If you asked me when I was pregnant, I would have told you, I planned to breastfeed my son for his first year.
I knew I wanted to breastfeed
And, to breastfeed exclusively. But, I gave little thought to the timeline. I would have said a year, because that is what tends to be the socially acceptable timeframe in our society…and I had yet to be enlightened about extended breastfeeding.
Fast forward three and a half years, and this momma bear was still going strong and actively breastfeeding. It wasn’t planned, but just happened naturally. A year came and went, then two years. By that time, it was my intention to let him decide when he was ready for our breastfeeding journey to come to an end. I had seen close mom friends do the same with much success and was going to leave it up to him. It just felt right to let him make that call.
Then life happened
Not long before his third birthday, I fell ill and only got sicker and sicker as time went by. Before I knew it, a major surgery was on the horizon. My heart was breaking. Such a beautiful and special time in our lives, as mother and son, would be abruptly ending whether either of us was ready. This was not the ending I had planned or that I wanted. Yet it was unavoidable.
I nursed him up until the morning of my surgery. We talked at length about the whats, whys and everything in between. He knew it was coming. But, he was sad. He wasn’t ready either. Leaving him that morning, I thought that our journey was at its end and that we had closed the book on this chapter in our lives ever. Yet, after surgery and recovery, we continued on for almost two more months, until my health and the medications would just no longer allow it. The last time wasn’t anything special or big, yet I don’t think I will ever forget it.
When I look back on how our journey ended, it reminds me of his birth
While I didn’t have a concrete birth plan, how he came was so very unexpected and unplanned. I wanted and planned on him coming when he was ready, and on his terms. Yet my body had other ideas. You know what they say about the best-laid plans….
He nursed for longer than most littles in our society. We had, had an amazing run in the breastfeeding department. While I knew I shouldn’t, I still felt guilty. I had to learn to give myself some grace. I had given him so much throughout our time breastfeeding, and how it ended wouldn’t and didn’t take anything away from that.
Three and a quarter years. Thirty-eight months. One-thousand-one-hundred-and-eighty days
I will cherish every moment forever…no matter how or why it ended. From the first time he nursed to the last, every moment was special and every moment belonged to just him and I.
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