Zero Weeks – This Struggle IS Real

I am so proud of this mama, Regan Long, and this movement!  Paid Family Leave is essential for moms and babies, for families all around. I was “fortunate” enough to get some paid leave after I gave birth, via unplanned c-section no less, to our daughter.  My husband deployed within three weeks after the birth; I went back to work after three months, receiving only a percentage of my full time salary during that time.  He was gone for another 5 months.  It would have been IDEAL for us, if I could have stayed home with our daughter, avoided the incredibly hefty bill for daycare, and not have struggled daily to find a balance between being a new mom, a full-time working mom,  and a solo-parent during those 5 months.  Financially, that was not an option.  Every single day I dropped our daughter off at daycare, I had the urge to run back in and take her right back home with me.

I DID appreciate the break from mommy-duty.  I did LOVE going to back to work and sparking up my intellectual brain all over again (nursery rhymes really didn’t cut it for me).  But, even if I didn’t love and enjoy those perks, I had no choice.  And I know that I gave up a lot in going back to work. But again, we didn’t have the luxury of choice in the matter.

We were fortunate that our daughter attended a loving daycare where, I truly believe, she was loved as much during the day as she was with me at home (no kidding, she sort of still runs the show there!).  That did not make it easier, it just made it less painful to accept as a reality. I cringe to think of those parents who don’t even have access to that.  I cringe even more to learn of the moms who do not get nearly as much time off as I did, those that have to return to work as early as 10-weeks postpartum.

I am thrilled to see this movement gain momentum. I hope it continues to grow and gains the attention of those who are in positions to make changes to this policy.

Check the article out here, if you missed the link above:

Extended Breastfeeding

In every scenario I imagined when I knew I was going to be a mother, none of them included me continuing to nurse our daughter past her first birthday. And yet, we are now on the precipice of her 2nd birthday and we are still breastfeeding.  While we are nursing much, much less often these days — morning, evening and sometimes, on a lucky Saturday, in the afternoon too.  There are times when I really relish these quiet moments.  I can smell her hair and hold her little fingers in my hands, and feel her curled up alongside me, almost matching her breathing to my own.  And then there are times when I have to go to the bathroom, or want to do another load of laundry before bed, or GO to bed, or take a shower and even these small moments of breastfeeding sort of feel like they are “in the way.”

So I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately as I really feel ready to wean at the 2 year mark, if she doesn’t do it first on her own.  And I know that I will miss so many of these moments even though I will also be a little relieved as well.  That, I feel, is the definition of ‘bittersweet’ to me.

I know that I will miss these moments.  When I read Amanda Metcalf’s piece, “7 Things You Miss About Breastfeeding When Its Over“, I immediately remembered instances for each of the seven.

Tonight mid-nursing session, which is only about 15-20 minutes in length these days, our little one pops off and said emphatically:

“Mama, mama!”

“Yes?” I replied.

“Hi!” And back down she went.

Yeah, I’ll miss these moments alright!