To my dear babe as you start solids,
Nursing you has been a joy and a test, for which I was unprepared. You are not my first child to nurse, but just as a parent has a unique relationship with each child, so too was our nutritional bond. I had been to the trenches and back nursing your sister and while I wouldn’t want to relive those days, I am forever thankful for all that I learned through them. With you, I knew what was worth my worry and what would simply take some time. I learned that I am capable of producing ample, at times excessive, milk to nourish a growing infant, something I was not sure was possible the first time around. And you loved to nurse, day and night, more than anything else. I was overcome with the fulfillment of those moments, the simplicity of knowing there was (almost) no problem that could not be solved with nursing. It was easy in so many ways: you and I, together, and all was right with the world.
If only the world could have conformed to that idyllic vision, the demands of life and daily schedules and other family to be ignored indefinitely. While I loved those moments of togetherness, they began to weigh me down. Your tiny body in my lap, so warm, so sweet, so innocent, became an anchor keeping me in the storm. The responsibility of being your only lifeline, your only comfort became crushing. After our peaceful moments, when reality would rush in, I was overwhelmed and lost. I was losing me, who I was, who I needed to be for myself and for others. I love our bond, I love that I could be your everything; I do not love that I could be only your everything.
Today you happily eat every bite-size morsel in sight. I love your eagerness to expand your palate while you continue to enjoy nursing. I looked forward to this time for so long, for the freedom it would inevitably bring. I am happy and feeling myself again, but it is bittersweet all the same. For better or worse, there is no going back. I will never again have the answer to all of your problems, but I have more of me, and others behind me, to help you through any struggle.
No longer exclusively yours,