Saturday, July 20, 2013

A New Way to Love

Time got away from me again.

I haven’t written anything in a long time.

My days with two toddlers have been beyond busy.
The last few months have brought a lot of big changes.

My babies have grown into toddlers.
Little people, really.

They understand most of the things I say to them.

They can communicate to get what they want.

They (almost) speak actual words.

They know so many things.

Most of the changes I have been able to embrace, they excite me and I have never been more proud.
Every day they do something awesome, and that’s pretty damn cool.


Another big change has happened.

We are finished with breast feeding.

We are finished breast feeding, and I think my heart might be broken.

When the babies were born, despite a rough start, I was lucky enough to have more than enough milk to feed both of them.

I was bound and determined that they would be exclusively breast fed.
And in the end, for the most part, they were.

In the beginning, breast feeding two newborns was a nightmare.

I was lucky, I had plenty of milk


Despite having a supply fit for an army...I was still only one person.

Breast fed babies eat more often than formula fed babies, simply because, breast milk isn't as heavy, and takes less time to digest.


Whenever they would hit a growth spurt I would end up (literally) nursing each of them every hour.

For the first six months of their lives, I pretty much never slept.

During the first four or five months, when their demand was at its highest, I would also pump milk.
This meant that, for one bedtime feeding, and for one middle of the night feeding, Bill could get up with one of the babies (always Badger) and give me a slight break.


They were getting up 3-4 times a night.


In those early months I didn't think I was going to be able to do it.
At least once a week I would break down into tears, claiming;

 "I just couldn't breast feed anymore".

I was so tired.
Physically and mentally.

There we times that I couldn't bear the thought of another child, latching on, scratching and grabbing at my poor breast, while still, another child waited in the wings for their own turn.

My pre-birth promise to breast feed for 12 months began to dwindle.

I re-vamped it all the way down to 3 months.
I could not imagine making it past that long.

But I did.

And in fact, the opposite of what I imagined began to happen.

I began to enjoy it.

So how did THAT happen?
How did my feelings turn 360 so dramatically?

The truth is, around the 5th month, it got a lot easier.
It was still really hard, but their demand was lessening…

And suddenly, there were times were I almost felt like I could catch my breath.

My personal breast feeding goal started to climb again.
Six months…nine months...ten months....and then suddenly, before I had even realized it, we had arrived at 12 months.

A new unforeseen problem had surfaced.  

How and when was I going to stop?

My goal began to push farther forward, no longer projecting how long I could manage it, but, how much longer until I had to stop.

13 months…

By 13 months they were nursing a mere fraction of what they used to.
It was becoming clear that it wasn't even because they were hungry.
It was all about comfort.  

I knew our days were numbered.

In a big way I couldn't wait.
NOT breast feeding meant a big pile of freedom.

Being able to leave them for extended periods of time was a big one…

…and I would no longer be completely relied on to put them to sleep.


And how about…drinking?
 I remembered that being fun!

Even something as simple as being able to take cold medication.

I was looking forward to all of it.

I could see my new reality poking over the horizon, like a blur of land after a long bout at sea.

14 months...15 months…

15 months.

15 months and suddenly I found myself on our 2nd day without milk.

Without my milk.

I almost don't even know how it happened.

A nap here, a nap there,
No milk.

And then...
…finally, a bed time without milk.

 two bedtimes.


No "emergency" calm down nursing in the early mornings.

No random comfort nursing during the day.

It snuck up.

I felt ambushed.


Afraid that it is all over.
For good.

I found myself, lying awake, hoping somebody would wake up.
Begging someone to wake up, so I can selfishly take them from their cribs, to have one last nurse.

I began to panic.

As much of trial it had been, as much (at times) I sincerely hated breast feeding,

I had realized;
I was really going to miss it.

I was going to miss bringing one of my warm babies to my own bed and nursing them back to sleep.

I was going to miss how instantly and fiercely my body could calm them.

I was going to miss peering at them in the moonlight, stroking their cheeks and hair, admiring every inch of their perfect bodies.

The panic rose.

Nursing was the ONLY moments I had with my BABY.


These times were the ONLY times I have had to truly enjoy my BABY individually.

The only time.
And it was disappearing.

Without them, how I will reclaim those moments?

Where do I find my perfect moments in time, that were already so few, to embrace my babies.

One by one.

There is nothing else I could ever compare it to.
And it will never be the same.


About six weeks have passed now, and we have in fact, completely stopped breast feeding.
I still find myself very conflicted.



Suddenly, the two beings, who, from their very first breaths, demanded every ounce of me day and night for the last 15 months, have been sleeping solidly through the night.

Our nighttime house is silent.

For 15 months it was the only thing I had wished, begged and pleaded for.

What I have dreamed of.



Why does it hurt so much?

Why am I having such a hard time getting over it?

16 months…

This morning, Bug woke up a few minutes before her brother.
I brought her to my bed and laid her against my naked chest.

I began to wonder if this would confuse her?

If nursing even occurred to her, I will never know.
She simply cuddled in and laid a pudgy hand against me.

Her cheek resting against my breast.

Suddenly she looked up at me, smiled, and cuddled deeper

As if to say;

“this is all I need…just you”

The feeling I had thought was lost forever came flooding back.
I closed my eyes, and for one perfect moment I was content with all of it.

I’ve talked about change, and letting go, many times before, and I know that this is one of those things that fall into that category.

I don’t think I will ever NOT miss it,


I know I will get over it. 

My children will continue to show me new ways to love them. 

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