About me and my blog

martes, 19 de junio de 2012

Our mutual weaning

It is not easy to know where to start, since it feels ages have passed since I wrote my last acceptable post. I am a bit sad to notice I have no posts under the labels 16 or 17 months, so I am going to try and make up for this lack while I have time. M will be turning 18 months in three days. And, what have we been doing for the past two months, you may ask. Well, much indeed. Apart from feeling sick most of the time, I have been trying to keep at M's pace and although I know I am far from perfection, I have tried to keep the "guilty mama" feeling at a minimum.
When I first found out or, better said, guessed I was pregnant, my first feelings overwhelmed me. I felt it was way too early and M was too small and needed me an absolute lot. It took us some days (an wonderful words from special friends) to see the wonder and feasibility of having children 2 years apart. I can say I am really excited now and I know M will handle -and is already handling- it perfectly. There have been, in fact, quite a few things that have surprised me during this first trimester of pregnancy. 
I started out with a strange kind of wild feeling towards nursing while pregnant. It was as if I was telling the baby in my womb: "you will not steal this from your sister". And I realize now that trying to go with the flow and accept facts as they are has been something the new baby has showed me. Already teaching from inside, uh?
For the first three months of pregnancy, we kept the breast-feeding despite my uneasiness, the pain, the feeling of dizziness, and a growing feeling of impatience towards the end. Against all expectations, it seemed that the uneasier I felt, the more M needed to nurse. She was mirroring my inner self, as she has always done. The less comfortable I was with the situation, the more she needed to nurse as if to say "if you give me regretfully, once won't be enough; the more regret, the more we'll need to repeat it". It was her frequent demand what showed me something needed to be changed. Besides, my physical tiredness was ever growing and the milk supply dropping, so we came to a point one day when M started to spend nearly all night asking to nurse and after long sessions she would still cry asking for water and food. Nursing had always soothed her but now it wasn't even doing that, so after a specially difficult night on a Thursday morning before going to work, M's daddy had a gentle and clever conversation with her, which I overheard from bed. The conversation had two clear parts and one objective: weaning. The dad told M that mama was feeling too weak and the milk was going to be less and less; pointed out that the three of us were having worse and restless nights, and invited her to say "bye-bye" to "meme", the word M had invented for nursing when she started to talk. We wanted to make it real simple and easy to understand in order to  have her willing collaboration. Since M was really familiar with the concept of "bye-bye", this seemed to work very well. She responded in a very sensible way and spent most of the day telling me: "bye-bye, meme", and to my surprise, started to mention the baby every time. I was really startled by this because neither my husband nor me had mentioned the baby in the process.
For that first day, she didn't ask to nurse. Then at bed time, the dad put her to sleep and it was ok. Every time she woke during the night, he got her to sleep again. The following day, after a whole morning without asking to nurse, she started to cry desperately and since I had what seemed lots of milk, I offered her some and had a clear feeling that it would be our last session. I made my husband take pictures of it and was not wrong at all. After that, M has never nursed again. 
I must confess I was highly surprised at M's ability to adapt, as well as her understanding of the situation, in the same way I was surprised at my sudden acceptance of facts -such a stubborn girl I am. I like to call this process we've undergone "our mutual weaning". Also to my surprise, my level of tiredness began to fall after weaning and this benefited all of us. What has had me in wonder, most of all, though, is that our bonding has taken a new and delighful direction. Right after weaning, M started to come to me and hug me while saying "mahhma" in a tone full of love. It was the most incredible token of affection. Not only wasn't she bearing any grudge, but she was giving me support, at 17 months! Apart from bringing tears to my eyes, the thought of this has taught me -again- that our children are our most special teachers.

4 comentarios:

  1. What a beautiful story! I'm so glad the weaning transition was relatively easy for both of you, and such positive changes have followed. It really helps to have your co parent on the same page, too, doesn't it? You all seem to be weathering the changes beautifully - I can't wait to learn from you and see how things go when baby arrives!

  2. Thanks for your words, Melissa. Oh, yes, it helps to be on the same page. I am so grateful it is so. I can't actually imagine how it would be to disagree on parenting issues. Positive changes have followed, yes, one of them being sleep. Marina used to wake up 3 to 5 times a night and now she sleeps through the night or wakes up just once asking for water. This change surprised me as well. The whole thing has taught me that we can't never be sure about the way things will unfold.

  3. Hi Laura,
    Congratulations on your pregnancy! For what it's worth, my older children are 22 months apart and even now, and 12 and 14 (ahh the adolescence years - ick) get along fairly well most of the time. It is the 6 year old that throws everybody for a loop! : )

    I think you wrote to me ages and ages and AGES ago about a continent swap. I am sorry to say that I tend to get pretty wrapped up in my teaching, my family, and every day life, and I am truly so embarrassed that I forgot to respond. That said, this sounds like it may not be the best time for you to consider a project, but just in case you are . . . I wanted to invite you to join a cultural exchange my friend Aude is hosting. She lives in Ireland and has 6 people signed up to participate in this exchange - including her. She is in Ireland as I said, 1 person is from The UK, 1 from France, 1 from Canada, and 2 of us are from the USA. Let me know if you would like to join us, and I can send you all the info. This sounds interesting to me b/c it is supposed to be very personal, and is to be about each family and how they live. It will include photos of your home and/or school, information on your children's favorite books, sports etc. The children can also write personal letters in their native language if they wish . . etc etc. I think it will add some personal touches to continent boxes to have information about real children who live in some of the the places.

    Just drop me a line if you would like to join us, but if not, it is no big deal at all. Hang in there, and I hope you feel better soon! : )


  4. Hi Karen,
    Thanks for your feedback. I had not checked comments on my blog for a long time, that's why I am only answering now. I think the project can be very interesting but may I see all the details before I finally decide to join you? It might depend on the time I have to devote to it but it sounds like I may have some of the items at hand.
    I am feeling better indeed, thanks!