Monday, April 8, 2013

when nature decides

The past week has reminded me, with such clarity, that we are nature.

When Poet came down with a fever a few weeks ago she fed like a newborn. Day and night she would cuddle in and I, with all my concern and anxiety, obliged every feed. Our sleep was feverish and our days long, but by last Tuesday afternoon she was on the mend and I exhaled. Finally.

The next morning it was my turn and over the following days I shivered and burned, cringed as I swallowed and wished myself better. In the midst of it I accepted that the gradual, controlled weaning process I had planned was not meant to be. 

My body had decided that it just couldn't do it anymore and with a strange mix of relief and grief, I started to say no to Poet's requests. On Sunday night I lay in bed and listened to her pit-pat her way around the house instead of lying next to me. Every time she came into the room she would smile, ask for milk, and sob when I said no. "Milky's gone." Eventually she surrendered and came to lie down, but she wouldn't cuddle in, nor would she share my pillow. 

Instead of feeding her, I sang to her; nursery rhymes with a made-up line every now and then. When we got to twinkle twinkle she stopped crying, cuddled in, and started to fall asleep. Which is when I fumbled my way through the second verse and soaked the crown of her head with my tears.

It was over, just like that. The baby becomes the little girl.

The final breastfeed is such a pivotal "cutting of the cord" moment and this time, whilst I struggled with the fact that I wasn't in control, I found comfort in the natural progression that was occurring. Much like pregnancy and birth, the breastfeeding journey is beautiful, challenging, tiring and joyous. It requires so much from the mama; gratitude, acceptance, patience and, most importantly, the ability to surrender. 

Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high, 
Like a diamond in the sky.

When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

Then the traveller in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.

photo: breastfeeding poet (13months) on a wild beach in Gerroa, captured by tim

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