A Broken Tradition + the End of Nursing + Having More Babies

Thursday, February 6, 2014



If you're wondering why you're looking at a picture of a box and not my cute kid, I'm getting there. . .

2 years and 8 months ago, I found out I was pregnant. Looking back on that day is a strange thing. We were elated, so happy and we are still elated, so happy to spend our lives with this clever, spunky soul, but how we have all grown since that day. The places we've been, the days we've celebrated, the feats we've conquered - they've all changed us. I knew nothing of these things on the day I stood, bleary eyed staring at a line of tests because I didn't believe the first one.

In a few days, I will have nursed that same baby for the last time. Much like labor, I don't know when it's coming, but I feel the deadline approaching. She's ready. I'm not so much. I'm one of those women who really, really like nursing (I'm also one of those freaks of nature who really really liked pregnancy and labor), and though I've always known the day would come, our only child discussion makes it painfully hard to let go of. In the (almost) twenty four years of my life, nursing this little girl has been my favorite thing I've accomplished. Because it started out so rocky and I was filled with doubts about whether I would even be able to nurse my (maybe only) baby, I've tried to savor our quiet times together. It almost feels like an honor to sit and rub my fingers through her hair, feeling the flutter flutter flutter pattern of her sucking, humming lullabies and whispering love in her ear. Weaning has been a process that has been happening sort of naturally. Part of me is thankful - it makes it easier, because I know that if she didn't ever show signs of stopping I'm not the type to force her to wean, and weaning is good for her. It's one of those natural separation, becoming an individual type steps that I think she is surely on the same page with judging by all the no's I've been getting from her lately.

We've watched her say new words daily over the last few weeks, at a rate I can't even keep up with - it makes my head spin. I've started seeing a sense of pride wash over her as she says new words and pushes her body to accomplish what she wants it to.  She's becoming a beautiful person all on her own, despite my faults and fears and influence. That all makes letting go just a bit easier, a bit more bearable. I tell the story of the day I found out I was pregnant because I feel like we are approaching a similar day. It will be monumental, something to remember, but the things that come after it are going to far exceed the joys breast feeding has brought.

I didn't expect to feel this way - shouldn't I be glad it's over? Aren't most women? If you talk to me in person, I will tell you I am almost decided on not having another baby, but deep down I'm hoping this desire, this longing for breast feeding to not be over means there's just one more little one on the horizon for our family. Don't get me wrong, all other signs and logic point to me not being ready for another tiny person to care for, but this little glimmer has shown itself and has made me open to 'maybe later, if I ever feel ready again.' I guess I have to stop out of faith that in stopping there will come another beginning, even if I'm not ready for that beginning to come any time soon (or at all). It's illogical, but it's the way my brain works. Most nights after Ev has fallen asleep without asking for me, without asking for 'mama milt,' I start to feel sorry for myself. I'm being silly about it, I know. It was bound to happen, but it feels a lot like something I love being torn from me, like being rejected. Raising a baby is a funny thing - they grow so rapidly it's like mourning the death of one person and celebrating the emergence of another favorite person while trying to remember they're all the same person sitting right in front of you.



There comes a point in motherhood when you're suddenly 'yours' again. I'm not sure that I've yet to pinpoint the moment this happened. When I was pregnant I remember watching a comical video song about how self centered pregnant women are (Pregnant Women Are Smug). I laughed - I couldn't believe I would ever be like that, but all women are. It's nothing to be ashamed of. You live to carry your baby, talk about your baby, feel your baby move. You wake up and instantly think about the baby growing inside of you. Every conversation you have is in terms of weeks or gender or due date. It consumes you and for a brief moment in life, you are sure of your purpose. . . And then one day they outgrow you and you are you again. And I think I'm having trouble with that transition. It sort of puts me in a panic. It's triumphant for a lot of women, but I suspect there are some out there like me who greave this process. I'm still a mom and I still love being a mom, of course - I just love it differently and have started having to mother differently (and I'm not sure I'm good at mothering differently). It's still good in all the ways it's always been good, just not in that specific way it was when she was a baby, that effortless way. And can I just say that sometimes I want to say the hell with logic and pop out all of the delicious babies we seem to create that my body will let me pop out, but my husband would never go along with one more at this point much less infinity more and I feel a little like it's my fault. The transition into motherhood wasn't all that easy for me. I can't help but feel like all the days he came home to a frustrated and depressed wife (there were many) and less than happy baby and listening to my unceasing venting did this him. If I had dealt with it all better and been able to get myself together and been happier all around and not dealt with depression, maybe we would all be up for a 'normal' family (whatever normal is)?

