Wow. I’m feeling a little emotional today. I’ve officially finished breastfeeding Emily. Which means my baby isn’t a baby any more. She’s a toddler. She’s independent. She doesn’t survive on me for food (well, she kind of still does, but you get what I mean). I will never breastfeed her again. It’s actually really, really sad. I wish I could rewind time and be more grateful for the ability I had.
I remember getting home from the hospital, and I was all alone. I had this tiny newborn in my arms. I’d never changed a nappy before her. I didn’t want to change her clothes because it meant I’d have to lift her head. I remember looking down at her and crying because I felt so scared I would break this tiny, perfect person I’d just met. I didn’t want to bath her because I was afraid she’d slip in my arms. I remember walking around my tiny living room in circles at 3am, singing “You Are My Sunshine”, over and over and over again. I remember sleeping sitting up with her in my arms, back when she had reflux and wouldn’t sleep any other way. I remember wanting someone to come and help me so badly, but she’d just been born. How would it look if I needed help straight away. I can’t even last a week? Come on. Harden up. I can do this on my own. (Or at least, I kept telling myself). It was very, very lonely. And so much responsibility. Almost too much to handle.
But the one thing I was nailing, was breastfeeding. It was as if this was the one thing I could get right, I could do with comfort, I knew she was eating, and if she’s eating, she’s happy. If she’s eating, she’s growing. I’m doing something right. As long as she is with me, she will never be hungry. She will never be distressed. I am here.
I am so grateful and appreciative that I did have the ability to breastfeed, when so many women cannot. From her first feed onwards, she was amazing. I managed to breastfeed all the way until last week. There were teeth. I still kept at it. I set myself the goal of making it to 12 months, and I got there.
I feel like this is a milestone, not just for Emily and her development, but for me as a person as well. I acknowledge that I not only decided to have a baby as a single parent and all the challenges that come with that; I not only kept her alive for 12 months, but she is extremely happy, chilled out, adventurous, brave, cheeky and loving little girl. And I know that her temperament is a direct result of my parenting and how I have mothered her. And I am so proud of her. And of me. We’re a good team. And even though boobs are no longer involved, I’m looking forward to the next crazy 12 months of our lives together: toddlerdom.