Seasons Changing, Letting go
April 19, 2014 § Leave a comment
This year summer seemed to be truly endless. I was swimming at the beach just three weeks ago. Since then we have changed our clocks and with that, the mornings are suddenly cooler. I’m now waiting for the first leaf to fall from the star leaf tree in the yard next door.
This past month, the shift in seasons echoes the shifting seasons of motherhood. Tomorrow I (gulp) say goodbye to my 14 year old son, going camping with a few mates into the bush for the first time without any adults. Suddenly he seems almost a man, and is gradually making steps further and further into the world, alone. There is nothing I can do except to let him go, and hope we have ‘cooked’ him right.
At the same time, it is time to begin to let go of Robin a little more. Robin turned two a few weeks ago. His birthdays have been emotion-laden days for me.
The day he was born: an amazing, unpredictable birth full of joy and radiance. His first birthday: a bittersweet acknowledgement that he was alive, amongst the painful awareness of all we had been through. And this year the most intense feeling was one of gratitude. Gosh, our journey with Robin has been both difficult and stressful, heartwarming and full of so much love. I am so thankful for all the gifts he has brought into my life. I’m so lucky to be chosen to be his mother.
Which brings me to breastfeeding. Generally I wean my babes at two. Robin….I thought I would breastfeed for longer, given that he spent much longer than usual in the baby phase. But something changes for me when my children reach two: their speech develops, they grow, at the same time that I am ready to reclaim my own body and bed space. Certainly the last couple of months have been marked by bone deep exhaustion, the kind where I feel hollow, like everything has been sucked out of me (literally)!
I’ve begun weaning Robin at night. So far it has been two weeks of very broken sleep, as I gently let him know that the ‘boobs’ are away and we will be having a cuddle instead. A few times he has pushed me away and turned to Sol’s arms in refuge, only to return a moment later, needing a continued connection with me. Now he is beginning to roll over and return to sleep quickly. I am hopeful we are nearly there. And my energy is slowly returning.
But today, I realised he had only breastfed once in the past 24hours. No! I am not ready for it to end altogether. I cherish the closeness Robin and I have experienced in his short life, and breastfeeding has been an integral part of that. When Robin was ill, breastfeeding him served so many important functions: nourishment, connection, something I had a purpose for, an affirmation that he was still my baby, and through all of that, yes, protection.
The truth is that am scared to let him walk into the world, further away from me and my protection. I gave all I could when he was a defenseless baby to keep him safe, and help him heal. Now he is a toddler, and I know that for many reasons it is time for him to leave my arms.
He is/was my baby. I’m sad to think my childbearing career is at an end, even though there is much to look forward to. I imagine us, walking off into the sunset – me no longer carrying Robin, but walking beside him in strength and harmony.