There are so many moments in parenthood where time seems to creep by slowly. Sleepless nights, bedtime battles, toddler tantrums, you name it. We tend to wish it away, hope that the end is near, knowing that we likely have a new phase of some sort to face once the current one is over.
I myself have absolutely had many moments when I find myself hoping a certain phase will be over soon, knowing there is likely an equally as difficult one waiting around the corner. Recently, however, I have found myself wishing time would slow, even during those particularly difficult times. The reason? My youngest baby (well, toddler now) decided (on Mother's Day, of all days!) he was finished nursing. I knew this day was coming soon since he had been self weaning slowly over the past months. However I held onto each short nursing session as much as I could never knowing which one would be our last.
I have grieved the ending of our breastfeeding relationship for weeks now, feeling just recently as though I am now 'okay' with it. It was a particularly hard thing to let go of, it was our connection, our quiet time away from the craziness. Most of all, this is another milestone in my smallest baby getting older, and sometimes that's just a hard one to swallow.
Throughout my process of grieving, and accepting our new routine without nursing, I have learned quite a bit. I know I am not the only mama out there who has had a hard time with letting go of not only breastfeeding, but truly any phase in particular. In an effort to make those difficult moments a little easier, Ill share what I've learned.
I think things are not meant to last
so that for the short time they
are here, we are able
to appreciate them
and love them
so much more
fully than if
- Elizabeth Gultom
It's Okay not to be Okay.
You're grieving, whether or not that is how other's see it, that's what it is. You are allowed to ugly cry, you're allowed to be sad, you're allowed to scream into a pillow, whatever works for you! You're allowed to have your moments, heck even whole days. It's part of the process, and if you don't allow yourself this time to cry, and let those emotions come out, you'll find yourself not being able to get to the other side of this.
Talk it out.
Sometimes as moms, we want to stay strong, and it may seem that admitting that we're emotionally struggling would mean we're admitting weakness when in fact, it's quite the opposite. Reaching out and talking about your emotions, admitting that your struggling, that takes some serious strength. So, find your person, and talk it out. I promise - it helps, even if you don't feel like you want to talk about it, you'll find yourself feeling so much lighter after doing it.
Find your village.
Everyone, especially moms, needs a village. We need to have a sounding board, we need support when we feel weak, we need people who will listen when we need to be heard, or make us laugh when we're feeling down. If you don't yet have your village, don't fret, you'll find it. Go to local mom groups, even online groups and set up an in person get together. Chat with another mom at the grocery store, you may be very surprised where your find your people.
Focus on what comes next
This is after you've allowed yourself to cry, talk, vent and process. Once you've done that, it can be healing to find the next step to look forward to. For myself, for example, it was that for the first time in 5 years, I'm neither pregnant, or breastfeeding. I am allowing myself to enjoy watching my baby turn into a curious toddler, and soak up every ounce of snuggles I can get from him. I have realized that, just like with the difficult phases, there's always a new fun and exciting one waiting after one ends. I think that may just be the best part of parenthood, there's always something new and exciting to look forward to.
Unfortunately (some times fortunately), everything has to have an ending. Those endings can sometimes be so much harder than we anticipated, and it can be a rocky road to get through them. Take the time to grieve and process, and take care of yourself. It does get easier, and before you know it you'll be onto the next phase and loving every minute of it.