Friday, October 2, 2009

Endings

Finn is weaned from nursing. It's taken me several days to accept this truth. I've been trying to convince myself that we're just taking a little break because he's been biting me so much, but I realize now that he's done.

There's a lot of sadness associated with this milestone for me. This is the first time in eight solid years - since I got pregnant with Joey in October, 2001 - that I am neither pregnant nor breastfeeding. Not since Kevin was weaned back in summer of 1998 have I not already been pregnant with the next baby. I have logged in a total of 86 months of breastfeeding. What I'm getting at is that this has clearly been a really big part of my life for these past several years.

Motherhood has clearly become my identity. It's what I do: I have babies and I nurse them for a long time.

I worked as a paralegal, putting on pantyhose and heels and professional-looking clothes and going to an office and being among smart, professional grownups every day for 11 years. A month before I was due to give birth to Joey, I went out on maternity leave, never dreaming at the time that it would become permanent. Since then, I've gotten rid of all my old "job" clothes. I rarely do my hair or put on makeup these days, and I live in jeans and sweats and nursing bras and baggy shirts that hide the belly, compliments of the six babies I've gestated, which I'm never, ever going to lose without surgery. I gave birth to Joey, and then the twins, and then Lilah, and then Finn. And I nursed them all for a long time. And at some point, "Mother" became my whole identity. I'm not sure, anymore, who Lisa is apart from "Mommy." Most of the time, I'm okay with it. There was a period in my life when infertility was a huge, heartbreaking issue (believe it or not!). This is the life I longed for - to have a house full of kids, and to be a mommy.

But Finn is our last baby. I'll never be pregnant again, never give birth again, and I'll never nurse another baby. I know I should be happy to finally have my body back to myself after all this time, but the truth is, I feel mournful about it.

Endings are never easy for me.

6 comments:

Carla said...

Ah, so hard. Here's to hoping that this ending will bring many new beautiful beginnings. Hugs.

TUC said...

This makes me so sad. I am right there with you.

Tricia said...

This is a beautiful post, Lisa. You are a wonderful Mother at that.

ashamom said...

Beautiful entry. Congratulations on breastfeeding for so long- I remember how hard it was at the beginning with Finn. You are a trooper!

Leigh Anne said...

we didn't get to nurse nearly as long as i'd have liked. i remember being sad for months after we stopped. you're an amazing woman (and mother) Lisa. I admire you.

You could keep pumping and donate your milk...it's a really big deal these days!

Chrystal said...

You've done, and will continue to do, an amazing job mothering your children. I, too, admire you.

And I would pay good money to have your 6-kid body. For realz.