Two days later - Midnight.
My body is sad. Something in me is dying. I look at my breasts, I touch them, I try to reclaim them. Annie has cried today, several times, wanting to nurse. The sorrow is despair. I don't know how I'll mother without nursing. I hold myself and cry — the tears splash.
I go to her bed and sit next to her as she sleeps. When this is over I will be only me again. Three years nine months of us, my body being us. How will I be when I am alone?
I feel lonely tonight. I will never have this closeness again. This is the closest I'll ever be to another human being. I understand why women have more babies. I understand. The sorrow wells in me. My breasts will be dead now. Used, old. Useless. I want them to be, not as they were before her, not as they have been these last three years, but vital again in some other way. I will only be me. The link is being broken. I am so sad tonight. It's over.
Too much in six weeks. Day care. Her own room. Potty training. Weaning. In two weeks she will be three. Yesterday she sprained her foot and couldn't walk. Today she howled, pre-verbal again, ripped toilet paper to shreds, and crawled across the floor. So much so fast, poor little girl. Have I pushed too much? It's felt right — she's wanted all this — I want to hold her tight and feel her against me. Too soon she'll be gone, and I'll be left wanting, missing. Sad.
Writing this makes me feel drained. Hormones fly, make me shuddery. I want to sleep and sleep and hold my Annie tight forever. I want to honor this sorrow. When this passes, my body and breasts will be my own forever, and Annie and I will have passed through to another phase. I'm so scared. I've loved this so much. I'm so sad. Will she still love me? Will she still need me? The nature of parenthood is to be kept wanting — I believe. So far there has been nothing but fulfillment. When does the pain begin? Does it begin now?
When the milk stops, when my body stops lactation, I will be able to sum up the differences, changes, damages. My body marks time. My child marks time. Parenthood is about understanding time.
On the fifth day I take a bath, give myself a facial, and as the hot water cools I squeeze first one nipple then the other. I taste the beads of yellow milk on my finger tips. They taste like salt, they taste like tears.