Courtesy Meghan Koziel(PITTSBURGH) — A breast cancer survivor created a unique solution to alert hospital staff that she would not be breastfeeding her newborn due to a double mastectomy.
Meghan Koziel, 29, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is gaining attention on social media for the banner she made titled "No Breastfeeding Zone," which featured the following poem:
Though breastfeeding is a very special task.
Please be aware before you ask.
Our miracle baby will be formula fed,
And it will not affect her future ahead.
"I wanted it to be pink and sparkly because that's how I am, and I think coming up with the poem was less intrusive," Koziel told "Good Morning America." "To tell them, 'I don't have boobs.' They'd read the sign and laugh."
Koziel was diagnosed with breast cancer on Oct 12, 2015 when she was 26 years old. She underwent chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, 33 rounds of radiation and later, two breast reconstruction surgeries, she said.
Soon after, Koziel married her husband John and the two began family planning. Koziel said she did IVF for an egg retrieval to preserve the couple's chance to have a child.
"It was basically because chemotherapy damages your ovaries," she said. "I always dreamed of being a mom."
With the advice of a fertility specialist, the Koziels tried to have a baby naturally for six months and succeeded. In January, Koziel learned she was expecting.
"It was the best day of my life," Koziel said.
Koziel has been cancer-free since July 2017. She's documented her journey on her Instagram page where she and her "breasties" empower one another.
Koziel said that when she was preparing to give birth, she noticed one of her followers had placed a sign on her hospital room door to alert staff that she was formula feeding her baby. Koziel then decided to make one of her own.
Fellow moms praised Koziel for identifying the fact that not everyone can breastfeed. But there were also a few negative comments shaming her for formula feeding her child, Koziel said.
"I don't have milk ducts, I don't have breasts–my breasts are literally silicon," Koziel said, adding that she looked into donor milk, but it was not affordable for her. "[The banner] was not meant to be aggressive. It was meant to say, 'This is my history, just move on.'"
Elizabeth LaFleur, a registered nurse and lactation consultant, at Mayo Clinic, St. Mary's Campus in Rochester, Minnesota, said she's seen similar situations where a mother was not capable of breastfeeding.
"It's also the mother's decision," LaFleur told "GMA." "If a mother has all the information that she feels she needs to make the decision, that's when she'll feel the most secure."
LaFleur added that prenatal courses are a good place to help facilitate whether or not you are breastfeeding.
"The education is there, should [expectant mothers] need it or desire it," she said.vb
On September 15, the Koziels welcomed a daughter, Kendra Jane — named after Koziel's oncologist, Jane Raymond.
"I want people to know that you can be sick, but you can still live a beautiful life," Koziel said. "If your dream is to be a mom, there are options…you can find that love of life."
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