Me, MomSelf and I

Life's journey is full of twists and turns and sometimes we get lost. This is my journey to rediscover myself.


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Death, Birth, and Rainbows: All Love

My second son was born 7 days after my father died from a 14-month bout with throat cancer.  Part of the reason I wanted to get pregnant again was because I knew he was dying.  At the time, it seemed like the only way I could keep him alive.  It was during my pregnancy that I started therapy.  I figured I had a pretty good set up for postpartum depression, and I wanted to prepare for its inevitability. I was so convinced it would happen, I actually saw 2 therapists. One would listen and give me practical advice and the other would make me work to come up with my own answers.  I valued both.

As we were planning the funeral, we had to schedule the burial and the only day available was my due date. And the military cemetery was an hour away.  So I decided I couldn’t go. It rained all that day, which was appropriate, because my dad loved the rain, thunderstorms especially. Sure enough, that morning, as my mother and sister were driven to the burial site, I started having contractions.  They return literally in the nick of time.  My son was born at 7:17 pm and just minutes before he made his debut in this world, a bright, beautiful rainbow appeared outside our window.

As my son has grown, he has been fixated on pictures of my dad.  Since he began talking, one of his most repeated phrases is “Grandpa died.”  For the longest, I wondered, why does he keep saying that? It hurts me every time I have to explain to him that, yes, Grandpa died, but even though he’s not here, he loves you and your brother and sister anyway.  But what I now believe is that he says it over and over because he knows.  He met my dad in that space and time in the universe between life and death, and he is trying to tell me, Grandpa died, but his love hasn’t. Because it lives through him. He is Grandpa’s love.

So this year, as he turns 2 and we acknowledge another year since my dad passed, I will have a new perspective, a dual celebration.  I will celebrate my son’s birthday and the abundance of love that my dad still showers me with, through my baby.


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He Weans Me, He Weans Me Not

I’ve spent the last 7 years breastfeeding.  It sounds so absurd saying it out loud, but that’s the truth.  When I first became pregnant, I read as many pregnancy, motherhood, parenting books I could. Of course they all said “breast was best.”   I remember being in such admiration of my best friend in high school interact with her mother.  They had a closeness that I longed for, and I attributed it to their breastfed relationship-one that I lacked as a formula baby. Since then, I knew if I ever had kids, breastfeeding was the only way I’d go.  Plus, I’ve always been well endowed in the boobage area, so I figured a) I’d have no problems doing it (wrong!), and b) they must serve a purpose beyond being oogled by men since I was about 12.

From the moment my firstborn was placed on my chest, I became a breastfeeding mom.  And knowing I was the sole provider of this powerful, antibody-rich superfood, I was hooked!  Not to mention the euphoric high of possessing this tool that could instantly calm a cranky baby, I felt like a goddess.  Okay, so that was all ego.  But the deeper joy was this unique closeness I shared-that bond I longed for many moons ago-was now a reality with me and my son.  And he had no intentions of giving it up.  When I became pregnant with his sister 2 years later, the doctor told me I really needed to wean him for a variety of reasons.  I reluctantly (and half-heartedly) began to distract him when it was “that time.” But the truth is, he continued to nurse pretty much up until she was born.  Again, I experienced that joy with the bond I was able to form with my daughter.  She too, had no interest in weaning.  And she was 3 when her baby brother was born.  So here he is a week away from turning 2 and there are days now when he can take my milk or leave it.  I’ve never experienced this before and I don’t know how to handle it.

I now have a medical condition that requires me to take drugs that are not breastfeeding compatible.  So it’s necessary for us to cease that function of our relationship.  And I agonized over how I was going to do it. But it turns out, he’s apparently going to handle that for me.  He was my bonus baby from the get-do, and has always been what I needed him to be at the right time.  See, he was growing inside me while my father was dying of cancer.  And I wondered how I could bring such an important life into the world as I was losing one of the most important ones in my life.  And he knew that, so he made sure it was an easy pregnancy.  Then when my dad died, he gave me 1 week to grieve before he made his appearance.

So he knows for my health we have to stop the nursing.  Therefore, he has begun to wean himself.  And I am both grateful and incredibly sad.  How have I created such an intuitively caring human being, who wasn’t even planned?  And even though it’s been 7 years, how is this part of my life over already?

I feel so fortunate to have had this experience, when I know there are some women who never get the chance.  I just hope we find another way to express our closeness. I also know I will miss it forever.