The end of a journey.

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I never really imagined that I would be the sort of parent that would get sentimental or overly emotional about the end of a particular stage of our journey together. I loved breastfeeding, it was a special time between Bo and I and one that luckily for us always came easily. I never considered getting any of the sentimental breast milk related pendants or keepsakes made…

I always thought that we would just end when we were ready and that would be that. We’d just dust our hands off, give eachother a high five and get on with the next adventure.

And in a way, that’s exactly what happened. Minus the high five… and the ease. Two weeks ago we had a particularly bad night. I was strung out and tired and completely touched out. The last thing I wanted were tiny hands groping me and demanding my body. So when we got up the following morning, I made a spur of the moment, snap decision. Breastfeeding stops now. No more. It wasn’t lovely. We didn’t have a beautiful, gentle last feed. I didn’t sing her to sleep, and she certainly didn’t give it up without a stubborn battle of the wills. The first two days were hell, and I questioned my decision so many times… But every time I wanted to just give in and give her what she wanted (and make her go to sleep) I reminded myself that we had already come this far. These hours… This whole day… Another night. There was a point when I seriously thought it was never going to get any better. And then, it did. All of a sudden Bo started sleeping through the night… for the first time in her life.

And she has done it every night since…

And I don’t know what to do with myself… That’s a total lie. I do know what to do with myself… I work and then I sleep… uninterrupted.

I’m in shock.

My body is in shock. My hormones are going insane. Much like no one tells most mothers how hard breastfeeding can be to get going… No one ever told me that I would sink into a deep pit of depression when I stopped breastfeeding, so I was totally unprepared. This past ten days or so have been the hardest emotionally for me, in many, many years. Harder in lots of ways than when my marriage broke down… It’s been messy. I’ve been teary and my patience has been shot, I’ve been forgetful and a bit daft, I’ve been sensitive and completely emotionally unpredictable. It’s not because of the way I ended breastfeeding, or that I wasn’t ready (which, you know, whatever, maybe I wasn’t, but ). It isn’t that I miss it, because, honestly, I don’t… we had a really good run and I’m happy for it… so happy you might find me sitting on the kitchen floor, crying. All because I just picked up an open bag of pasta, upside down. Or because I can’t find my keys, again.

It’s the hormones, man. They are making me crazy.

These wonderful loved-up, sleepy, happy hormones that my body has been pumping every time I breastfed for almost two years… are now, all of a sudden gone… and I’ve been hanging for a fix.

I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel (I hope). I’m hoping to soon come out of my weird happy-hormone withdrawals and beginning to feel human again.

I don’t regret not getting any sort of crunchy-mama pendant to signify our breastfeeding journey, as lovely as they may be. I don’t really regret that our last feed was about 5am on a Saturday morning, and it wasn’t beautiful or significant in any way. In fact, I was probably swearing like a trucker under my breath after being woken up for the hundredth time that night whilst cursing the sun for already being up. I don’t even miss the closeness of feeding Bo, she’s still on top of me most of the day and I certainly still sleep with her feet in my back, or her hands on my face… still, I can’t help but feel something is missing…

Must be missing those happy-hormones. But don’t worry, I’ve been filling the void… with lots and lots of food.

Please, someone tell me this doesn’t last forever?

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  • February 5, 2014 - 7:22 am

    Emma Galloway - Oh love I remember it well. I still get teared up when I look at a certain photo of Ada (in particular, the first kid is always the hardest) which was taken the last day she breastfed (and she’s now 7 1/2!). Like you it was a snap decision after she went all day without asking, we just kinda made the plunge even though we both weren’t really ready. She was even about the same age as Bo is now.
    The hormones will sort themselves out with time. Maybe help them along with some herbs or supplements in the meantime? Evening Primrose capsules for hormone support, St. John’s Wort tablets for your sadness and overdose on Bach flowers like Rescue remedy to help deal with the shock you are feeling? Sending you lotsa love always xxxReplyCancel

  • February 5, 2014 - 9:24 am

    Lauren - You’ll feel better, I promise you that. My son started sleeping through when I stopped breastfeeding too. All of those sleepless hours upon hours then BAM! The sleep of dreams! I think they suddenly realise they’re not part of your body. I wouldn’t be surprised if you shortly see a far more independent Bo too.ReplyCancel

  • February 5, 2014 - 10:51 am

    miranda - I weaned my first when I was pregnant with my second so my hormones were all over the place anyway. I am still feeding my son so I have no personal insight to offer, but I did find a lot of good info on this post particularly in the comments and have it bookmarked for a re-read when the time comes to wean Otto.

    Good luck, I hope your rollercoaster ride ends soon.ReplyCancel

  • February 5, 2014 - 11:23 am

    Stephanie Mballo - ugh. this brought back so many emotions and so many memories. i wish i would have known more about the hormonal effects of quitting so quickly. i had a similar experience at about a year and a half and just couldn’t go on. it was one of the hardest parts of this parenting journey yet. it took me a few weeks to a month to kind of balance out. hope it gets better soon!ReplyCancel

  • February 5, 2014 - 12:49 pm

    Julie - It took me a few period cycles to sort out the hormones. So I am guessing it will with you as well. But then I gave up as I had to take some toxic medicine. So maybe yours will settle down quicker. Just remember to hydrate your body wellReplyCancel

  • February 5, 2014 - 1:32 pm

    Daniella - I stopped a couple of months ago and was not prepared for the sadness that followed at all. With my first I stopped at 2 and it was a snap decision like you but with my 2nd he stopped at 14 monts and I just wasn’t ready at all. The hormones do calm down but it did take a couple of weeks.ReplyCancel

  • February 8, 2014 - 4:17 pm

    Dida - I think I needed to read this right now. I’m still feeding my 2 year old and it’s wearing me thin, but I’m too scared of the battle that will ensue if I say enough. And I think I’m also scared of how it will make me feel. Thanks for sharing.
    Good luck!
    xx DidaReplyCancel

    • February 8, 2014 - 6:17 pm

      Sash - I know. I really know how you feel. xox Good luck to you when you’re ready!ReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2014 - 5:01 pm

    Breastfeeding in Public | Live, Love, Simple - […] bloggers — Sash from Inked In Colour. I fell in love with the photo when she posted it here and she was gracious enough to allow me to feature it […]ReplyCancel

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