open letter to formula companies

Dear formula companies,

I'm one of the moms who defends you until I'm breathless and stressed out on a regular basis. I'm the one who sings your praises because your formula nourished my beautiful little boy when I couldn't and it was your formula that was going to feed my daughter because I didn't want to go through all that again. You know, the stress and anxiety and feeling like CPS was going to knock at my door to take my son out of the home simply because I couldn't feed him from my own body. I wasn't going to do that again. Actually, once the fog lifted from having to use your formula to feed my son, I advocated pretty hard for you. I don't know if you heard, but a huge percentage of the internet seems to believe the most pressing issue in the world is what you're feeding your infant. Forget war or famine or anything else so second tier -- formula versus breastmilk is where it's at. Anyway, I advocated for you big time. We were supposed to be friends, you and me. I looked out for you and you, in turn, looked out for me.

So, please, knock it off with the formula deliveries on the doorstep. Knock it off with the boxes with "hi, mom" written on the side next to the photo of the joyful woman snuggling up to her infant. My stillborn baby daughter doesn't need your formula and I, her weeping and pathetic mess of a mother, don't need your reminders.

I know, it seems like I'm picking on you. Where's the blog post dedicated to the baby store coupons that come in my mailbox, the pleas for me to finish the registry I deleted just as my shower invitations had begun being received? Where's the rant geared towards the mommy and me group invitations that come addressed to "Baby Girl Joly" on the regular or the pleas to open a savings account for my second child like we do our first child? Trust me, I die a little inside whenever another medical bill from a pediatric specialist who couldn't save her shows up and I pretend the mail didn't come when I open the box and am greeting with some knit booties from a company who wants me to choose them for my deceased child's college plan. But every few weeks when I think I'm brave enough to face the day -- when I think okay, self, you can get through the holidays -- I open my front door while my three year old stands next to me and explain to him that the box of formula isn't a Christmas present for him. What is it? What is it? What is it then? Is it for a baby? I mean, come on, formula companies, you can't even make this you-know-what up. You're killing me.

I love your products. I think formula is awesome. I am sure that someone will inevitably leave me a comment on this post that reads like an "I told you so" about formula companies being money-hungry hogs and wanting to destroy everything good in this world because, hey, people are really good at missing the point sometimes. My point is, this hurts. It's not very nice. It's also Florida and it's hot here -- I'm not entirely sure I'd be using the formula left out on my doorstep in the hundred degree weather anyway (okay, I totally wouldn't be using it). Samples are cool. I wish I had them for my son when I was trying to figure out what formula was and what type did what, because I was totally clueless. But at some point, it's taunting. At some point it's a kick in the gut when I open the door to grab some morning coffee before I spend a day with my family. It's a big, fat "no you can't!" to cancel out my "okay, self, you can do this."

So, please, knock it off. Take this formula and give it to a family who needs it. Give it to a women's shelter. Let it be available for pick up at doctor's offices or fire stations or police headquarters or places where moms who need the samples can get them. Let moms who need them call you and ask you to deliver the samples to them where they can be eagerly waiting to use them. After the last five boxes we've received since our daughter's death, I don't even want to hear that you don't have the budget or funding to do that. A waste of money is hot, rancid formula tossed into a trash can by a mom who wishes she could be holding a baby not in an urn.

Anyway, think about it. Consider it. But please leave me out of it. My daughter died nearly six months ago. I probably would have had her feeding figured out anyway. Let's go back to that place where I can advocate for you and you can just feed the babies who need you, okay?

Ethan and Wylie's mom


  1. First time reader/commenter here, found you through FFF on Facebook. I just wanted to say I know how you feel, though on a smaller scale. I'm so very sorry about the loss of your daughter, no parent should have to go through that. I hope the formula companies see this and at least think for just a moment.

  2. I am so so very sorry for your loss. Send you my love, and hope the formula companies stop sending you painful reminders of your loss.

  3. I love your brutal honesty. People that don't suffer losses like the one you did don't know about the day to day pain that follows and I'm extremely happy that you shared this. We can all stand to be more sensitive to one another because we really don't know what each other are going through and how something like a box of formula delivered at a doorstep can rehash all the rawness of trauma. I respect you, I WILL NEVER FORGET WYLIE, and I just wanna give you a big hug. <3 Oh and also, I love your heart. It is pure gold.

  4. Ugh, YES!!!!! Me too. I still have no idea how they got my address! I just got a new box the other day and I was 9.5 months out! :(

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