In some moments, I still can't believe I have a babe at my breast. It doesn't usually strike me, except that every once in a while I'm swept off my feet when I look back at how far we've come and at where we are today. I know I sound like a broken record every time I say it, but I absolutely never imagined I'd be a long-term nurser. I assumed, based on what I'd read and on social norms, that I'd do it for a year then call it quits.
Except that I had no idea that an arbitrary number, a random date on the calendar or a specific moment in our lives—an end date—would end up being something completely absurd; something that both wee girl and I would come to take one look at, then roll our eyes and give it the finger.
A year came and went, and we weren't ready. I don't think either of us, at that point in time, even cared to gear up for ready. We did what we wanted, and we walked (and crawled) through our days, joined at the hip, the breast and the heart.
And now, nearly three years running, I've never been more thankful for a girl so tethered to my body and my soul; for one who knows what she wants and does so at will; and for my decision to let a 7lb, 14oz baby human steer this great, commanding ship.
Because I never realized that such a love could exist between a mother and her child; I didn't know that the entire universe would be boiled down to a speck inside my baby's eyes. I didn't yet understand that there would exist a bond between us that would so seamlessly bend and break every last judgement, sideways glance, preconceived idea or urge to follow social norms.
Breastfeeding was hard—don't get me wrong. I fought tooth and nail to conquer feeding my girl—sustaining her whole, tiny little life through my body—as if I hadn't been doing so already for the last forty weeks + three days prior to her birth. I still get weak in the knees when I think about the five weeks I spent cluster-feeding a newborn while my right nipple cracked, blistered and bled. Or when I remember how many times I lathered up a fine-toothed comb in the shower and combed away a blocked duct in an effort to avoid mastitis. And let nobody ever for a moment think that I don't forget spending almost two entire years waking up five to ten times per night to comfort-nurse a restless sleeper. On those days, I wanted to be face-up floating downstream in a great, rushing river.
But we overcame. We endured many a sleepless night, copious tears, endless spit-ups and wardrobe changes, and somehow have found ourselves here today, changed and transformed a thousand times over, two years and ten months running and still in this game.
How blessed to the very core I am.
Cheers to you and to us, my girl. We're killin' it.