Monday, March 08, 2010

Hard Choices

It's funny how writing things out makes them easier to cope with. Since I wrote my last post, I've been doing ok again.

But... I've come to a hard realization about nursing. I'd been saying that if I couldn't get a pregnancy to stick by the time the Infanta turns two, I would wean her... and it seems my subconscious has decided that I should wean her by then, anyway.

I'm pretty sure it's the right decision for myself, but I'm still feeling pretty ambivalent about it. I didn't ever have a time I wanted to wean by, but always said at least two years, because of the WHO's recommendations (which say at least two years, and then as long as mother and child wish to continue). I figured I'd probably go longer than that... but it's looking like I won't now.

You see, I think the reason I'm having trouble staying pregnant is that for me, nursing is disrupting my hormonal balance just enough. Many, even most, women don't have that issue, but I think I do; I think I have low progesterone anyway, and nursing is disrupting that even more. And while I want to breastfeed the Infanta as long as I can, I also need to balance that with my desire for more children. She is certainly old enough that she doesn't *need* breast milk for nutrition, and she is well able to ask for (and receive) other kinds of nurturing.

On the other hand, nursing the one thing I can do for her that no one else can, and I find that that is a very big part of my identity as a mother. I have no doubts that I can shift its place - "I nursed her for two years" instead of "we're still nursing" - but it's not going to be painless. Nursing is a very special relationship, and once it's over, it's over. I don't want to nurse forever, but am I really ready to be done?

If I turn up pregnant, though, we're done, cold turkey.


Heidi said...

It can be so difficult to decide when to wean, it is so different even between different children even (or so it has been in my case). But I want to encourage you that when you wean you do not lose your identity as a mother... you are still her mama who loves her and does what is right for her in each season of development THAT is your identity.
Blessings, and prayers for a sticky pregnancy.


wavybrains said...

Huge, huge, huge, HUGE hugs.

A year ago at this time, I was right where you are (as you well know listening to me moan) when I decided that we really were done, and it was such a conflicting mess of emotions. But, a year later, I can say that I really did make the best choice for ALL of us when I listened to what my subconscious was saying. One thing that helped in transitioning was new routines--lots of time in the rocker with stories, lots of extra time in the carrier for snuggles, and lots of outings. I took her out to lunch--just her and I shortly after we were completely weaned, and I took a few pictures for myself. It was nice (but very bittersweet) to do lunch w/o being lunch :)

If you get two lines and need to go cold turkey, Auntie B is here ready and willing for L distraction and cabbage leaf procurement :)

caramama said...

That is a tough thing to go through. But I am going to also chime in that you know you will always have a special bond with her and you will very likely find other activities that are for just you and her. It's still hard, though.

I had to stop nursing at least a month before we went through fertility treatments on the chance that nursing could affect our chances of conception (and prob because the meds I had to go on, too). It was earlier than I wanted to wean, at 17.5 months. But I also had to balance that with our desire for another child and the closeness in age we were hoping for. It was hard, so hard, but actually went overall smoothly.

And I'm still the only one who sings her a special lullabye before bed!

Barbara said...

Only you can be YOU for her. Only you can love her as you do. I love you as only I can love you.

Anonymous said...

how do u do?

Batty said...

Hugs to you.

From the perspective of somebody who was raised on formula: There are many things only my mother could do. For one thing, nobody smelled like my mother, it was one of the most comforting things out there. Nobody gives hugs like my mother, and nobody takes care of me when I'm sick in quite the same way. I'm turning 34 this summer, and when I get sick, I still want my mommy.

You have plenty to give. You are unique, and always will be. And if you think now is the time to wean the Infanta and start for another kid, go for it. Maybe substitute nursing with cuddle time, story time, some other kind of mother/daughter bonding ritual.