Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The End of an Era


I wonder if some cultures have a party, or a ceremony, or something for the day that they nurse their last baby. I could really use one right now.

What a strange feeling.

When I had Matan, someone came to visit me (with a Starbucks latte – yum!) and told me a beautiful thing about nursing. She said that Hashem is so smart. When we have the baby, we really aren’t ready to separate completely, so Hashem gives us this beautiful way to stay connected; to keep the baby with us, if you will, for that much longer.

And that has certainly been my experience.

I’ve been slowly weaning Yakir for a few months now, but I’ve held on to the 5:00 a.m. feeding.

“He still needs it!” I’ve said, with a straight face, when Josh has asked.

“No, really,” I’ve explained, pretending to look frustrated, “I just can’t get him to take anything else during that early morning feeding.”

And then it happened this morning.

I had Eliav pass a bottle into Yakir’s crib to see if he’d take it. Standing on the sidelines, I was assuming, of course, that he would reject the bottle and come into my open arms.

And then he took it.

My heart dropped and I held myself back from taking it away from him.

And that was it.

My last baby was weaned.

Yes, it’s been a long road, and I should be jumping for joy that I’m finally detached (in a little way, at least) from the apron strings. And yes, I hear those of you out there saying, “You never know!” and “There could be more!”

Accidents do happen – but we aren’t planning on them.

At one point, I calculated what I’ve done in the last 12 plus years.

I’ve been pregnant for 60 months. That’s 5 full years.

I’ve gained a total of 232 pounds (give or take a few).

That means I’ve lost 232 pounds (give or take a few).

I’ve nursed babies for six solid years.

This also means that, in terms of my fashion, in the last 12 plus years I’ve either been wearing maternity clothes or nursing shirts. I’ve had six years where I couldn’t wear dresses because I wouldn’t be able to nurse on demand in them.

And, needless to say, I’ve loved every single minute.

Women often talk about menopause as a life-altering experience; as a time of change, renewal and regrouping.

I have rarely, if ever, encountered anyone marking the stage that I’m now experiencing, however.

How bittersweet, how transformative, how awe-inspiring.

I looked down at Yakir’s hungry little face this morning as he devoured his bottle and said to him, “Well, big guy. That’s it. You’re on your own now. We aren’t physically connected anymore.”

And I wiped the tear away before anyone noticed.

Maybe.

2 comments:

  1. Oh boy, do I ever relate. Weaning my 12th and last child was a killer. My sympathies. The bright side? You nursed for as long as you did and you have those beautiful memories forever.

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  2. Your writing is so touching, it took me back 16 years. That's the power of words. Well-built, they can be spaceships, time machines, fountains of youth. Kol hakavod, my friend. Keep writing what people need to feel, and feel again.

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