On Weaning

I've gone back and forth about whether I would write about this. It's been such a whirlwind of emotions--what was my greatest hurdle, and yet my greatest triumph, has come to an end.

Many won't understand the emotions associated with weaning after a long run of nursing a baby. In our case, 19 months. But tonight, I'm writing for the many who do understand. Who have fought and gave and struggled and persevered and raged to be able to nurse their child, for however long they were able, and then one day, had to say goodbye. 

And I'm sure there are many nursing mamas who still won't understand these feelings, because we are all completely different. Our bodies, our minds, our hearts, our pain, our victories--they are all uniquely ours. 

The past several days have been hard. NC decided that she was content not nursing for a few days in a row and on the third night when I went to put her to sleep and she didn't do so much as bat an eye in interest to nurse, as we have every night for her entire life thus far, I knew it was over. A couple days later, she decided that she had changed her mind, at least in the moment, and my heart broke all over again. The thought of scooping her up and staring into her eyes, her heart against mine, and my entire self comforting her again, completely slayed me. I couldn't bear the thought of again in a day or two, maybe a week, maybe a month, that she'd decide she was done again. So I said no. To spare me the pain that I'd already begun to grieve, already mourned the loss of, already began to say goodbye to.

Tonight I received a message from a friend that offered exactly the comfort I needed in this moment. She told me how she wrote a letter to her daughter explaining their nursing journey and that really helped give her some closure (and a good cry).  A love letter of sorts, explaining the breaking heart of a mama who is watching time go by with no way to stop it.

So I figured this could be my version of an ode to my daughter, and the life-changing opportunity she gave me when she let me feed her and hold her and comfort her and grow her with my own body. It is a part of me I will always treasure and look back on with deep gratitude and with a reverence for all that is mysterious and good and beautiful in life. 

Here's to the mamas and the babies who have held each other in endless embrace and who have given each other the strength and quiet solitude that the other did not even know she was missing.

**written at 9:45 pm on 3/25/15, laying in the dark on the floor by my daughter's crib, holding her hand as she falls asleep.