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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Something a Little Different…

My little guy is in love.  With boobs.  My boobs.

I have to begin by saying that there may be some naysayers out there- some of my closest friends and even family.  I am nursing my 28 month old.  Some friends have nursed past six months, some past a year, and some still past two years.  I am aware though that I am a minority.  We nurse before nap and bedtime every day.  And most mornings.  And when he’s sick.  And when he takes a wicked head-knocker.  But that’s it.  Promise.

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Co-workers: Some know and some don’t.  The ones who know may talk behind my back or not.  The ones who don’t, well they may now.

Family: They know.  Most support.  Some judge.  Some pretend they are cool with it- and those usually ask way too many questions.

Friends: Well, there are two camps.  Camp One: Supporters.  Camp Two: Non-supporters.  Nuff said.

I didn’t ever make a decision that I would nurse long term.  When he was born, I remember thinking we’ll just go as long as we can.  The La Leche (nazi-breast feeders) says that children will wean themselves by a year, two at the most.  Lies!  These are lies!  No child of mine has ever “self-weaned”.  It’s a forced week of crying and husband hating.  But still.  Let’s try this.  A year came and went.  Well, let’s see what happens.  Eighteen months.  Huh.  He surely will wean by two!  Two years old.  Um.  Where exactly are we going with this?  I have no clue.

And people want to know.  They seem to really want to know.  Oh, you haven’t weaned yet?  How long are you going to go?  Well, he’s got to stop by kindergarten!  No wonder he’s so attached to you…

The truth is that I shouldn’t care.  I shouldn’t let stares, comments, questions bother me.  Because I am not nursing other people.  I am nursing my child.  But it matters to me.  I can’t help but feel insecure.  It’s not enough to make me wean him but it’s enough to make me more guarded about who I tell.  It’s enough to make me feel insecure.  And it’s enough for me to ask myself Should this be over?

Whatever we are doing seems to be working for us.  So please.  Unless you have nursed an older baby, unless you have seen that little latched smile, unless you have had your breasts kissed goodbye, and even if you haven’t: please don’t judge.

We Mamas make choices that we think are the best for our children and we feel strongly that these are the safest, smartest, most logical decisions.  We scour the internet, read books (and books and books!), take classes, talk to our friends, listen to our Mamas, our sisters, teachers, babysitters.  We buy stupid stuff that people tell us we need, or that we see others using so it has to be useful, right?  We bend over backwards to make sure our kids will have the best shot at life.  That they will grow up to be smarter, more secure, more independent, stronger, softer, healthier, more successful then the generation before.  So why do we judge the decisions of others so harshly?  I believe it’s because we are insecure.  We need some shred of assurance that we did the right thing.  And we get that by shooting down the choices that others make which might differ from our own.

Be secure.  Your child is alive.  Your child is strong.  Your child will be smart and independent and healthy.  Because of you.  And mine will be because of me.

A beautiful thing has happened because of this blog.  Mamas are coming together. I am not taking credit for this- it’s merely happened that women with children have been brought together because we all yell at our children.  We all know we shouldn’t.  We don’t judge each other.  I feel the strength from my closest friends when we trade texts about how our kids are driving us up the wall and it seems not quite as bad.  It seems comforting, reassuring, comical even.  We need each other.  We need cheer each other on.  Let’s try to do the same with sleep training, homeschooling, potty training, curfews, breastfeeding.

Peace Mamas.  Feel the love of Mamahood!