Yesterday was the last day I ever nursed a baby. I’ve been waiting for the right day, for the moment I was ready to pull the plug, and then I realized that I would never be completely ready. I have nursed for 36 months total; that’s 3 years. 16 months with Julian, and (almost) 20 months with Arthur. Arthur is our last baby. He is my baby. I was waiting for him to lose interest, or for me to lose interest, but neither ever happened. I know I could have kept going. But a part of me is ready to let go and move on.
But it is hard. I think only mothers who have breastfed (and have loved doing so) will understand. I will never again be needed in that way. No more sleepless nights with a baby at my breast. No more impatient yanking on my shirt. No more of Arthur’s sign for milk (his index finger tapping on the little finger of his other hand).
I’m only writing this down because I know I will want to remember.
Last night I nursed Arthur to sleep, and that hadn’t happened in months. He was so exhausted from our busy day. As I held my sleeping babe in my arms, I quietly said goodbye to this thing that we had. To this special bond. The purest of acts. Giving, feeding, nurturing, loving.
Today I made sure I spent a lot of time with Arthur. We danced an extra dance, played trains and busses and Elmo and firetruck, and we read more bedtime stories than usual. It was my strategy to avoid the void, the feeling of guilt, the sadness of letting go.
I am still sad. But he is ok. His Papa rocked him for a few minutes, and he was fine. He whimpered once, and that was it. He is fine. He will never remember any of this. This is a fleeting moment in his life, his boyhood, and I won’t embarrass him later on with my emotional turmoil on this day in late December.
(That’s why I keep this blog. It will embarrass my children for me.)