Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dear Daughter ...

I am feeling a little sensitive today, and in the mood to write a small Dear Daughter letter [that turned into a long one, forgive me, I'm not really one to just write and write and write for an entry, but that's where I'm at for right now.]

Dear Daughter,

I am so truly blessed to have you in my world. You make my days incredible, my nights sometimes not-so-much-so, and every minute is a surprise of entertainment. I try very hard not to laugh when disciplining you, but when you mouthed off at me this afternoon telling me, 'You don't talk back, Mommy,' it was a good thing I was sitting over on the couch, or you would have seen me smile right before I had to yell at you to get your little butt over here.

I have so many things to be thankful for, and with my being sick so often over the past few months I have felt that I have had less patience than I would normally for certain things. So I am sorry for raising my voice over the stupid things, but I am not sorry for when I really did need to mean it. I love you, sweetheart, but you need to start listening to Mommy and Daddy when we talk to you. There are so many things you want to do, and so many things you're a little too small for, or might put you in danger (like trying to stalk the cat for his toy, even though I said it was OK and I gave it to him) or cause you harm immediately (even though Neo is the nicest of our menagerie, he might truly attack if you're after anything held tightly in between his teeth. You know that, baby.)

Most of all, I want to talk to you about the end of our nursing experience. It will be about three weeks tomorrow, and you really have been doing so well. Aside from a few small inquiries (one happened today, so maybe you asking me for 'a little more milk' is what leads me to this letter. Or maybe it's been a long time coming?) one wouldn't even think that you were breastfed for as long as you were.

I, however, am truly experiencing a loss here. I mean, I'm much better this week, as opposed to the first week, but that's because we've now replaced that time before bed with more grown-up moments, such as laying next to one another on the floor beside your bed, holding hands, reading stories, and singing together.

I would never have imagined how sad it would feel to put you to bed at night without those moments of physical closeness. How strange it would seem. And how hormonal and moody and shifty it would make me feel. That first week was rough. I really couldn't tell you that, or your Daddy, because I kind of felt like he'd think I was crazy. But a very good friend told me it was totally normal. And that even when you're ready for it to end, it's still really hard to accept that it's over. And so that's where I was that first week. I didn't want to tell anyone or write about it, as I wasn't sure it'd be the truth if I spoke it out loud.

Then the second week went by, and suddenly we're into the third, and it's lasting. I mean, I'm sure I'm still producing (how will I tell when it's gone, I wonder?) but there's no output, and like I said, you're doing OK without it. And believe me, during this last week when you had the runny nose and awful cold, it was really hard to not offer you, since I knew it would help heal you and get you through it more quickly.

Now, I must tell you, your Mama is not one of those crunchy-granola types. I'm not even someone who is labeled as practicing AP (attachment parenting) ... mostly because I knew nothing about wearing you when you were a baby, except in a sling that was returned because it was recalled ... and I will be the first to admit that when you were first born and I heard about people nursing past 30+ months my eyes widened with complete shock that this would ever even be an option. And yet, 34 months in, and we're finally done, and I miss it with a small twinge, but I am proud. Of myself, and of you.

You're a beautiful little girl, my beautiful baby, and I will always be here to nurture you, even if it's in a boob-free environment. You make me prouder and prouder every single day to be a mother, and I thank you with my whole heart that you have taught me this love.

I love you.

Love, **Me


  1. You are ABSOLUTELY normal for feeling a sense of loss and uncertainty after ending the breastfeeding. It's so hard! I think I nursed my daughters for so long as much for my benefit as theirs :)

    What a sweet post.

  2. Incredible letter, Andrea. Your little girl is lucky to have you.

    I think you will know when the well is dry. It usually doesn't take long, but I didn't nurse nearly as long as you did, so maybe it's different? I don't know.

    I shriveled up pretty quickly and that tingling sensation stopped happening when I heard the babies letting down anymore. And a few days of engorgement.

    But I assume since she's mostly on regular food she wasn't getting a ton of milk? so perhaps the process really is easier/different.

    Kudos to you and to her!

  3. Those milestones are so difficult. The wonderful thing about this that you are aware of when it happend. So many others go unnoticed until one day you say...when did that happen? The sadness is the beginning of the next new wonderful phase. Enjoy. Holly

  4. Jackson (age 2 yrs 10 mos) weaned last month, so I'm in the throes of the hormonal chaos now. Reading this letter touched my heart and made me cry at the same time. I would so love to write a letter like this to my son--to whom I've been writing since he was 5 weeks old--but I think I'd cry all over the keyboard!


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