I knew it was coming for while. Our journey had run it’s course and it was time to move on! It was heartbreaking just thinking about it but I knew in my gut that it was the best thing for both of us. For months I thought about it, I read numerous articles and blog posts and discussed it would others who had gone through with it successfully. I knew it would be difficult, there would be tears, we both would get emotional, I would second guess my decision and eventually there would be a huge stand off where I would probably change my mind and just give in. And this would go on for a few weeks before it finally ended! But I was prepared, I analyzed every possible situation and planned exactly what the outcome would be and how I would react. I had a plan, it was going to be hard but I was going to do this!
And then it happened, there were no tears, no emotional outburst, no huge stand off! Just the sound of my voice saying ‘the milk is finished’, which was met with silent acceptance! Little Miss Thea then turned her back, stuck her thumb in her mouth and went sleep!
Just like that our 20-month breastfeeding journey came to a screeching halt! I had breastfed my baby girl for the last time and I didn’t even know it! I wasn’t ready for it to end like this! It was supposed to be a process! I deserved an outburst! And she didn’t even give me the opportunity to savor her last feed or to have my moment, can you believe her?
Well our journey started the same way in ended, one of us being more interesting in sleeping and the other, being emotional! Those first few days in the hospital were so stressful, my milk hadn’t come in, the nursing staff were putting pressure on me and I had a hungry baby girl. I reluctantly agreed for the nursing staff to feed her formula, I felt like such a failure. It wasn’t supposed to be like that, She was supposed to be exclusively breastfed, I’d done all the reading, purchased all the aids, I planed everything however I couldn’t control my body! I felt so helpless and so useless, my first task as a new mum and I had failed! This gutted me but what could I do except move forward and stop at the store on the way home and purchase some formula.
But when I got home, I decided to try one more time before I surrendered to the bottle and what do you know, Thea fed. I was so excited and so relieved!
Turn the clock forward 6 weeks and I just couldn’t handle it anymore! Breastfeeding was not for me, Thea would hurt me, I would end up with a blocked duct and then there would engorgement! It was an endless cycle of pain and I was miserable. The struggle was very, very real! I didn’t feel this peace and bliss that other mama’s felt when they were feeding. And it definitely did not look like the image of Giselle breastfeeding that I had seen. She looked so happy and relaxed, with her hair and makeup being done and her happy baby hanging from her boob! I looked more like a gorilla trying to wrangle her young in place!
It was then and there that I decided I was going to stop breastfeeding. Later that day I had Thea’s 6 weeks check up with her pediatrician, I informed him of my decision and my reasons why. He removed is glasses and asked ‘Kesh, do you have to go back to work’ to which I replied ‘No’. He then asked ‘Kesh, do you have other kids to manage’ to which I replied ‘No’. And then came the most shocking question, Do you have something better to do’ to which I replied ‘No, it’s just becoming to painfully and I’m not enjoying it’. His response was clear, ‘I don’t give a damn, Kesh, you will breastfeed this child till she’s at least 18 months. I don’t care how difficult it is, suck it up’. I don’t know what I expected him to say, but I know it wasn’t that.
Well after being told that, I couldn’t well quit now, could I. So I continued, as we approached the 12 week mark it started getting abit easier and by 6 months I was a pro, I could do just about anything while feeding Thea. And I must admit, I actually started to enjoy it! There was this peace and pride watching this little girl who was just so content.
So as she turned 18 months, I prepared myself, I did my reading and my planning! But when the moment arrived she just accepted it. There were no tears, no tantrum, just acceptance. I sacrificed wine, coffee, and aspects of my life so that she could get all the right nutrients, I deserved a fuss, and I deserved some sort of gratitude! And I got nothing, it was like the last 20 months had meant nothing that our little bond was never there! It was heartbreaking, I felt so used! How could my own daughter do this to me!
As I continued to sulk for the next few days, I realized something, the weaning process is not actually about the child, it’s more about the mama. For 9 months they were apart of us, apart of our every move, apart of our every breath and apart of our being. Then, they were born, and we felt like we lost abit us, they were there but now we had to share them. But we still had breastfeeding, our own personal journey, the closeness, the dependency and the bond, just like when we carried them around for 9 months.
And now when there’s no breastfeeding, what do we have, an independent little toddler with a mind and moves of its own. We feel like we’ve lost them, that the bond has gone, our connection has been lost. And I think that’s what the weaning process is designed for, to give us the time and the closure we deserve.
So, when like in my case, where there isn’t really a weaning process, you kind of just end up feeling used and sorry for yourself! I didn’t get the closure I needed, instead I got an independent little girl, who can accept and adapt to any given situation. And when I think of it that way, I feel like a complete idiot! I should be proud, I raised a strong child who knows, when she needs comfort, a hug is always available, when she needs food, I’m a screech away and when she needs her mama, I know it before she does.
The breastfeeding is gone but the bond is still there, the comfort is still there, the connection is still there, cause I’m still here!