Breaking Up With the Breast

It’s happening.  This is really happening.  And just when I said self-weaning was bullshit.  Don’t worry, this isn’t turning into a breastfeeding blog, because that’s coming abruptly to an end.  For the second consecutive night, my little guy sheepishly crawled in with a brother and snuggled in.  Without me. Without me.  Without his Mama.

This moment has been on my mind all day.  It was my first thought this morning, consumed my commute to work, filled the spaces in my mind during meetings, brought on an ache in my throat after lunch.  I was distracted as I watched my oldest play lacrosse tonight, at dinner and in the yard.  As I watched that sweet boy run and throw his head back in laughter, rolling in the grass, flashing me that toothy, goofy smile, I knew bedtime was coming.  We brushed teeth, I held my breath.  Climbed the stairs, put jammies on.  Stomach tightening, Are you going to sleep with your brother again tonight?  Yes.

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And all of a sudden, this became a story about a Mama losing her baby.  If reading that doesn’t signal the pierce of a tear, the sting of your nose, or your breath to catch, I can tell you that as a Mama, short of tragedy, there may be no greater loss.  So here is the raw truth: We want our children to grow, learn, become.  But the instances when they start to leave us are both the most heart-breaking and heart-filling moments we may ever experience.  A child turning from what was once the only comfort he knew, while causing undeniable pain, is a Mama’s greatest accomplishment.  We raise our children to leave us.  But the moment it actually happens is nothing we could have fathomed before that point.

This is also the story of a baby growing into a child.  He’s not leaving his Mama, he just needs her a little less.  We need to learn to bond in a different way.  I am beyond thankful that he is choosing this path on his own will.  I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I’d wondered if it was time or thought about how we would do this.  He’s taken the guesswork out of the process.  I’m trying not to let this break my heart.  Trying so hard to accept his choice.  I never, in my whole life, thought I’d grow so attached to nursing.  It’s not the act of nursing, it’s the connection we share at the end of the day.  Correction: It’s the connected we shared at the end of the day.

My heart feels heavy and light tonight, if that’s possible.  So much of Mamahood is filled with experiences which are both the best and worst thing all at once.  I’m living in the moment; documenting these moments, pouring my guts out because I need to not feel alone in this.  I know I’m not.  I know there are a many of Mamas nodding their heads right now.  Thank you Mamas.  I know there maybe some who are not Mamas reading too- and hopefully now you get it.  Now you get a peek into this world of being a Mama.  The struggle, the success, the pain, the bliss.  The Love.

Peace Mamas.

19 thoughts on “Breaking Up With the Breast

  1. I miss breast feeding. I nursed my daughter for a very long time and while I was relieved when it stopped I missed it so much. It was a part of me for so long. But they still need us. My kid still need to rub my skin whenever I with them, arm, belly whatever. It gets a little overwhelming at times. And then there might be a time when that doesn’t happen and I will miss it. That picture is adorable by the way.

    • I have a “rubb-er” too! I’m noticing that he’s beginning to do it less and less… Why do we wish for them to grow up and then cry when it happens?! What’s wrong with us?! 🙂

  2. I’ve just started my second journey into nursing and in that phase where I’m reminded how hard it can be. Your story reminds me of how worth it is and how much I ended up loving it with my daughter. Thanks for the encouragement I needed tonight.

  3. That is so sad and awesome at the same time!! I hope you know what I mean. ❤ He must be really close with his big brother to want to sleep with him too – how sweet!
    Big *hugs* to you tonight, mommy. xoxo

    • Tonight was the third night without nursing… He had a little bit of a hard time but I ended up laying with him for a few minutes. He asked to nurse and I told him I didn’t think there was any milk left… He placed his hand on my breast and looked deeply into my eyes before he fell asleep. I would have given in but he didn’t put up a fight. My heart is aching for the third night in a row. He adores his brothers- has alternated sleeping with them the last few nights- I sneak in a snap photos… I’m kinda obsessed with them 😉

      • Well you are doing so great!! xoxo How cute that he stared at you like that after what you said. I’d be taking lots and lots of photos too, if it were my boys! 😀

      • Wow he must really be ready then. Makes me sad. Sorry I’m no help. I’m a sap when it comes to nursing and giving it up.

        Sometimes I have to remind myself to try to enjoy the craziness because t happens every night when they are asleep I miss them…until the morning when they seem to argue first thing over everything.

  4. Usually your blog makes me chuckle, but this brought tears to my eyes. The end of nursing each of my kids was my decision, not theirs, when they were each 14 months or so. They did just fine but I always did wonder how long we could have continued had I not put the stop to it and how it might have happened. Heartbreaking and freeing either way, for both parties. Hang in there mama!

    • I’m so touched you have read my blog- thank you!!! He’s my third (and last!) and this is the first time I have let my child determine the end. Over the last 2 1/2 years, there have been plenty of occasions when I wanted to end it but I always came back to my commitment to let him call the shots. It was incredibly ‘freeing’. Because I have let him decide, I am the one left feeling left out, rejected and hurt- much the same way my other two must have felt when I weaned them… Both ways are right. There is no wrong way to do this thing called Mamahood… Thank you for sharing your experience! And thank you SO much for reading!

  5. This made me tear up! My lil guy is almost 5 months old and every day that passes seems like another day lost:( I am very active with him, so it’s not that I’m missing my opportunities, it’s just going bye so fast! I am enjoying, encouraging and embracing each stage of development, but I look back at pictures and can’t fathom where the time went. Thanks for sharing what you’re going through! It’s encouraging to hear from another Mama:) Us Moms need each other on this journey!!

  6. “We raise our children to leave us”. This is the hardest lesson for me. If I could, I would go back and re- live each moment with my 18 month old son from pregnancy on. The thought that each day he is moveing towards independence breaks my heart. At the same time I’m excited to see who he will become. Such a strange mix of emotions.

  7. Pingback: Bye, Bye Booby | Mama Gets Real

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