As I face the week ahead, my heart is heavy and there are tears in my throat. From tomorrow I start a slow journey to weaning my daughter and I feel shattered over it. As I lie here, breastfeeding my 20 month old to sleep at naptime for possibly the last time, I can’t help wondering, just how many times can the mommy heart break?
Months ago, I experienced one of my first heartbreaks as a mom when my baby was pushed around by another toddler, bringing up all kinds of fears of future encounters with bullies.
My mommy heart broke when she had her first real “booboo” when she ran into a doorframe just before her first birthday leaving her with a nasty bruise on her check in all her photos.
My mommy heart broke when she screamed for me as I left for a meeting I couldn’t miss, and as those screams echoed in my head the two hours I was away.
My mommy heart broke when she bled for the first time from a scratch under her eye, and as it heals so slowly over time.
My mommy heart is breaking now, as I lie listening to her breathing, feeling her skin warm against mine, looking down at her flushed face as she sleeps. My mommy heart is throbbing with guilt because she doesn’t know I am going to be starting to untangle the bonds that have formed between us during our breastfeeding journey.
For those of you wondering, this is a choice I am making. It is a choice I am making for myself, and therefore for my daughter. It is time. It came out of nowhere, just a few weeks ago I wasn’t ready and then last weekend I was – completely.
I am more afraid of this decision than I was the day I had my daughter. Not because it is the wrong choice, but because it is a hard choice. It would be a hard choice no matter how long I wait, but I really believe that the minute you feel it is time, it is. Before your baby senses that your heart is no longer in it.
My mommy heart is breaking because this is a huge step. My mommy heart is breaking because she won’t understand. My mommy heart is breaking because I am afraid I will be breaking the incredible bond we have. My mommy heart is breaking because this is a form of letting go. My mommy heart is breaking because my baby is growing up.
And then, just when we have begun to settle into this new way of being; my mommy heart will begin breaking all over again as she starts nursery school in January.
And then my mommy heart will break when we officially decide whether we will be adding another baby to our family and I feel like I will be abandoning her. And then my mommy heart will break when she has to share me. And then my mommy heart will break when she has her first fight with a friend. And then my mommy heart will break when she has her first heartbreak. And then, and then…
So I ask you again, how many times can the mommy heart break? I feel like I can’t handle this heartbreak, never mind the years and years ahead. How do we do it? How do we survive it?
As my mommy heart breaks today and I cry as I try to prepare myself for the week ahead; I want so desperately to lean into arms of understanding, to hear that everything will be ok, to believe that my baby is not going to hate me or no longer need me, to hear that I am not the very worst mommy ever, to hear that one day she will look at me with the same love and trust again after I break this trust.
Have any of you survived this particular heartbreak recently? Is it really survivable? Is she going to be ok?
Sending all the love xx