There was no fanfare and certainly no parade. There was no preparation, of the emotional or physical kind, neither for Scarlet nor for myself. What happened? Scarlet weaned completely from breastfeeding on Monday morning. It was certainly a long time coming as she hasn’t been into it for two or three months. Before Monday, it only happened every other morning and it was sweet and happy and peaceful, but not necessarily productive. I had made it through extreme pain in the first month, moderate pain for the first four months, two or three horrendous clogged ducts, her biting me once or twice, moderating my diet for her, choking down those prenatal vitamins long after I was sick of them…and more.
My original goal was one year and then I decided I would keep going as long as she was still interested. I decided I’d never stop her but I would gladly be stopped by her. I would have, however, probably stopped her by 18 months or age two but I knew I wouldn’t have to. I think I was keeping it going to protect myself. I had heard from many sources that when you stop nursing, you experience both physical and emotional changes, or pain. I didn’t want that. I was postponing what I thought to be inevitable pain because I was already in so much emotional pain from a lousy summer.
And now what? Do I mourn what is surely a great loss in my life? I nourished her for the nine months before she was born and for nearly 16 months after she was born. And I kept it going past my goal. And it was annoying and time-consuming and inconvenient at many times. I battled breast pumps and had one die on me and then rented a several thousand dollar one from the hospital and then decided a manual one was enough for me and then my work situation changed three times and I had to keep up with her demands and her growth spurts and her changes. So I guess I’m relieved.
But it was sweet. It was something between just the two of us for so long. It was my built in excuse to get people the heck away from me. “Oh, sorry? She’s hungry. (even when she wasn’t) Guess I’ll go find a private room to go…be alone with her in!” Ah, I miss that. I haven’t had a letdown in months. There hasn’t been a steady flow in just as long. It’s been basically over for awhile but now I know this – it’s really over. Unless I have a second (or third) child, this era is done.
I don’t feel strongly in either direction right now. I’m slightly relieved that my body will go back to its old self, or as close to it as possible, after two years of pregnancy and nursing. It actually already has. I’ve lost four pounds since I stopped and it’s certainly not from lack of eating. (Local Burger twice and Greggory’s Pasty Shop this week) On the other hand, I feel the tiniest pinprick of hidden tears that our peaceful, rocking chair mornings are over. I guess we’ll have to find a new sweet activity that belongs to no one else but us.