Oh, how I ache for him to nurse again. I have nursed with him at least 3 times every single day for his entire life, until 7 days ago. It was the first thing I did when I woke up. It was the first thing I did after a long and stressful day at work. It was the last thing I did before he went to bed. It is gone now, either for a while or forever, and I am grieving the loss of this special time we spent together.
One of the hardest things is wanting desperately to follow his lead, but also holding out hope that he isn't really done with nursing. It's a constant internal battle of understanding and respecting his wishes and hoping he might change his mind.
I found the five stages of grief and loss, and have discovered that I have been experiencing all of these over the last week. I cannot believe the anger I feel sometimes. I get angry when I see posts on facebook from the nursing websites I love and follow. I get angry when I think about people who have ongoing successful nursing relationships with their babies and toddlers. I'm pretty much pissed off at everyone one minute, then feeling at peace the next.
It's the same with depression. I go from extreme low moments where I can hardly hold in the tears to complete acceptance with this being the end. The mood swings are so severe that I cannot predict which I will feel in a day. My guess is that a lot of that is hormonal.
I know that people will say that I should be happy about the 11 months I've had. The truth is, if this had been a gradual change, I could have become more accepting of one less feeding in the morning, or skipping the feeding when I picked him up from school, but this was a complete shock. This gave me no warning and no preparation for ending nursing. I relied on these moments with my littlest boy. Perhaps this is selfish of me, but we were in this together.
This was as much a part of my life as it was his, and I miss it terribly. I can and will continue to pump milk for him as long as my body will allow me to, so the issue of him not getting my milk into toddlerhood is not the issue. The issue is that I have lost the way I connected with my son. I lost the way I knew, not wondered, but knew that he would not become dehydrated. I've lost my tool for hurt feelings and bumped heads. Until 7 days ago, I had no idea how to mother without nursing. I am now learning how.
Seven days ago, the nursing relationship I had with my littlest boy died. When he woke up on Thursday morning, he had the same needs that I have to learn how to provide for in a different way than what my body is programmed to do. This is so much more than just nursing for 11 months.
I was sick with a fever yesterday, no doubt because I have been under so much stress lately. So I decided to keep him home with me, send BBZ to school, and try to have some loving 1-1 time with him. While he didn't show any progress toward nursing again, what we were able to do is reconnect. I was able to rock him to sleep for 2 naps without any crying or resisting. We snuggled and cuddled and I began to realize that I do know how to mother him without nursing, and I can do this if it is what is to be for us.
I have hope that no matter what happens, we will be ok. I can still be connetced with him. I can still wind down from a hard day, even if it involves a pump. I am so incredibly sad about what is now gone, but hopeful that all is not lost because one aspect of our relationship is gone.
I ate luch out today, and this was my fortune.
I have been holding true that what I want is to have peace with whatever his decision is, but quite frankly, that's bull shit. I want my baby to nurse again. That is my dearest wish. If he chooses not to, I'll get over it and move on. But that's what I want. I'm not going to sugar-coat it. I want our nursing relationship back.