The first one bit my finger and I thought, I’m not putting my nipple back in there!
I also thought I could “just express” for the next 4 months. I was wrong. My supply lasted 4 days. My milk dried up, the pump whirred in vain and my daughter climbed all over me, crying, while I rang Husband in sobbing desperation and begged him, defeated, to go to the shop.
I felt like a failure.
That is, of course, until I went out for cocktails in an underwired bra, and we started trying for another baby. I got over it pretty quickly after that!
The second one was quite straightforward. We made it to 12 months, after which my son could pretty much take it or leave it. I’m the type who needs closure and so, as he left it, so did I.
I mean I cried, don’t get me wrong, I cried! But there was no snip, at that point, no final decision… a “last ever breastfeed“, only accompanied with a great big “but.”
This time is different.
No biting, no bottles, no barely-even-bothered. No innocent intention of expressing for months, or misguided imaginings of “getting my boobs back”. No riveting social life, no sperm, no future hope for my womb. Just me, the shelled-out bearer of three, with a once-double-D pair of barely-A-cups, a very thirsty 15 month-old and the very personal desire not to breastfeed anything that talks.
How on earth is this going to end?!
But she won’t go without! I can’t believe she’s still feeding this much at this age… I don’t think she’ll ever stop!
Have you tried giving her a snack when she asks for it, or a nap instead?
I’ll try but I don’t think it’ll work.
I can’t believe she’s not asked for it all day! I mean, I think she’s actually going to stop!
Isn’t that what you wanted?
I’m not sure.
I’m going to feed her once, at bedtime.
But then… maybe it would be easier not to offer at all if she doesn’t ask?
Yeah probably. Then it’s her decision.
But… what if my milk dries up?
It’ll have to eventually.
But I was on my phone last night! I didn’t take it in! Didn’t treasure my final feed!
Her final feed.
But it’s all about her.
I know. Except… not really.
Then take your time.
Ok… if she doesn’t ask I’ll just put her to bed.
She’s not asking.
Oh God, she’s not asking. She’s not bothered. We’re done. We’re done and I’m not ready!
She looked at me.
Oh hello sweetheart!
She’s coming over.
Oh thank you, thank you, thank you God, she’s not done yet!
Best. Feed. Ever.
Take in the sounds, the smell, the connection. Eye contact. Warmth. The feel of her skin against mine. Take it in. Store it up. Treasure it.
I can wear panel dresses! Pretty bras! High tops… whatever the heck I want!
No more sitting down on the job when the other two are playing up!
I can go for a run, take back my body, go out early when Husband is home!
I’m… still seeing milk in the shower? After a week?
Go on then. One last sneaky feed…
What have I done?!
I’m done. I’m done. She’s done. We’re done! I’m definitely absolutely done.
I can do what I want, whenever I want… my body is completely my own!
Shelled out. A little pouch. Scars and lumps. The hanging memory of extraordinary bumps. Dark eyes. Smile lines.
But, do you know what?
Mama done good.