C is napping. And I am sitting here with tears running down my face. I think I just nursed him for the last time.
My relationship with nursing has been deeply personal. Because I fell in love with nursing, because it was an “easy in” to the overwhelming business of becoming a mother for me does not mean that I think breastfeeding equals motherhood. Or that nursing mothers are better mothers. Or that breastfeeding is the only right choice.
Breastfeeding was the right choice for our family.
It was also a privilege. I am a stay at home Mother with a shit-ton of support. I got to see lactation consultants. When I needed to have a troublesome mole removed that was located next to my nipple my Mom bought me a hospital grade pump. I am beyond lucky, it is important to recognize that.
C just turned 26 months old a couple of days ago. I reached my goal of nursing him until he was two. It is time to let go.
But somehow nursing has become a crutch for me. In so many ways I feel like I’ve let C down as his Mother. I feel like if I was a better Mom I would have noticed during the exact moment he should have been learning to speak and done something about it back then. Parenting a two year old who cannot effectively communicate has been so frustrating for all of us. Nursing him feels like the only thing I’m doing right some days. Taking away that safety net, those few moments when I can hold him and do something tangible for him, terrifies me. I do not know how to be his mother without the boob. In the two short years C has been on this planet I have made an infinite number of mistakes with him. How can I give up the one thing I know I’m doing right?
Today marks one of the many days when I let go a little. Let my son grow up a tiny bit. Take a step into uncharted territory.
I know that he is going to be fine.
I still worry I’m not enough for him. I still worry I have no idea what I’m doing. The pain of parenting still takes my breath away. But jesus fucking christ, it is worth it.
My sweet son reached up and held onto my face as we cuddled and watched the tube a few weeks ago.
He woke from his nap a few minutes ago angry as hell, which is unusual. I held him close. “Mama!” he cried and he poked my chest. Which is how he asks to nurse. I’ve kept him to breastfeeding three time a day for the last month or so, no more nursing on demand. And he hasn’t asked to nurse after his nap in ages. Of course he would today. I started to sob. He sobbed alongside me. I told him no, that we weren’t going to nurse. I told him I loved him. I held him closer. “Help!” he wept as he continued to poke my chest, “Help! Help! Help!”
Are you fucking kidding me? I mean, I can’t make this shit up.
It was unbelievably wrenching. I sat on the stairs with him and we both shook with great wails and held each other. Eventually my wails turned to laughter. Because it was all so ridiculous. And then I asked him if he wanted ham or cheese or raisins or water. He finally took the bait with the water and now he is happily eating raisins while humming the Star Wars theme.
Yes, he has a few words now. Dada, Mama, help, ball, cat, more, arm. The speech therapy is working. In fact, we have a makeup session in a bit.
C on the day he was born. I can see a glimpse of who he will become in this picture.