Monday, June 4, 2012

Sharing bodies

When I was pregnant with Sunshine people had asked if I was going to breastfeed, not wanting to feel like a failure if I didn't or decided to stop very early on, I always answered, "I'm going to try."  I was quite surprised when I was still nursing her when she was 15 months old and I became pregnant with Monkey.  I continued to nurse her until she was 17 months and I was almost 3 months pregnant.  It was a gradual weaning, going down to one morning nursing.

When I was pregnant with Monkey, people asked again if I was going to nurse and I said, "Yes, for at least a year."  This way if I decided to continue, people weren't going to be questioning me as to why I was still nursing the baby, after all, he's 13 months now and you said one year.  I slowly weaning down to one nursing and when he was 18 months old, we went on a family vacation.  One morning I realized that I didn't realize when I nursed him last.*

Then with Bug, people stopped asking and just said, "You're going to nurse this baby, right?"  No one asked how long and I didn't feel the need to justify how long I chose to or not to nurse my child.  He's now 19 months and is nursing only one time a day.  He's been down to one time a day since April.  I thought I would wean him when I went out of town and realized that I wasn't ready to stop.  Unlike with Sunshine and Monkey, this is it.  He is my last.  There will be no others and no opportunity to have another.  One morning he will nurse for the last time and it will be the last time.  I will never have that kind of bond with a baby again.  Ever.

But I'm torn.

I'm also ready to get my body back.  I've shared my body with a baby almost non-stop for 7 years.  Of course when I say my 'body back', I won't be getting my pre-pregnancy body back.  I'll be getting some other body back.  A foreign body that has never belonged to me before.  A body that has never been without milk.  I have never completely dried up before getting pregnant again and then I was pregnant and bodies are supposed to be different; growing, shifting, bloated, stretched.  I'll admit, I'm scared.  What on earth is going to happen when I'm done?  I know what I look like now and it's, well, it's scary!  This is definitely not the body I had 7 years ago.  I was never completely comfortable with my body, which I don't know if this makes it easier or makes me angry that I never appreciated what I had.  Then I wonder, should I be appreciating this body?  In 30 years will I be saying that I wish I had appreciated this body?  Probably.  That's not very promising.

Whenever it happens though, I hope it's my choice.  I hope that one day Bug doesn't decide to reject me.  I want to be able to stare into his eyes and caress his cheeks and run my hand through his hair while he nurses for the last time.  When I nurse him for the last time, I want to be ready, I don't want to be told that I'm done.  Bug doesn't ask to be nursed, he never really has.  I guess it will make it easier, I won't have to ever worry about telling him 'no' and I hope I will never need to tell him 'all gone'.  One day it will be gone, I just don't want to know when that day happens.

*Please realize that I did NOT forget to feed him.  He was happily eating at every breakfast buffet we went to.

1 comment:

  1. There is something so special about being a mother and truly sharing your body, especially after your baby is born. Enjoy of every minute of it ...