You can’t see things straight when you’re depressed, you just can’t. I knew enough in those dark two days after I weaned to know that I was in a funk, that things that were once exciting were no longer exciting. I shared my thoughts here and here. The fact I’m still writing about it has got to tell you I’m an emotional person. I mean I declared that post to be my last breastfeeding post and that was what is now four breastfeeding posts ago. Good grief, get ahold of yourself Ashley.
And, well, I want to give an update because I don’t think it’s fair to leave things on a sour note. My mind is clear and I’m back to my happy place, so I can reflect on our breastfeeding relationship with a sparkle in my eye as I reminisce on how things were at one time, in the beginning.
And that’s part of why ending your breastfeeding relationship is hard; it’s the end of a very long and tiring and emotional first chapter.
But there’s a second chapter and a third chapter and so on and so forth. As I type this, Van is handing me an over-sized birthday card my Aunt and Uncle gave him for his first birthday. When you open it, music plays and each time he drops his little bottom back and forth toward the floor. He sees my chapstick on my desk; it’s the same chapstick I had to take away from him yesterday when he managed to get the top off and began eating the contents of the tube. He whines and points in the chapstick’s direction and when I take the chapstick and hide it away in the drawer, he cries. He looks at me with tears in his eyes and I comfort him, his thumb in his mouth, his head on my chest.
Every time he has his thumb in his mouth, I think about it being my replacement. When I was breastfeeding him, he never sucked his thumb. And as I look down at him, I think how amazing it is that he’s able to comfort himself. I see, for the first time, the beauty in his independence.
And so, you see, the second chapter reads just as beautifully as the first. It’s just different. He’s not a baby anymore. But he’ll always be my child.
And thank you, again, to all of you that leave such beautiful comments. Sometimes it’s your own words that make me see things differently and I appreciate new perspectives more than you know.
You can check out my other posts on breastfeeding by clicking here.
You can’t always get what you want, but in the end you get what you need.
I spent the first days after stopping breastfeeding mopping around, declaring myself to be in “a funk”; Unable to enjoy things that normally excited me, unable to be truly present to my children. I’m writing this in past tense because I didn’t feel like writing anything but dark, sad, moppy posts like this just a few weeks ago when all the tears were streaming down my I’m-so-sad-I’m-done-breastfeeding face.
Willy and I had been looking forward to this weekend for a long time. We had tickets to see Willie Nelson at the Hollywood Bowl and plans to leave the kids at my parents for the entire night. But I just couldn’t seem to shake the post-breastfeeding-blues.
I can’t tell you when the change occurred but what I can tell you is that Willie Nelson played his Stardust album from front to back and it was beautiful. There really is nothing better for the soul than music, in my opinion. We woke up the next morning and went to the Rose Bowl Flea Market by ourselves and in the absence of the munchkins, we got to dig through buried treasures and stroll leisurely through the aisles. We picked up the kids in the afternoon and went to the Ventura County Fair. We rode rides, pet goats, ate chocolate covered Twinkies. And when we got home and put the kids to bed, Willy and I climbed up on the roof and laid there under the stars to watch the meteor shower.
And, just like that, my funk disappeared. It only took a country phenom, some time with my main squeeze, a ferris wheel, and a sea full of falling stars to shake it. But alas, I shook it.
Then again, it was probably that chocolate covered twinkie because, um, hello they don’t even make Twinkies even more. Hash tag: deadstock. Oh ya, and I didn’t have to worry about breastfeeding. That was nice.
Oh ya, and you see that little San Francisco shirt Hooper has on? It’s something I bought when I lived in SF years ago, before I knew my husband as my husband… when I had only dreams of motherhood. And seeing my first born in it now not only makes me one happy Mama, but also puts things in perspective. Life is good.
This is the last post in my breastfeeding series and I’m writing it in tears, which is a far cry from the jumping up and down excitement I envisioned. Maybe the tears are from the thought of this being the last time I ever breastfeed, maybe they’re from the hormones associated with the transition, or maybe they’re from the unnatural ending.
It’s because of the latter that I feel this impending feeling of guilt. As much as I’d love to lie and tell y’all that both Van and I were ready, this is not the truth. In fact, I’ve been dealing with an incredibly clingy and cranky baby for the last few weeks of what has been a weaning process and as I admit that, another tear streams down my face. I was ready, he was not.
I had no experience with weaning. Hooper naturally weaned himself and our breastfeeding relationship ended very naturally. With Van, I cut our 8 feedings in half for a week, then in half again the following week. I fed him first thing in the morning and last thing at night for the past few weeks and when my supply diminished and my nighttime feed no longer put him to sleep, I stopped that one too. And just like that, Aunt Flo came back into my life despite me having referred to her as the weird, smelly Aunt; she never seems to hold grudges even though I wish she would.
And so we stuck to one feed a day, first thing in the morning. And each morning, I’d look down at that little sweet face and reassure myself that indeed today would not be the last day, but instead tomorrow. And the truth is, I couldn’t handle feeding him knowing it would be my last time.
It’s like knowing your best friend is going to die tomorrow. How do you say goodbye? And I realized, I couldn’t… I couldn’t feed him knowing that I wouldn’t feed him ever again.
So, I fed him on a Wednesday. Then I went to work on Thursday and pumped one single ounce. Combined. One ounce, people. On Friday I had a meeting and I decided not to pump at all. And just like that, our breastfeeding journey has come to an end. I didn’t have it in me to say a formal goodbye.
And now, I’m in tears.
How was the weaning process for you? Did you experience depression after weaning? If so, you may want to read this post (I found it comforting).