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.

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Goodnight Without the Boob

Well that’s exactly what it was.  For the first time.  Ever.  In case you missed my earlier post, I am an extended nurser.  I tend to stay away from saying extended breastfeeder because that seems to freak people out a little more.  Makes it more graphic, I don’t know.  My son will be 30 months old this week  (for those of you who are still dividing by twelve, that’s two and a half years old).  And we still boob (how’s that for graphic?).  Lately, I have been considering, pondering the idea that maybe this should all be over.  It has been a long time.  There is little to no nutrition going on, I’d like my own boobs back (even though they are a train wreck) and he is two and a half…

Today was a wonderful day.  My baby had his first playdate with an adorable little fella and was totally exhausted tonight after trading his nap for a chauffeured tour of his buddy’s driveway in a hot pink Barbie Jeep (it was really quite something).  At bedtime tonight, we got jammies on, brushed teeth and went up to choose books.  Just as the argument began over which book to read, my little guy says Sleep. Here.  And pointed to his brother’s bed.  I asked him again what he said, confused- maybe hoping I’d heard him wrong.  Sleep. Here.  And he pointed again.  Okay, I said, knowing this would never last.  He popped in bed next to his brother and laid down.  You want to sleep in here tonight?  Grin.  Nod.  Okay.  Love you…  And I walked out. Now he’s sleeping up there as cute as can be next to his brother.  Wow.

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I’m honestly experiencing a swirl of emotions right now.  I’m so relieved that it could possibly be this easy.  That there really could be no tears.  I’m proud that my littlest babe can find his way to dreamland peacefully- and quite frankly adorably- next to his older brother without Mama.  Without Mama.  And that’s where the warm fuzzies end.  Did he not need me?  Did he not need to press his sweet face against my breast, look into my eyes, and rub his soft fleshy fingers into my warm skin?  Does he no longer require my arms around him, calming and secure, strong and reassuring?  I’m feeling a little lost.  A little hallow.  

I read about women who refer to nursing as a journey and I never quite understood that so clearly as I do tonight- for tonight I am quite honestly fearful that our journey has come to its end.  I remember back to the nights, alone with him, the feeling of elation at the sounds of his swallows in the dark. His warm belly against mine, still swollen from where he was housed just days before.  That feeling, those nights, will never be matched.  It’s been a mutual love affair until this evening and now I have been dumped.  Kicked to the curb like yesterday’s news.  He broke up with me for his brother.  Ouch.

He’s our last child.  There will be no more babies.  No more births, no more first teeth, no more first rolls, steps or even diapers for that matter.  All that is done.  I am aware that there will be many more firsts (day of school lost tooth, bikes, soccer games…) but I’m talking about The Firsts.  Why is it so hard to leave that part behind?  I can almost watch it happening.

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As I write tonight, I am living in the moment- maybe more than I ever have in my life. As I watch our relationship morph, I am aware that it’s not about me.   Our journey has been guided fully by his will and I’m not about to interfere with his method but it doesn’t ease the ache in my chest, the longing in my soul for my children to stay babies forever.  Sappy and stupid, I know- but Real.  Tonight it is so Real.  So what will tomorrow bring…  I’m curious to discover how our bedtime routine will change.  And if this is the end.  Cue throat lump…  Is this over?

Peace Mamas.