After five days of severe engorgement, 40-plus toddler temper tantrums, and hundreds of tears, my daughter is weaned.
The end of breastfeeding is one of the most bittersweet parts of motherhood. Yet another milestone. Yet another page in the baby book. Yet another opportunity for me to shake my head and wonder where the time went.
My 21-month-old daughter is calling herself a "big girl." Part of me can't stand it. Part of me is proud.
I keep telling myself she's almost 2. I keep telling myself she's still a baby. I keep telling myself she's a big girl. I keep telling myself she's still little. I keep telling myself she's getting big. My mind is mush.
I'm not usually a weepy mom, so I'm blaming all this emotional baggage on hormones. That's it. My hormones are wacky and I can't write straight or think straight and it totally explains the tears falling on my keyboard.
My therapist once told me breastfeeding was a big control issue for me. If my children were only nursing and not taking a bottle or not wanting anyone else, it was my way of keeping control over my family.
Damn my therapist because I feel like my daughter is no longer under my control. I can't quiet her with my breast. I can't keep her close to me, instead of watching her run with a sippy cup across the park. I can't make her boo boos go away by lifting my shirt. And I'll be honest, it sucks.
I know this will pass. I know I will take a deep breathe and be thrilled when I have three glasses of wine instead of one. When my bras no longer have snap openings. When I can leave the house for more than a few hours and not have to rush back home for a feeding.
A blogging friend of mine recently said she initially resisted having kids because they break your heart. I'd have to agree.
Maybe it's all the milk stored in the breast over my heart, but it sure feels like something is breaking. As I again wipe the tears from the letters "D," "F," and "G" on this computer I will blame the hormones. As I again try and cuddle with my daughter as she runs with her cup, I will remember this is life, and it's time to let go.
Goodbye, baby. Hello, little girl.
Erin Kotecki Vest lives in Southern California and is a writer and stay-at-home mom of Jackson, three, and Hala, one. She spent nearly a decade as a news reporter and anchor in Orlando and Los Angeles.