Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bittersweet (Memories)

Bittersweet. Some baby milestones are pure joy; walking, first words, and one of my personal favorites--sleeping through the night…but this one has put a lump in my throat.

If you have never experienced the wonder of motherhood, then this post won’t be one you can relate to, but someday you might.

As subfolder of motherhood, nursing is one of the most spiritual, emotional experiences you can endure. I think of breast milk as manna via mommy—the perfect food that replenishes itself constantly—a gift from God in his infinite wisdom. The bond that has been established between me and the babies, and each other, is a testament to nursing. However, I say endure because it’s not all warm and fuzzies. Granted, I nursed two babies at once…literally. That’s a lot of nursing. I had Mastitis (staph infection in the breast) four times. I found out last fall that I have a benign polyp, which caused random profuse bleeding while I nursed…not pretty. At that point, we started to eliminate a feeding or two a day and replaced it with formula.

By the time the girls were a year old, I was only nursing at night before bed. I planned to continue this through the winter to give them the extra antibodies that my milk provides, but Reagan, being the spitfire that she it, decided otherwise. She had way too much to see and do to be held in my arms for ten whole minutes at a time. So, Abby and I continued with our little routine, which I absolutely relished. Unfortunately with our recent flu bug, she was so miserable that she didn’t want to, so it broke the routine…it killed our mojo. Now, it has been over a week, and I am left with a heart wrenching decision—I could pick it back up, or just let it go.

Bedtime is less complicated without the separation and solitude of taking one of two babies aside to nurse…but (insert whine) I liked it! I miss it! Waa! If I am not nursing then I can take any medicine that I need to…I can even have a glass of wine. I can have a babysitter put them to bed. But (insert whine again) I loved it! I miss it! Waa!

Honestly, when the time came, I didn’t think it would be this hard--I thought that I would be more relieved to get my body back, but upon reflection, that ship has sailed. I belong to the little monkeys. I am part jungle gym, trampoline, mattress, and Kleenex. Not to mention that the effects of carrying eleven pounds of baby around does irreparable damage to the skin, and nursing ruins muscle tissue…period. (I joke that you could use a picture of my stomach as the reminder stickers for birth control pills.)

So with the pros outweighing the cons, my resolve is to just let it be. The girls are fourteen months now, and I don’t want to be one of those moms who nurse beyond the appropriate timeframe…you know what I mean. If the child can verbally request to switch sides, or say “Yummy, dat’s good!” that threshold has been crossed (imo). But I was just not emotionally ready for this…since the cutoff wasn’t planned, I didn’t get a chance to psych myself up for it. To someone has not experienced this it might seem silly, but I am grieving this milestone. I will never get to have those beautiful moments again.


Note: This was written quite awhile ago since the girls are almost three now (wowzers). But I still miss it so much…