When I *finally* weened my eldest I remember the strange voices that came into my head to attack the change. It wasn’t as if she was young, we’d got to 21 months, and when your daughter starts using you as an excuse to avoid bed for a bit longer it’s probably time to stop. Even so at every cry, every difficult night, and pretty much every other moment over the few days it took to stop my production and allow her to move on, little thoughts plagued me.
“You could just stop this and feed her, production would get back to normal pretty fast…”
“Why are we doing this? What does it matter if I feed her a little longer?”
“You’re just being selfish. She clearly wants you, just go back..”
I remember so vividly the intensity of how my brain and hormones was punishing me for making what was a fairly basic and harmless change in my role as Mama.
Now I’m here again, and those voices decided to start early. The simple idea of grabbing the opportunity of my daughters being with their grandparents for a few days to ween her whilst distracted is bugging me.
It is definitely time; she has more teeth than my eldest had at this point, she has done well on food since earlier than her sister, and right now I am basically treated as a snack food. She doesn’t need the boob for comfort and is very good with cuddles, and honestly I desperately need to have my body back. Sleep is being effected, which means so is my mental health, and that doesn’t help anything all at. It is time.
So why the voices? Why the guilt? Why the nervousness to suggest to anyone it might be the aim of the next few days? Why is it that having given my children the best I could for as long as I could, my own body, hormones, brain, and mental complexities decide to torture me to change my mind?
From an evolutionary instinct point of view I kind of get it – feed your offspring until they are literally able to hunt and gather on their own two feet. But this definitely brings me back to the question I have always asked about motherhood: why is it that something so important, something so necessary for our survival, and a time in which we are required to be the best we can possibly be, can feel so flipping crap?!
I went through pregnancy desperate to eat the right things and give my child the very best start. Coloured veg, pre-prepared healthy meals, fruit, et cetera et cetera, and still the smell of the kitchen made me want to throw up. Despite attempting to get more exercise and walk more every day (which puppy was pleased with) I would feel exhausted all day every day even if only sleeping. When pregnant for the second time I was told not to lift anything heavy despite already having a fairly hefty toddler, and don’t get me started on resting with a new baby, sleeping when they sleep (when exactly?), and taking it easy for the 6 weeks recovery time after a c-section.
I think what has potentially set off these voices earlier than expected is the honest belief this is going to be the last 12 hours that I will breast feed ever again. This is the last child that will be created in my body, because honestly I cannot do it again. I adore my children but I wouldn’t be surprised if everything above is mostly just my ridiculous body and more-so ridiculous mind. I know I can’t get pregnant again, have spoken to my GP at least twice about the possibility of severing that option for good, and would be a dealbreaker in any future alternate life plan.
I just can’t.
But that means this is it – that bond with my children, that feeling of really being needed, and something completely unique to my role for them has come to an end forever. I’m turning 30 this year but strangely this seems more significant. This is pretty much the only useful thing my breasts have ever done and I have honestly thought about cutting one off to take up Amazon-like archery. So suddenly something is changing for me, and my family, and I’m not sure what comes next.
Other than bra shopping… for something that doesn’t have to be described as “accessible”.