebook and Kari Dallas of Vintage Lens Photography graciously offered to take the photos for free. “Even during the hardest moments, it was just so special to just grab him and know that he could be comforted by me, and he just looked into my eyes, and there was such a connection of love,” she said. Three friends have stepped up to provide Milo with donor milk but giving up breastfeeding was still hard. “I wanted to go for a year, I never wanted to stop, so coming to terms with [stopping] was really hard.”

Aware that she would likely lose her hair due to her upcoming chemo, Fogarty dyed her hair an awesome hot pink for the photo shoot, because why the fuck not? “All my friends and family were like, ‘Of course you dyed your hair — we didn’t expect anything less.’ And I love it!”

As for now, Fogarty is recovering from her mastectomy and preparing for 24 weeks of chemo treatments. We wish her the best of luck during treatment and beyond.

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