Gratitude Friday: My big girl.
Posted On April 1, 2011
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.
This does sound like a bittersweet time. And that is a wonderful quote!
I am in tears! Bittersweet is the exactly word that comes to mind. I didn’t realize what a brave step for the both of you, something like this would be. How wonderful. And what a wonderful relationship you have. ♥
I cried too. What a beautiful soul you are, and Vera. So… profoundly in touch with life. I love it. I love the way you have done this with her. I hope all your changes together are as gentle and loving.♥
Very sweet. You’re a wonderful mother.
It is such a big transition, it sounds like you did a wonderful job explaining it to her and helping her through! All three of my kids weaned at 3 years or so, it was just right for us and time to move on to other things. Bittersweet!
the quote brought tears to my eyes. i am putting this entry in my memories, i might want to use that someday …
Aw…this makes me have a big old lump in my throat. I’m really proud of Vera for trying to understand and learn how to make this shift.
I am simultaneously looking forward to and dreading being done with nursing Henry. Thank you for some good words to help me think about it.
Well done to you and Vera for going through this transition so well. It sounds like the time was right. The new night time ritual is lovely!
I really like that first picture of the two of you, and Asa is such a cute little man 🙂
How lucky Vera is to have such a thoughtful, caring and compassionate mama. You are amazing Grace, you really are. *hugs*
*hugs* So beautiful. I also love that quote.<3
thanks for the telling 🙂
That is really helpful. It provided me a number of ideas and I’ll be placing them on my web site eventually. I’m bookmarking your blog and I’ll be back. Thanks again!