The soup was a quick little lentil number; the sandwiches were roasted vegetables layered with soft goat cheese and shredded mozzarella on Bread Alone sourdough, pressed and pan-toasted until melty. A hit all around.
Monthly Archives: September 2012
I dressed this morning, reaching to the very back of my top dresser drawer to pull out a bra I haven’t worn in over a year. I chose an outfit without worrying about easy access. I left for work without the large black tote bag which has carried my breast pump, cooler bag, ice pack, and other accoutrements of the working nursing mom for the last ten months, and, feeling a little lighter, I walked to the train station this crisp fall morning, instead of waiting for a bus.
It was bittersweet.
This in no way marks the end of breastfeeding for Julian and me. I nursed him as usual this morning before we got out of bed, and I’ll do so again tonight, and the next day, and for the foreseeable future until it feels right for both of us to stop. But now that we’ve reached the one-year mark, and Julian is happily tucking into nearly every food item we put in front of him, I have decided to take the first small step toward weaning by no longer pumping at work.
The pumping itself, I won’t miss. The the lugging of equipment on public transportation, the physical pain and discomfort from missed sessions, the spilled milk, the clogged ducts… I’m quite happy to put all of those things behind me.
But it’s bittersweet.
In some ways, this marks the beginning of the end. Soon this special thing I have shared with my son and no one else will be behind us, and he’ll need me a little less, and there will be one fewer thing I can do to comfort him.
I feel lucky and grateful to have made it this far, to have persevered, and I am grateful that I was able to feed my son in the best way for us from the time I returned to work at 10 weeks postpartum to the present. But…
I’m not going to lie – it has been fraught. Difficult. Harder than it should be, I think, in this day and age, in this country.
The law protects a woman’s right to breastfeed, and to express milk after returning to work, and provides that you have a safe, clean, private place to do so, but in reality… let’s just say I haven’t always felt so supported. I shed a lot of tears about that. I felt shamed, at times, and I questioned my judgment, and frankly, that’s just wrong.
Things got better and easier after our move and the changes to my work situation, and I feel like I am now in a place where *I* am the one making the decision to wean, like *I* am the one in control, that my hand is not being forced by someone else, or that I’m being punished for the decisions I’ve made about how to feed my child.
But I’m sad that such a beautiful part of my life, and Julian’s, is tied up with such ugly and difficult memories for me.
And this really resonates.
Today you are 52 weeks old. 52 weeks! I still can’t believe how the time has flown.
52 weeks ago, we began the final leg of the long journey we took to meet you. It would be two more days before we would finally see your face, and hold you in our arms, but we were so ready. What an amazing ride this first year has been.
One year ago I could not truly have known how you would change my world, or make my heart grow. You have made me both a stronger person, and a softer one. I can’t even begin to count all the little gifts you give us daily – your first morning smiles; the sweet smell of the top of your head; the way you reach out in the night to pat Daddy, then me, and then murmur softly before you settle back into a deep sleep; the way you squeeze your eyes shut, wrinkle your nose and wiggle when you taste something new for the first time, before waving your arms and leaning in for another bite; the way your whole face lights up when I walk through the door in the evening – these are just a few of the things I will carry in my heart forever.
You started walking for real this past weekend, and for the last few days I have been greeted not just with your smile, but with you toddling over to me, clutching my skirt or pantlegs, arms up and ready for me to scoop you up for a big kiss when I get home from work.
The gift I cherish most of all, though, is being able to watch you experience things, to grow and learn, to watch you figure out how the world works and what your place is in it.
You take my breath away, kid. The reality of our life with you is better than anything I could have dreamed up.
I want to make the world a better place for you. I want to be a better person for you. I want to always be someone you look for first when you stumble, need comfort, or just want to know that you’re not alone.
Those earliest, near-sleepless first nights after your Daddy and I brought you home from the hospital, a helpless baby burrito in a floppy swaddle you’d always squirm out of, have already faded to fuzzy scenes in my memory. There have been so many firsts since then, and there are countless yet to come. I hope that when you look back at these firsts someday, and at the picture of your childhood as a whole, that the feelings are overwhelmingly happy. I hope you can say without hesitation that I did right by you, that you felt safe and nurtured, supported and most of all loved, totally and unconditionally.
I can’t wait to celebrate your first birthday this Friday, to celebrate the person you have become, to kick off Year Two with lots of smiles and laughter, and to thank you for bringing such incredible joy into my life. Here’s to you, my little love.
Love you forever,
He demolished this piece, and a second just like it – a full side order. This might justify the purchase of a waffle iron. (Thanks, Buttermilk Channel, for a great brunch.)