A few days ago, we took Ev to the library and as we were walking out, there was a group of little girls walking together. They were probably 5 or 6. Ev walked her little rushed toddler walk right into the middle of their group and just stared, left to right, examining every thing about them. She does this any time we're out and she sees kids - she just stops and stares, like they're the most marvelous people she's ever seen. You see, we don't have a lot of friends with kids, especially kids her age. We had a few back in Albuquerque, but since we've just moved and only been here a few weeks and we're moving again to Brooklyn soon, I really don't know how to go about finding friends with kids her age. I've never had to do that. Anyway, she was walking with these little girls into the parking deck entrance. I was afraid she wasn't paying attention and would walk into the line of cars in the deck, so I scooped her up - and it broke her heart. And in that moment, guilt rushed through me and I kicked myself all the way home, doubting our decision to not have another baby, doubting our decision to move. I was a mess, and I still kind of am. A new beginning is a beautiful thing, but it also opens you up to all of the possibilities there are, some of them not so good. It rocks your world, makes you a little doubtful of your abilities that you were so sure of just a few months ago. I say all of this to point out that there are a lot of things ending around here and it's making us all terribly sad, but we're still holding onto the hope that better things are 

coming. This is going to be a hard year for the Jacobs family, but we're strong, we can do this.

How we got into the situation that we're in is a really long story, but the short version of it is that we were estimated to move in March or April and got news in mid-November that we had to be on the East coast and report to Alex's new base on Long Island in six weeks. We had a plan to get our finances in order before we left (in March), but that didn't happen, so we had to cut costs where we could and hope for the best. So we ended up renting a 5x8' trailer instead of a truck because it cut about $1,000 off of our moving expenses, but it's harder than you think to shove everything you need to live and everything that has sentimental value to you into a space that size. It sounds strange, but I think we're all a little traumatized from it - not in a consumeristic, we can't let go of junk way - but we'll be having a conversation and we'll remember something we left behind and we'll stop mid-sentence and our hearts sink because we all really loved that thing and there were a lot of memories attached to it, like Ev's pink and purple tricycle. Ev still stops every now and then to ask about Alex's truck (because she was in love with it - it was her favorite thing on this Earth besides her Papa and I, I think). In a way, it's a freeing feeling, to have so little and so much freedom - at the same time, you wonder if this is healthy for your kid. I mean, this has to be painful for her. We're in a place that isn't baby proofed because it isn't our home, so she is constantly being asked not to touch something, all of her toys are in storage which really freaks her out when we go to the unit to get something out of it and she sees it all laying in there, and we took her away from the only place she's ever known with a back yard that she basically learned everything in and a hammock she would have slept in had we let her and her friends and our neighbors. . . it's all hard to think about, but somehow we keep looking at each other saying 'We still don't regret it.' because we can see a light, a glorious beautiful light, at the end of this tunnel.

And to put the cherry on top of this lovely cake Ms. Trunchbull is making us eat (Matilda reference if you're lost.), as we were packing the last of our things, I found the cake plate from our wedding tucked underneath the sink and I couldn't leave it, but absolutely nothing else would fit. So I gave it to a friend for safe keeping. It's really silly to get upset over a cake plate, but for some stupid reason us women just get attached to things like this. It held our wedding cake, it held our gender reveal cake, it held Ev's first birthday cake, and I had plans for it to hold many more birthday, anniversary, and wedding cakes. It was one of those things I imagined handing to my kid one day and watching her marvel at the history behind it. My friend sent it our way so that Ev's second birthday cake could sit atop it, but the universe had other plans I guess. It arrived with a stamp that said 'broken upon arrival' and I knew when I picked it up and heard the crunching and jingling that it hadn't made it. It's hard not to be angry at people and I did my best until I found Ev's felt birthday crown laying on the ground next to the mailbox because it wouldn't fit inside it, but the mailman couldn't stand walking 30 feet to knock on our door or place it on our doorstep. So now I feel no qualms with giving the USPS a very unlady-like virtual middle finger and saying that I'll be using FedEx from now on.

And this concludes the longest essay in the history of this blog. I lift my coffee mug to you if you made it this far through my emotional rambling and venting.

3 comments:

  1. Oh no :( I'm sorry the cake plate was broken. I don't think that you're doing anything bad to Evangeline at all by moving her. She becomes more flexible and tolerant of new things and gets to experience more than most kids. Also, you both seem like GREAT parents and that is the most important thing because many parents don't even give half the effort they should. I mean, you lasted an entire year breastfeeding?! That's a HUGE accomplishment, congratulations!

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  2. Hi there,

    I just recently happened upon your blog and have enjoyed reading your posts. As I was reading the last paragraph, I started to get teary eyed and then you revealed the broken item in the photograph. I wanted to go back in time and make sure you received it in one piece. The only suggestion I have would be since you are in a brand new place to pick one out that represents your new surroundings and continue to make memories with the new plate. My hormones went wacky when I started to wean my daughter and I too dealt with some serious depression for about the first five weeks of her life. With everything it takes time to adapt to situations, y'all will make it! Thank you for sharing your life and I look forward to hearing about your experiences in New York. ~Kaitlin

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  3. I found your blog on Top Baby Blogs and just started reading. My daughter is 2 years and 2 months old and I am still nursing her. I completely understand what you are saying. I am not sure when my daughter will decide to wean herself and sometimes I feel like I am ready for her to wean but I know when the day comes I will be sad. Be proud of yourself for how long you nursed her! Good luck!

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