Over that period of time, the relationships lasted anywhere from five years to over seven years, intertwining with each other to form fourteen and a half seamless years.
The first year and a half as a couple was easy, after getting over some hurdles in the early weeks. Then we introduced someone new into the relationship and things got a little more complicated. Nearly two years after that, we added yet another to our relationship. Eventually the founding member of this relationship outgrew it and moved on, and shortly thereafter another new face joined to form this special bond. And another.
Then one by one, they moved on to other things, no longer needing the bond that seemed so essential in the beginning. And now it's done. Over for good. The end of some of the most beautiful and intimate relationships of my life.
Fourteen years, six months, three weeks, four days. That's a long time to have been breastfeeding without more than a day or two break. From the time Alexander latched on for the first time fourteen and a half years ago until Alia uttered the words, "I'm weaned!" a couple months ago, I have nursed at least one child just about every day. Alex nursed for five years - through two pregnancies, triandem nursing with Zachary and Haley. Zachary nursed for over seven years, through two pregnancies and into another, nursing with all his siblings except Alia, as he weaned during her pregnancy. Haley nursed for seven years as well, through two pregnancies and with all of her siblings at one time or another. Coren lasted six years, nursing with his older and younger sisters. Alia rounded things out at five years, five months, having nursed with Haley and Coren until they weaned.
And to think my original goal when breastfeeding my first child was 6 weeks!
If you had asked me fourteen and a half years ago how long I'd last, I'd have said six months tops. If you'd have asked me five years ago how I would feel when Alia decided to wean, I'd have said sad. But that's not the case now. Now it feels right and good and complete.
Thank you, God, for sending me a La Leche League Leader mother-in-law who encouraged me to breastfeed and a husband who expected nothing else. Thank you for guiding me to La Leche League of Naugatuck Valley with its knowledgeable Leaders and wonderful nursing mothers who became my friends, my tribe, and who taught me to trust my mother instincts and listen to my baby. Thank you for a family who trusted me to do what was best for my children, including the insane concept of not just nursing multiple children, but walking, talking, reading, math-doing children. Thank you for friends who have been with me on this incredible journey. And thank you to all these people for seeing the beauty in breastfeeding and natural weaning.
Two little words, "I'm weaned," changed my life forever. I'm no longer something I was for fourteen years, six months, three weeks, and four days - a breastfeeding mother. I feel like this should come as a shock to my system, but the truth is, I've been weaned gently and with love by each of my nurslings, the transition smooth.
At peace with being a weaned mama, I look forward to the next chapter in my mothering journey.