Chris Lopez was running some morning errands with her partner, Cee Grant, in Chino, Calif., last week when she noticed that he was wetting a spot on his dress shirt. No, he wasn’t getting rid of a coffee stain. It was his humorous show of solidarity for the mother of his two children. And it was a symbolic moment that any breastfeeding mother can appreciate.
“I fell in love with him because he was always that person to turn an awkward moment into a hilarious moment,” Lopez tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I didn’t know that I was leaking, and I was like, ‘What are you doing?’ He said, ‘Look at your nipple.’ It was a nice way to stop me from being humiliated.”
This moment was bigger than just one laugh over spilled milk for the couple. When Lopez was breastfeeding their first child, Dominic, now 3, he wasn’t there to do this for her.
“I surprisingly got pregnant, and at that time he was sick, battling a substance abuse problem,” Lopez explains. “When my son came, he was trying to get better. He couldn’t really be there for me. He was just trying to survive, really. We were together for the baby and we really loved each other, but I knew that he had some serious stuff going on.”
Lopez felt alone in her struggles with breastfeeding, unprepared for how difficult it could be. After three months, her milk dried up.
“I had a lot of pain and sadness from not being able to nurse my son,” she shares. “I had this guilt that I failed him or myself.”
The silver lining, though, was that Grant finally got clean and sober. The two parents, who have known each other since they were 10 years old, eventually decided to have another baby together. But this time, Lopez says, inspired by a life coach she had been following online, she decided to tell Grant what she needed from him.
“I just made sure to let him know, ‘Look, I need breastfeeding to work this time around, and I need your support,’” she says. And he was there — for the 3 a.m. trip to the drugstore for nipple shields and, more important, for the times when Lopez was frustrated and ready to give up. “Every time I was like, ‘I can’t do this anymore, I’m going to give up,’ he said, ‘No, you can’t.’”
Their daughter, Camila, will be 11 months old next week, and Lopez is going to keep nursing until Camila seems ready to stop. The success of her partnership with Grant is what prompted Lopez to post the photo of their matching milk stains to a breastfeeding Facebook group.
“Every day we recognize the moms who breastfeed,” she wrote, “but today I just wanted to give a little shout out to my biggest fan.”
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