How donating breast milk helped me heal and nourished babies in need

Before I could even fit into a training bra, I’d feel my chest for lumps.

I was always fearful that I’d find a lump and get the same disease that killed mom when she was 40. For years after Mom died of breast cancer, I worried and saw boobs as nothing more than a breeding ground for death.

But then I became a mom.

When I began to nurse and pump for my daughter, and later for my son, I began to see breasts not as symbols of death but as sources of life. The body part that housed the disease that took my mom away from me became the body part that made my babies’ milk and drew me closer to them. It was, at least in the earlier part of their infancy, their lifeline.

When I started to donate breast milk earlier this year, I extended this lifeline to other infants.

I wrote about this experience, and the emotions that came with it, in an essay published this week in the Dallas Morning News. You can read it here.

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at

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