Okay, not really boobs, but what comes out of them. Which is what most of this blog is about these days.
did a freezer inventory last night, and discovered I had three and a
half weeks worth of milk for day care. Considering my daughter is going
to be one in two weeks, I decided I would start weaning off
my pump early, starting with my pre-bedtime pumping session.
already mentioned how much I was looking forward to weaning off the
pump, but now that I'm actually doing it, I'm feeling all sorts of
feelings. Like anxiety. Sadness. Regret. Emptiness. Aimlessness. So I'm
trying to process why.
Up to now, breastfeeding has
largely defined me as a mother. I have worked incredibly hard to
maintain breastfeeding. I leave work every two hours because of it. I
shun social engagements because of it. My wardrobe and my diet are
governed by it. I think about it all the time. I talk about it
constantly. I do it everywhere. So if I stop pumping, I'm acknowledging
the eventual end of breastfeeding. It's the only thing that only I can
give to my daughter. So if I can't breastfeed, then like, anyone could
take care of her. I'm no better than the daycare worker or a babysitter
or my husband or my mom or the Jamaican lady at church. So if I stop,
when I stop, what does that mean for my relationship with my daughter?
night, around 3:00 am, my daughter starts chatting and eventually
whining until get up and retrieve her from her crib. She stands up and
reaches for me, and by the light of the nightlight we cuddle and nurse
in the rocking chair. She oscillates between waking and sleeping,
occasionally reaching up to touch my face or stroke my hair. I comb her
hair with my fingers and beam over how rosy her cheeks get from being
pressed against my skin. When her belly is finally full, she reaches
back and stretches her arms over her head. I always kiss her chin,
because it's toasty and sweet. And when I lay her back in her crib, she
snuggles her ghostie and waves bye-bye to me through a sleepy smile.
are some of my favorite moments with my daughter, and these are some of
the moments that will never be documented in photos or videos. These
are the moments I will want to convey to her when she is exhausted with a
newborn and sobbing about lack of sleep and sore breasts and bad
latches. And these are the moments I'm not ready to let go. I could wean
her off her nighttime feed. Lord knows I could use the sleep, but this
time is so brief. And while I'm so excited to hear my daughter's
thoughts verbalized and see her grow into a girl with autonomy and
ambitions, I relish that she needs me. Wants me. One day she won't, as
one day I did not want or need my own mother (though now I want and need
her more than I can remember). And I'm not ready. But time is unforgiving, and moves forward without approval. Dot will not remember any of this, and she will rather define me based on my decisions when she is 5 and 8 and 15. But right now, this is all we know, and I'm having a hard time imagining it any other way. All I've known have been nighttime feedings and cozy mornings and quiet corners. Fortunately, I have a patient and independent child who is willing to teach me that there is so much more to being a mother than breastfeeding. Hopefully I'm a fast learner.