This Has Ended

this is the first, most definite thing to end.  it really, physically won't happen again.  and i am quite sad.  over the last week, i have stopped nursing my sweet little babe.  not really by choice.  and i am grieving this loss.  because there is something quite definite about an end to taking my little one in my arms, drawing her in, and sharing something from me--given to me specifically to give to my child.  and sharing breaths of air together in the closest of spaces.  her, laying still by my side in bed at night.  thirsty.  and then satisfied.  and i would feel relief and goodness for what my body knew to do.  and i could kiss her tender forehead because she was so close.  i could gently rest my hand behind her small head.  it seemed so easy.  so comfortable.  unlike before.  this was different and peaceful.  but wasn't enough for her.

many times, she wouldn't really be full.  and no matter how much i tried--teas, and herbal supplements, and pumping--there just really wasn't enough.  and i said, it's worth it.  i'll keep going.  but would be so discouraged after she nursed and would gulp down a full bottle of formula.  i couldn't be her primary source of nutrition.  i wanted to be.  i was tired.

and it was hard.  letting it go.

and there are reasons that lead up to this point--where my babe is now on formula and she no longer nurses:

it took a long time for milk to come in and i was scared she was going to be so hungry.  from the beginning she knew that milk from the bottle came faster.  and there were the outings.  i was uncomfortable nuring in public.  covered and nervous.  a fussy baby is a loud baby and i felt the pressure that i needed to calm her, but it took her a bit longer to latch, and by that time i had given up.  it was stressful and a bottle was stress-free.  and where was the time to pump?  only short moments here and there.

but i tried and then i had to let go.  and remind myself that i was very fortunate to have the 5 1/2 months to nurse her in the capacity i could.  and that i still enjoy those peaceful, quiet moments with her.  where her hands explore my face and she looks into my eyes.  the bottle rests on the side table and i wrap my arms around her and rock her in that in-between state of wakefulness and sleepiness. her eyes heavy but only staring into mine.  i am her mama.  my scent.  my voice.  my smile.  all known to her.

and we will continue to have those sweet, intimate moments.  and i tell myself that because it's true and to help me in my sorrow now.  she is still my baby.  perhaps now, though, i might rock her or hold onto her a bit longer.  just to hold her next to my heart.  to hold my hand behind her head and to bring her forehead in, closer.  lips touching and holding their pose for a beat longer.

and this is part of the process.  knowing that she is growing and both grieving and celebrating the completion of a milestone; a piece of babyhood come and gone.  and i have to make peace with that process because someday this little baby of mine will become a young woman who is strong and kind, confident and lovely.  and i won't be surprised by that because i have marked her life along this path--i have been there with her and i won't need to say, "where has the time gone?"  because i am taking the time now to be present.  with her.