No Shame: A Love Letter on Theme Thursday

Dear Zeke,

Yesterday was your Big Boy Day.  In our family, that’s what we call the day our babies (or toddlers) stop nursing.  Maybe someday you will be embarrassed about this, about the documentation of this date just after you turned 2 and a half.  But at this moment you feel no shame.  Only pride in yourself and a little bit of grief over the loss of our comfort together.

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Cake and ice cream with candles was all you asked for on Big Boy Day. In your frog costume, of course.

You are such a big kid for being my little baby.  You speak so clearly and can communicate all your thoughts to me.  When I was having some misgivings about yesterday and all that it entailed, you set me straight.  Within 10 minutes you built a Lego tower taller than you, helped me mop the kitchen floor, and had a coherent phone conversation with your daddy.  Thank you for that, sweetie.  I needed the reassurance that you would be okay.

Zeke Collage

I don’t talk much about nursing you, and I rarely do it in public anymore.  The truth is, most people think I should have stopped nursing you long ago.  A few others think I should wait until you wean yourself at 3 or 4.  A precious few understand what you and I know: that yesterday was the day chosen by you and by me.  It was the perfect day to end our nursing relationship.  No matter how up-and-down it’s been to nurse you for the last year, I wouldn’t have chosen any other day.

Since I’m being honest, I will say that I’ve been ready to wean you for awhile now.  You are, oops- were, a pretty demanding nurser and it’s caused me a fair bit of embarrassment in public, a lot of missed sleep, and some physical pain as well.  But you, more than any of the other kids so far, have helped me grow.  I’m a less selfish person than I was when you were born.  And while I may have been ready, you were not.  So I waited.

The most embarrassing experience I had nursing you was when you wailed the word “NUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRSSSSSE” at Mass in our little cafeteria chapel in South Korea.  I couldn’t get you outside fast enough and the whole congregation, a kind and loving group if I ever met one, just smiled and giggled.  Looking back now through the lenses of nostalgia and love, I can’t believe I was embarrassed.  How many times have I cried out for comfort to Our Lord and Our Lady?  Thank goodness they never turned me away.

All the sleeplessness, all the pain, all the frustration was only a tiny fraction of our nursing relationship.  Most of our time was filled with soft voices, warm skin, of drowsy nursing, of delightful and hilarious conversations.  Those precious moments filled my heart with joy in the same way I filled your belly with milk.  Those are the moments I will remember when I look back.

I love you, baby.

Mama

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Linking up with a very loose interpretation of “Shame” for Theme Thursday.  Click on over to find people who follow the rules.

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Comments

  1. This is the sweetest breastfeeding post I’ve ever read.

  2. I’m seriously crying here. This is the sweetest post ever! I love that you two picked a day and had a party and everything….that is awesome! I’m curious how you both decided on the day…I mean is there something special about that day? You don’t have to answer if it’s too personal…I was just curious how you picked a day. I love the idea of doing that i think it’s sweet. And it does make me sad that I can’t remember exactly when any of my older kids nursed for the last time.
    Amelia @ One Catholic Mama recently posted…Amelia Felt Shame (Third Person and Theme Thursday)My Profile

    • Thanks, Amelia. When I say “we” picked the day, it was more a figure of speech. I had been feeling ready for a time, but over the past couple of weeks he has really blossomed and shown me that he was ready to wean. He’s only asked a couple of times since yesterday and readily accepts hugs and cuddles in place of nursing. This would NOT have happened a month or two ago. I gave him about 5 days notice and we talked it up a lot. He got really excited (about the party) and I could tell he understand exactly what we were talking about. So that’s how “we” picked the day.

  3. Lovely, lovely post!
    Liam also taught me to be about self-less love and in retrospect I’m so glad listened.
    Joy recently posted…Third Person ~ Thankful ThursdayMy Profile

  4. That was beautiful. Just beautiful. I am speechless. And teary.
    Madeline recently posted…Theme Thursday: ShamingMy Profile

  5. This was so beautiful, Micaela! Absolutely beautiful! I cried like a baby when my first-born weaned. It’s such a bittersweet experience that deserves every bit of celebration. Love the idea and may snatch it for my current little nursling. Beautiful and thank you for sharing!!
    Amanda recently posted…FF: MikaroseMy Profile

    • We first had a Big Boy Party with Gabriel and I really think it helps them understand the end of things. It’s not perfect of course, but it is special and somehow makes it so it’s not totally sad. I highly recommend it.

  6. What a bittersweet day! I was just thinking about Rosie’s weaning today. She quit on me at 9 months, and I was feeling a little sad and nostalgic for our nursing time :)

  7. So lovely :) I’ve read about historic “Weaning day” parties (okay, maybe in some biblical fiction, but still…) and it sounds like such a nice way to close out a nursing relationship – I still feel bad that my last nursing session with John Paul ended with him biting me because I had no milk left :/

    • I’ve been through the no-milk thing a couple of times. In fact, this is the very first time I’ve weaned when I wasn’t already pregnant and therefor losing my supply. I don’t actually have much (any?) milk right now, but it was gradual, so he didn’t seem to mind. The other pregnancies, BAM. No milk.

      But don’t feel bad. I know someone who weaned her 18 month old by putting ginger on her nipples. His first attempt to nurse burned his mouth and he never asked again. :( At least yours was natural.

  8. Beautiful Micaela! How wonderful that you were able to nurse him for so long. I was still nursing my first born in the mornings until he was 16 months old and just slept right through our morning nurse session. I knew we were going to need to stop soon because I was about to head off on a week long business trip :(, so that was the sign that the day had come. It was definitely bittersweet– I enjoyed having my first drink since I had gotten pregnant with him, but I was still sad to leave our special cuddle time behind. I’m now 8 months in with my youngest… maybe we’ll make it even longer??
    Jennifer @ Little Silly Goose recently posted…We were made incomplete by designMy Profile

    • That’s the hardest part for me: missing out on cuddle time. I feel like I’m always going going going, and nursing is a way to slow down and show affection and love. It’s okay though, as it’s really helping me be more present to him and the other kids in meaningful ways.

  9. Oh Micaela! How bitter sweet! Look at that beautiful face! That last paragraph is just perfection, every word of it. Thank you for writing this and thank you for sharing it.
    Rebekah Es recently posted…Theme Thursday: ShamingMy Profile

  10. Lovely post, Micaela!
    Kelly @ In the Sheepfold recently posted…One Long Whine . . . And a Prayer RequestMy Profile

  11. This is so awesome and beautiful. I’m going through that pull right now with the Luke. I’m feeling ready for him to be done (it always seems to happen right around the 2 year mark) but he’s my first to be really attached to it still. The others were pretty easy. Thanks for the encouragement to keep going even when other people think it’s weird. I’m grateful he doesn’t know the verbal words for it yet since he tends to do the exact same thing at Mass! Instead he comes at me with his little pincer claws which is his interpretation of the sign of milk and looks like a crab :) I’ve been putting a stop to it at Mass recently, though, because I’m just getting too self-conscious. But I’m thinking the day may be coming soon when we stop completely…always so bittersweet… I love your Zeke’s sweet face!!
    Mary @ Better Than Eden recently posted…Sometimes You Just Gotta Be AbeMy Profile

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