Almost 4 years have gone by during which my body has been through pregnancy, nursing, another pregnancy, and more nursing. Before they fulfilled their mammalian destiny, I had always thought of my boobs as no more than attractive accessories, subtle embellishments to elegant outfits.
OK, who am I kidding, they were adornments to be flaunted to their greatest advantage in wonderbras and teeny T shirts. Then along came the babies and I realized what marvelous but bizarre organs they truly were. Source of nourishment and comfort to my babies, and cause of such mixed emotions in me; pride (how productive I am, how well my baby is growing) angst (am I making enough milk, do I have thrush in my nipples, am I leaking everywhere, am I making enough milk?) and embarrassment (ever accidentally sprayed a fellow customer at starbucks with your breastmilk?)
In the very back of my underwear draw sit delicate flimsy brassieres from those long ago times. At the front of my underwear drawer sit washed out heavy duty nursing bras that have now, apparently, served their time.
Geekybaby has decided that he is ready to quit nursing. Ever since he tasted his first real food he has become less and less interested, until at last, he squirmed away from my embrace as I attempted his bedtime feed, and reached instead for the books on the nightstand. "I want bedtime stories, Mum, not breastmilk" he seems to be saying.
I, however, don't feel ready, and I am sad to break this bond with my baby. I nursed Geekygirl 'til she was 14 months old, stopping when I got pregnant with Geekybaby. I had intended to nurse him at least this long, or longer, blithely assuming that he would continue to want this source of motherly goodness for as long as it was available. I had always thought that quitting would be my decision, and that it would be hard for him, not hard for me. This is a bittersweet milestone that I didn't see coming. A reminder to slow down, enjoy each moment, because kids grow up too fast.
But there is a shiny side to this coin, my voracious middle of the night nurser now sleeps right through the night. As my body is no longer grabbing every last nutrient to turn into milk the spring is returning to my step, and the bags are retreating from under my eyes. Could it be that my body is finally my own again? It has been so long as a host or food supply to another being that I can hardly recall how that feels. Boobs, you have done a truly marvelous job, and I think it is time for you to retire in style and return to your original calling of looking cute under tight sweaters. You've been through quite a lot in the intervening years though, so may need a tiny little bit of help. I hear the lingerie department at Bloomingdales calling!