Wednesday, January 24, 2007

My body once more

A huge part of my life has ended recently. I have been pregnant or nursing for close to eight years solid. I have shared my womb, my blood, and my milk for nearly a decade with little tiny people, who depended on me to think of them when I made decisions on what to eat, what medicines to take, even what soap to wash myself with.

That all ended four days ago. My baby, S, less than a week from turning two, has not nursed since Saturday night. Maybe even Friday. It wasn't really my choice, it was hers, although lately I only offered when she asked. She just, well, stopped asking. I can't even really remember the last session, and that makes me sad. The end of a momentous, defining era of my life, and it's gone without a memory of even one last pat, one last smile, one last moment of that special life-affirming gaze a nursing baby and her mommy share.

It was a couple of years after my oldest N was born before I felt like she was her own person. All her actions, all her growth, even the words she said or the smiles she gave, somehow I felt like they were mine, too. It was a surprise of sorts to discover that she was her own person. That revelation may have come shortly after she stopped nursing at 23 months, when I no longer provided a material source of her growth. I'm not sure when my delusion ended, but I do remember how for so long she felt like she was an extension of myself, and I did revel in how young and alive that made me feel. Each of my daughters gave me that gift, and now that time has ended.

So, now, I can drink that diet soda. I can eat all the jalepenos my colon can withstand. I can wash my nipples with Lifeboy if I want to. I can, and to some extent I want, I was ready for it to end.

Just...... not so suddenly, and not without a lasting memory of the goodbye.

Progressive Women's Blog Ring
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