Weaning My Babies Broke My Heart

My daughter was 12 months old when I weaned her because I was pregnant with her brother. Three months later, he was born and for the next close to three years, I nursed him. The relationship had its ups and downs. After the first year, nursing became more of a battle for us. He wanted it all the time and I wanted it far, far less. But now, at a little more than five years into motherhood, I am no longer nursing either of my children and it's a heartbreak.

The funny thing is by the end of my time nursing my son, I was so ready to be done. But fast-forward a few months and I find myself glancing longingly at new moms, their babes held tight to their bodies. No one can explain what nursing feels like until they have done it, and obviously, it can't last forever. But why does it have to be so sad when it ends?

Writer Sarah Tuttle-Singer put it best when she described her own "empty breast syndrome":

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Because even though I am so glad that I’m done nursing, and that I have reclaimed my breasts as my own,  I am still grieving the loss of fullness that comes with knowing that for three years and three months -- through the passage of ten seasons -- I was able to nourish both babies with my boobies.  

It's so true. It's a fight we can't win. No matter how long we nurse, no matter how much we hate it or love it, when it's over, we're sad. And it's something too few women talk about even though many of us feel it.

How is it possible to hate and love something so much all at the same time? It's like everything else in parenthood, it seems. They say, "The hours are long, but the years are short," and how true it is. It all seems to go by so quickly looking back, even though in the moments, it can be maddening.

So, I am no longer a nursing mom and a part of me wants to have another baby just to keep nursing. Is that crazy? Maybe. But the message is clear. To all you moms out there who are still nursing and wishing you had your bods back to yourself, this mom on the other side wishes she could be you for just another day.

It's an incredible thing to be able to provide for your baby, and ending the relationship is going to be fraught with feeling. Like everything else with parenthood.

Were you sad when you stopped nursing?

 

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