April 1, 2017 (Sara)
Dear Lincoln, tonight was a very different night. Tonight, I asked your father to put you to bed. I’ve never asked that of him. I have always wanted to be the one to settle you in and drift you off. For over two years we have been each other’s bedtime story.
But tonight, you are crying. I’m crying. I’m sad. You’re mad. You have been through so much change in your short life and I never wanted to say goodnight this way. I wish I could nurse you and let you suckle for as long as you wish. I wish I could sooth you and let you snuggle against me and fall asleep as your brain and heart dance to…. “once upon a dream”.
I wish I could be everything for you. For always.
The World Health Organization says two years of nursing is best for baby and mother. I know why. I don’t need research articles to tell me why it’s good for us. I know because I’m your mommy. I have witnessed the reasons first hand and I am proud that we have acccomplished that journey.
As I write this I hear you cry for me and sing out to distract and soothe yourself. My heart is pounding because I never thought I would have to make this choice.
I remember telling you, when you were about 7 months old, that I’d let you make the choice. I’d nurse till you were ready to move on. I didn’t mean to lie. I just didn’t think you’d nurse this long. I thought you’d get too distracted. When you were 12 months you started to show signs of distraction and I thought I’d be lucky to make it to 18 months. I didn’t think 24 months was a reality and now you are 26 months. When Maya got sick I think we both clung on even tighter and thought we’d never let go. I wish we didn’t have to.
I have recently come to realize that you may not be the one that will choose to stop nursing. It’s a difficult choice so I will take that burden from you. It has been a very difficult decision and it has taken time. No matter when we stopped nursing, I knew it was going to be hard but I certainly didn’t know it was going to be this emotional. Choosing to take comfort away from you and milk that I felt helped offer immunity to you (as well as Maya) is something I never wanted to choose. Perhaps it’s this difficult because you are likely my last child. After being pregnant or nursing for 5 consecutive years…the idea of my body sustaining only itself is a strange and somewhat lonesome concept.
I hear you fall asleep with your daddy and you might feel a little uneasy but you are safe. He loves you just as much as I do and I know that he would give anything for you. All he wants is your ease and your happiness. You are his world as much as you are mine and while he can’t offer milk…his Love will give you Life forever. It has for an eternity.
If I could, I would give you everything. I wish I could be everything you need. I was that once when you were born but I cannot be that forever. Just as your sister challenged me to be the best mother I can be…you have challenged me to be the best woman I can be. You two help to make me the best human I can possibly be.
I believe I am on a path…that WE are on a path that is dividing. We are not dividing because my Love for you is waning. It is because my love for your is growing stronger every day.
You are growing stronger. And just as YOU do not belong to me…I do not belong to you.
Life and motherhood doesn’t make it easy to understand our separation. The conflicting hormones that are produced as a side effect of making milk to sustain life makes the choice to wean seem impossible. It makes the choice to wean feel unnatural. Motherhood made me feel as though you (my children) are part of me but I have come to realize that Life is more important than the Ego or the Id. Life is more forgiving and more humble than that. Your father and I started our marriage knowing that we are stronger together than we ever would be apart. That was made very apparent early on in our relationship and while we tried for a long time…we tried very hard for a long time to ignore that…we ended up giving in to chemistry and accepted the affinity we had to one another. That union has created two forces that will challenge this Earth’s reality. You and Maya.
I know this separation is difficult and it has only just begun. I will nurse you in the morning and you’ll feel better. I will feel better. But soon we will nurse less frequently and you’ll get distracted more easily. You will get more independent and confident. And I will too. We will still snuggle and we will not lose a physical closeness…it will just change. I will forgive myself for feeling like my confidence as a mother has been hiding behind my breastfeeding relationship with you and that you won’t “need” me any more. I will move past the feeling that you only needed me for milk. I will make a transition to knowing that my Love for you is enough. I once heard, “If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies. “
You won’t remember these days or the snuggle times that we have shared… but I will never forget them. Thank you my little Love. Love is Life, Goodnight.