Gratitude Friday: My big girl.

After months of talking about it and grappling over it, I decided it was time to wean Vera. Nursing this little girl has been an absolute privilege and pleasure. I’m so grateful for the 3 full years of feeding this wonderful person from my body. I’m so grateful for the amazing gift of milk, with all its protective and nourishing qualities, and that we had a seamless and easy nursing relationship.

I had always envisioned the weaning process to be a gradual one. One that was led more by the child than the mother. However, I had some serious instincts over the past few months that made that really difficult for me. I tried to ignore those instincts, and thought it was just an issue with my character. I thought maybe I was just tired, or not thinking about it the right way, or something, but those instincts just got stronger. The big sign, for me, was that I didn’t have them with Asa, no matter how touched-out I got. I think this was my body’s way of saying it was just too much, and it was time to stop.

I’ve been thinking about it, and I realized that part of being a good mother is being in-tune with not just what my kids need, but what I need as well. I am grateful for my instincts, and my growing ability to listen to them.

I’d been talking with her about becoming a "big girl", and being all done with milk. She agreed that it would be someday in the future, but just not today… On Monday, I just knew. I told her she was a big girl, I told her she was all done with milk. I knew I meant it, I knew we were just done, and we both cried for a while. It actually surprised me how affected I was by it. This relationship we’ve got, it’s so intimate and just… so complex. So wrapped up in hormones and instincts and primal love. I never had any clue, I just had to feel it. I ache for my babies. They are my blood.

It was a hugely emotional day for me, and just writing this I’ve got a lump in my throat. She has been so good, and although she’s still asking and still disappointed, she is accepting each time. I’m so proud of her. We went out that night to get a nice candle to light for a new nighttime ritual for the two of us. I light the match, then she takes it and touches it to the wick, then I sing her a song. 
I’ve been telling her this beautiful thing that I read about how to explain this to a newly weaned toddler. I say "When you were inside me, you were just this tiny little seed, and I fed you from my body. Then you were born, just a tiny little baby, and I fed you from my breasts. Now you are my beautiful big girl, and you can feed yourself." 

Vera and I, summer 2008.
Oh my. What a ride I’m on. Transitions of any kind are hard, I’m learning. I’ve nursed her every day of her life, and now that’s over. On to the next thing. This is good, and beautiful, but there’s a part of me that is left behind with this. My sweet girl, growing up, learning how to change. And I’m doing the same thing, right along side her. Lots to be grateful for.

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