Today Monito is six months old.
Today is the first day Monito will get no fresh breast milk.
There are still a few frozen bags that will be used over the next week, but they won’t last long.
Our breastfeeding relationship is over. I will never breastfeed again.
It happened rather unceremoniously. I didn’t even realize that the last double pumping session was the last double pumping session until the day after, when I decided to use a hand pump to relieve a little pressure. I’m glad I didn’t realize it was the last session at the time, because I probably would have cried. That might seem silly to someone who loathes pumping, but I spent a lot of time with that machine, it allowed me to give something precious to my son, something I couldn’t manage to give him on my own.
I hated it, but I loved what it did for my baby. I don’t know if that makes sense.
It’s a complicated relationship, and I’m glad I wasn’t forced to face those difficult nuances when I was actually attached to it the damn thing, lost in its rhythmic whirring.
Weaning has been going pretty well, mostly because of the sage (that stuff is POWERFUL). I’ve only been pumping once a day for a few days now, and today I barely pumped 2oz with a hand pump, just to relieve a bit of pressure. I don’t think I’ll have to pump at all tomorrow.
Mostly I’m relieved, but there are moments when it hits me, that we’re done, and I’m sad, sometimes desperately so. I grabbed my prenatal and DHA vitamins last night and it felt like a kick in the chest, the realization that I didn’t have to take them anymore, that I’d never have to take them again. My reaction to that was visceral. It’s hard to explain how it took my breath away.
I took them anyway. I just couldn’t not take them. Not yet.
Last night I bagged up all the pump parts, preparing them for a friend. I was also bagging up the smaller 4oz Dr. Brown bottles and parts because Monito is graduating to the bigger 8oz bottles. I felt so wistful, packaging up all these integral parts of his babyhood. I can’t believe we’ll never need these things again.
I am really quick to give stuff away. I am constantly adding to the bags that go to the consignment store, to friends with babies, to a resource center for pregnant teens. I’m constantly culling the stuff we no longer need, and preparing it for immediate removal from my house. Sometimes I wonder if I’m making a mistake, getting rid of it all so quickly. What if something happens to Monito and we try to have another? What if someone I love wants these things some day?
But I know I need to get rid of it. Every. single. thing. I need to clean it out so that I can heal. If it stays something deep inside will fester. I’m not quite sure what it is, but I’m afraid to face it, so I pack it up and move it out. And I don’t think too much about why.
Monito is no longer a tiny baby.
We are done breast feeding.
Mostly I feel relief, even some happiness, but there is also sadness, disappointment, guilt, failure, and regret.
I took my first med yesterday morning, and it felt wonderful. It really did. My post yesterday, and a conversation it instigated with a friend, pushed me to do some research on the medicine I take. I guess my shame kept me from doing that before, and I’m kind of shocked that I hadn’t looked into it more. Shame really is a powerful motivator, because not knowing what I’m putting in my body is not like me. AT. ALL.
Evidently the medicine I take is an anti-depressant (but not an SSRI) that is also used to treat ADD in children and adults. This makes sense. As I was trying to explain to my friend, I’m never sure how much it helps with my ADD symptoms, but I do know that I do better over all–I don’t have my high highs and my low lows. Even Mi.Vida has noticed how much more emotionally stable I am when I’m on it. When I’m not on something, I am constantly cycling in and out of depressive periods. You can read back through my blog and easily see the ebb and flow its dark, seductive hold on me. When I take this medication I don’t experience that at all. SSRIs have never worked for me, and I kind of quit trying to treat my depression when I started this, because, well, I didn’t feel depressed anymore. At the time, I thought maybe the alleviation of my ADD symptoms made me less depressed. Maybe it’s the opposite, maybe when I feel less depressed, I can handle my ADD symptoms better. Maybe it helps both.
Knowing that there is absolutely some aspect of my mental health that this is helping makes me feel better about taking it. I still plan on looking into long term, non-medicated solutions for my mental health, but right now I am very confident that I am taking this medication for the right reasons, and that it is the best thing for me now. And that feels really, really good.
So that is the big upside and I’m trying to let it buoy me up when the negatives try to pull me down. I read recently that only 16% of mothers in the U.S. breastfeed exclusively until six months. I did a good job. I worked really hard and I gave my son breast milk for the first half of an important year. I want to focus on what I have done, not what I didn’t manage to do. To look at our breastfeeding relationship as a success (because it was, in so many ways) and not a failure.