The Next Stage of Motherhood

Little A finished breastfeeding last month, just before her 2nd birthday. Well, I say she stopped, but it was my choice not hers. I’d prepared her for it as best as I could – easing down from a morning and a night feed, to just the night feed, then telling her for a few days that we’d be stopping soon.

On the night of the last feed I told her while she was nursing that this would be the last time. That when she’s done she’ll say goodbye to the boobies. That she can always have a cuddle, but there won’t be any more milk. And she looked up at me with a mouthful of boob and said adamantly, “No!”

So yeh, that was cute and sad and beautiful all at once.

And now I guess kind of settling. It’s been a weird, heavy few weeks for me emotionally, and looking back I realize that my hormones are probably doing… something. For the first time in over 5 years, I’m neither pregnant nor breastfeeding. That’s quite a physiological change. And while it’s hard to let go of the baby years, I’m ready for this. For the next stage of motherhood.

Ready to nurture them in my arms and with my words, rather than in my womb and at my breast. To sit them both on my lap together, rather than trying – struggling – to find the right place for the toddler to sit, with a baby attached to me. To race home in the evening and just catch the kids before they go to sleep because I want to see them – not because I feel like I have to. To sleep through the night!! At least some of the time. To have my body to myself again – some extent – to get my battered pelvic floor back in shape and start running again. To enjoy a few minutes of adult conversation at family dinners, while the kids play happily together in the next room.

Right now, we’re not planning on any more babies. For various reasons including the aforementioned pelvic floor, and being able to give the kids enough of our full attention and energy. So this feels big, stepping into this new phase, and somewhat bittersweet.

But it also feels right, like coming back to myself. To the me I was once upon a time before peeing on sticks and ultrasounds and stitches in oh-so-sensitive places and nipple pads and mama guilt and breast pumps and sleepless nights without trance music or party drugs.

I know I’ll never really be that old me again, and I wouldn’t change anything for the world, but it’s nice to have enough of my sense of self back that I can get a little glimpse every now and again.

To know that the old me is still in there somewhere, partying into the next stage, of being a mama to kids instead of babies.

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