19 June 2008

End of an Era

Tuesday morning Otto nursed from right to left and back again. He gripped the side he wasn't suckling, obviously plotting the next switch-over. I thought hard. We are going out of town without kids for one night this weekend. Soon I will be working weekly 12 hour shifts delivering babies (!). My father is visiting next week. Augusto might go out of town soon. I made the decision. I hesitated. Then I talked to him. "This is the last time for nursing, Otto. Tomorrow you'll get up with Papai. We won't have any more mama milk." He didn't say anything, but he did linger more than usual. Or maybe I was lingering. I have been nursing since October 18, 2004. Three years and eight months. Well, there was a 6 month break while pregnant with Otto. But I was pregnant and under hormonal influence.

Weaning Stella brought tears. Initial nursing was so rough, that letting go of our triumph was especially hard. By weaning Stella, I was making way for the new baby. It was the first space she needed to yield. By weaning, I was letting go of her.

Weaning Otto is bittersweet. I have been boasting for months. No more babies for me. I've been a vessel for too long. I want to drink martinis without guilt and go rock climbing again. And here we are. Two days into it. At 5:30 am, I breathed in and out, fluffed my pillow and listened to his cries when Augusto got him and took him downstairs. "Mommee. Mommee!"

I could turn back. Nurse tomorrow. Part of me wants to. I will never nurse again. I keep thinking it! There are no rules, no guidebook. We make it up as we go. Why stop now? My friend who is taking the kids this weekend- she can handle one tough morning. She is a good mother. Our night away is the inspiration, but it's not the reason. I'm not completely sure, but the reason is linked to my need for self care, independence. Parenting is a state of constant alert. Deep giving. My personal stores are dangerously low. I am running, reading, getting occasional pedicures. But mostly I am taking care of others. Work. Dog. House. Garden. Husband. Neighborhood politics. Oh, yeah.. and Otto and Stella. Nursing is a beautiful symbol of nurturing. I think that's why I need to let it go. Otto needs to yield space for me now. By weaning him, I am letting go of me.



ELK said...

I saw your post on shutter sisters and wanted to let you know that I remember it well (13 years ago now) weaning really is a freeing experience for both but bittersweet as well ...nursing was a real blessing for me and a very special memory!

angie said...

I remember how painful (physically and emotionally)weaning was the first time around. After several babies, it tends to be when I get pregnant with the next one. But my last weaning was the most painful yet. I hope you and the baby weather this storm quickly.

giana said...

beautiful !!!! I am 100% behind your choice !!!! love to you all !!!

Sheri said...


if you're back in town today, shoot me an email. hoping to post your poems today (and also to get your pick on your prize). :)

weaning is a heartbreaker. good luck.

kim the midwife said...

thanks for the support. weaning IS painful. when i weaned the first, i was pregnant, so i didn't notice the engorgement. but NOW, jeez, it's like the first few days of nursing. my deflated boobs are full again. pretty, but painful.

Lisa said...

Oh, sweet momma! It is a bittersweet time indeed. I look forward to nursing our next baby, but very much enjoy the independence I have now. :)