Imagine discovering that you’re pregnant with your third child, a boy. You’re giddy with excitement and hope for the future. Then imagine discovering that you have breast cancer. And not just any cancer, but an incredibly aggressive form that seems determined to kill you before you get to hold that baby in your arms.
Well, mum Maria Crider had a message for her breast cancer – not today. Prepare to be overwhelmed with emotion at her incredible birth photos that show the strength, the courage and the raw emotion of this brave mum as she finally meets her newborn son.
One unilateral mastectomy, 16 chemo sessions, 25 radiation treatments. Oh… and a birth. What an intense year! And what an impressive woman.
Morning sickness, tiredness… and breast cancer
At 11 weeks pregnant, the busy mum-of-two (plus one in her tum) was looking forward to reaching her second trimester. However, after noticing a lump in her breast and having it checked, she received a shock diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer. The aggressive cancer affects 10 to 20 per cent of all breast cancer sufferers, often younger women.
Fortunately, 27-year-old Maria was able to receive some of the cancer treatment while growing her bub. At 16 weeks pregnant, she had her left breast removed.
The unilateral mastectomy was the first step in a long battle. She then endured four cycles of chemotherapy during her second and third trimesters. During her treatment for breast cancer during pregnancy, Maria remained as positive as possible, not just for her growing baby, but for her two older sons, five-year-old Tristan and two-year-old, Liam.
Meeting baby Logan
Although Maria was concerned about the safety of her baby, at 39 weeks pregnant, she delivered a perfectly healthy boy, named Logan. And photographer, Bonnie Hussey was on hand to photograph the entire thing.
These powerful photos are not your typical birth pics. They tell an incredible story of breast cancer during pregnancy and capture the intensity that these two little fighters have already faced, together. From the countdown to her caesarean to the first cuddle, these photos let Maria replay the moments over and over again.
The tears streaming down the proud mum’s face, the triumph of being able to breastfeed with just one breast (even if only for a short while), and the tender kiss between a husband and wife – these moments are ones that deserve to be cherished and remembered, especially after such a tough year.
“It’s been an emotional roller coaster,” she admits. “I’ve been through a unilateral mastectomy, a planned caesarean, a salpingectomy, 16 chemotherapies, 25 out of 28 radiations. I still have a ways to go before I can put this part of my life behind me.”
Breast cancer during pregnancy takes courage
“I wanted to share my story and journey with everyone. To raise awareness for breast cancer, treatment while pregnant, and hopefully education in earlier detection. Breast cancer isn’t exclusive to women in their forties and beyond,” Maria says.
“I hope it gives them the courage to talk to their doctors seek a course of action that’s right for both mom and baby. I want it to give them reassurance that you can go through certain treatment while pregnant. Logan is proof, and he’s just one of hundreds of babies born after chemo.”
The cancer fight isn’t over for Maria. With Logan safely out of the womb, the new mum will continue treatment while raising her three little boys. If that isn’t the epitome of strength, then we honestly don’t know what is.
For more emotional stories, have a read of our article about the sister acting as surrogate for her cancer-surviving twin. Then make sure you know the warning signs of breast cancer.