How many times can the mommy heart break?

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.

Bruised cheek

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.

Bleeding scratch

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.

Sleeping ange;

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.

Charlotte 20 months

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.

Love & 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

Comments

  1. Jacqui Davids says

    I did not go through this, but i have no shortage of heart break on this journey. My first heartbreak was at 14 week when i developed a breast abscess and ended up having surgery and a night in the hospital.. that was the first night away from him. Then the first day at creche at 3 months… The day i dropped him at creche and he didn’t need me anymore, walked in closed the gate and screamed bye while walking down the passage, leaving me standing outside, he was only 12 months. I have many more, but the list is too long. Heartbreak is inevitable, but here is to hoping it gets easier… Big hugs!

  2. says

    Such a beautiful post!
    My first heartbreak was when he grew out of his newborn clothes at 6 weeks and I realized time is not waiting for anyone. His first day at the creche at 4 months was another big break. I cried all the way back home (and we only started with half days so he (maybe I) can get use to it). The first (and only) day he cried when I dropped him off at creche I wanted to turn around, pick him up and go home to play with him the whole day.

    I told my colleagues last week my baby made my heart so soft. I work in a hospital and suddenly my heart breaks for every sick baby coming for a scan the same age as my baby. It breaks for every mommy coming bringing them, and I wonder how they handle it.

    To answer your question, I don’t know how many times can the mommy heart break, I just hope that it becomes easier and less painful. I think the Lord created us so special and maybe much stronger than we think?

    • Pregnant In Cape Town says

      Oh Rolene, thank you so much for sharing your heartbreak. I can’t imagine how those mommies in the hospital cope at all, I have so many friends who have had to experience it and I can never quite get my head around it :( Thank you for taking the time to leave a message. Sending so much love xx

  3. says

    Lots and lots of love – I hope it goes as well as it can. And honestly our hearts break all the time and I am afraid the things they break for gets bigger and harder. This year my 10 year old daughter was so sad – bullied and feeling worthless. It was the biggest heartbreak for me up to now.

    • Pregnant In Cape Town says

      Oh hun, my heart just ached for you. I am so very terrified of that day. Thank you for sharing and sending YOU a huge love too <3

  4. says

    Ai babes! I never realised how hard it would be until I made the decision to stop when my little girl was 6½ months. I sobbed after the last feed. She handled it much better than I did! Good luck! xxx

  5. says

    I didn’t go through this recently but when I did 3 years ago I felt everything that you are going through and was amazed how much easier it was than I imagined it would be

  6. says

    I bf all 3 kids until about 2 and each time stopping was different but not traumatic. I used the LLL tip of don’t offer don’t refuse. And if they ask then just cut it short. Then I would say okay but for 5 counts. They feel you have not abandoned them and just said no to their favourite thing but they start understanding limits.
    I also used lots of distraction and read more stories at nap time.
    Distraction is wonderful. I also offered food or water first if they asked. Then if they still asked I cut it short.

    It was untraumatic and just seemed to happen naturally they just stopped.

    Good luck

    • Pregnant In Cape Town says

      Thanks so much hun. I am so glad to hear it can be untraumatic. I really appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment and share your experience xx

  7. Stacy says

    First of all, big hugs to you!!!
    Giving up breastfeeding was one of the hardest things for me, which I did when my little one was only 7 months because my supply couldn’t keep up after going back to work and I didn’t have the support I needed to make it work.
    What made it worse was that I knew it was too soon, at least you know that you’ve given her as much as she physically needed. You can be so proud for coming so far :)
    I know how it feels to think that you’re losing that special bond but I can assure you that that bond cannot be broken by stopping breastfeeding. You will always be mommy and she will always need you.
    Being a mom is all about letting go slowly, from the time we give birth!! Would we exchange it for anything and would we do it all over again? HELL YES!! They are so worth every bit of heart break :)
    Sending you much love and strength xx

    • Pregnant In Cape Town says

      Thank you so very much Stacy; for your kindness and sharing your own heartache. I so appreciate it <3

  8. says

    I couldn’t do it. I really did try a lot of times and I just couldn’t do it. Then about one – two months after he turned two, all the day time feeds were dropped. I hadn’t pushed it at all, it was just time. We still have boob to sleep but it is so little now it’s hardly an issue. It used to be a big issue for me, now it’s just a night time comfort.

    • Pregnant In Cape Town says

      Oh Heather, your poor heart! That must have been so difficult to do. I am starting with just day nap, and I am going to express so she can start off with a bottle and still get my milk. I am going to be taking it as slowly as she needs, but for so many reasons it is time for me to start now. I am so glad he has settled into it; I can imagine it must be as much a comfort to you as it is to him. That is something I am feeling sick over, losing that exact closeness. Because I have never been able to get her to drink any other way (even though I have tried repeatedly), this is kind of our only really close time, our alone time. I know there are beautiful and special ways to bond and be close outside of this; literally the best mothers I know couldn’t breastfeed and they have amazing relationships and bonds with their children, I just worry because this was OUR way you know? Anyway, thank you so much for sharing; I always appreciate it <3

  9. says

    Awww doll… Sending you lots of hugs. I know exactly how you feel but I want you to know it does get better. There will always be heart breaking moments in motherhood but sometimes it’s to make us stronger. Weaning was the best option for me and my daughter at 2 and half years! I saw a complete change in her and she started eating so much more. It will be okay, I promise. :) You a wonderful mom.

    • Pregnant In Cape Town says

      Thnk you honey, every single hug is appreciated. I know you did it and how well it went for you both, your story has kind of hovered in my mind and I just desperately hope it goes even close to as well as that xx

  10. Chantel says

    I had to stop breastfeeding at just past 14 weeks old, my milk was slowly going, she wasn’t getting any nourishment from me, I took every pill known to man it wasn’t improving. I cried. I felt like I was letting her down. She knew me as breast, she knew daddy as occasional bottle feed. She wouldn’t take the bottle from me. It was a rough day or 2. But now she’s a normal, moody 16 month old and she’s ok. We ok. Maybe not the same thing you’re going through, but I know how you feeling. I fed her every day til then. Naptime, night time, every day. I missed the bond, the closeness, the everything. So my thoughts are with you. But she will be ok. And one day, you will too. It will break your heart. When Chloe hurts, I hurt. When she cries, I cry. Being a mom is the toughest job in the whole world *hugs*

    • Pregnant In Cape Town says

      Thank you so much for sharing your story Chantel, you made a brave choice for your baby and are an amazing mommy. My heart hurts for the hurt you must have gone through :( Sending you a huge hug. Thank you for your thoughts and the hugs <3

  11. Marli Fourie says

    My baby is 16 months old and I feel exactly the same. I was only able to breastfeed for 4 months, before going back to work. I felt like a bad mother, leaving him in daycare, but I ended up finding the perfect daymother, a real granny. I know he loves her as much as she loves him and he is happy and safe.

    He just had a booboo a few minutes before I read this, and I nearly cried with him.

    Good luck with this week, I trust that you will find other ways to keep that bond growing even deeper.

    • says

      Thank you so much for taking the time to send this message Marli. It means so much to me. You sound like a wonderful mother and I am so glad you found such a special lady to be with your boy when you aren’t able to be. I hope you bubba’s booboo is already forgotten by him (as it usually is in seconds) and your mommy heart heals quickly from it too. Thank you again for your kindness and your support ❤️

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