This post is part of Mothering's "Blog about Breastfeeding" event to celebrate International Breastfeeding Week, Aug 1st-7th.
There has been little about my and baby E's nursing relationship that anyone would consider traditional. My journey to nurse him started nearly 2 years before he was born. No, it started even earlier than that, when I nursed my oldest son. But with baby E, I was determined to be more successful. There was reading, and research, and appointments with doctors, and meds, and pumping and more pumping), and the ever-present SNS. And all of that before I even knew of his existence. After birth, there was all of that in addition to driving all over the state to pick up breast milk from other mamas to feed my baby.
Nursing baby E has been a blessing and been healing in many ways. But it has also been a challenge. There was baby E's biological father finding out, and demanding that I stop (even though E's birth mama was happy I was nursing him). There have been many times I simply knew that weaning was just around the corner. Or the many times we were nearly out of milk. And then, thanks to the miraculous intervention of one (or more) of our amazing donors, we've been blessed to continue. There have been judgements (both blatantly expressed to me and not) by others about whether we should be nursing at all, or when we should stop. Not that I've ever been particularly interested in the judgements of others', mind you. And heaven knows there have been frustrations with my reliance on the SNS.
Today, I somehow find myself a mama of an almost 3yo nursling. I don't know how it happened, because, in truth, even 3 years ago I never imagined myself here. I never saw myself nursing a child who stops to talk to me between suckles at my breast. I never saw myself nursing a child who requests "mulp-mease" with a joyful - if sometimes demanding - dance before bedtime. All I wanted was to be able to nurture my baby at my breast for longer than what I'd been able to do with his brother. I never dreamed we would still be nursing just shy of his 3rd birthday.
I know we are in the twilight of our nursing relationship. And I find myself (not surprisingly) emotional about it. But I also find myself okay with it. Baby E has lead our nursing relationship the whole way through. I will continue to let him lead us through its end.
Regardless of what nursing baby E looks like from the outside, on the inside, between baby E and me, our nursing relationship is just what it is supposed to be. It's not what I expected. It's not what I saw in my head when I pictured it for all that time I was preparing. It may not be "normal". But its ours. And it is exactly what we each need it to be at this very moment.
Today's Lesson: In many ways I'm not a traditional kind of girl. So I've no idea why I thought nursing would be the thing that was. Life has a funny way of teaching us who we are. And a funny way of making us accept it.