Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The End of an Era

Just yesterday I officially weaned Elliana. She's 14 months. Right around a year old, I knew she was losing interest. So, as a result, I went ahead and let her drop feedings (at the time she still nursed at least seven times a day) letting go as we went. It's taken a few months but it's finally done.

The reason this is monumental for me is that I have been either pregnant or nursing for the last seven years.

Seven years...without a single break.

I got pregnant with Isaac in November 2004 and it's nearly September 2011. So yeah, seven years (minus two months for all you exactos out there).

I don't say that to complain. I really haven't minded it. In fact, I didn't start out with a love for nursing. I did it simply because it was free food for my baby. But the years went on, and the more children we had, the more I loved it. And the more I didn't want to give it up.

And it also turned out that each time I got pregnant again, I was always still nursing and would continue for another few months until the baby had weaned himself. I had a pretty good cycle going...pregnancy, nursing, pregnancy again, wean over time...and the cycle went on like that for yup, seven years. We didn't plan it that way. It just happened.

But now that cycle has been broken. I weaned Elliana and I'm not pregnant again. I knew the time would come. It's not that monumental. And really, there are so many freeing things about weaning.

Yet what I've realized is that a lot of my identity has been wrapped up in pregnancy, nursing and infants for so long now. And although it's wonderful to be done without another impending pregnancy, I do know that I'm nearing the end-the end of my childbearing years.

Lord willing we'll have one more. But after that, the chances of a sixth are pretty slim. If you remember, I've had some major complications. I had a c-section with my first due to him being breech at term. I VBAC'd with my second (so thankful for that!!) and attempted a VBAC with my third and ended up with a ruptured uterus (which only happens 1 % of the time and it's even more rare after a successful VBAC). We're lucky Joshua is alive with no complications. So Elliana was a scheduled c-section.

I've had three c-sections. There's only so much my body can bear. My uterus is already compromised. I'm super thankful I've been able to have four healthy children.

So I'm nearing the end and I've been contemplating this a lot. Have I enjoyed it enough? Have I celebrated the beauty of infancy and the miracle of life enough or have I just wished it over due to fatigue and frustration? How would I do things differently if I were given one more chance to bear another precious gift?

It's just what I've been thinking about. Nothing special. It's just been on my mind.

Yesterday morning though, God gave me a gift. Normally I would've been nursing Elliana while helping boys with uniforms and strapping on ties. But instead, Elle woke up a little earlier than the boys and so she and I sat on the couch with the sunlight spilling through the window and I nursed her for the last time.

I knew it would be the last time. Yet I didn't anticipate that quiet moment with her. And in that moment, I was able to play with her curls, drink her in and hold her close in order to burn the image of her so little into my memory forever.

It was a precious time. It was a gift.

And now, I'm excited to see what God brings in these coming years. It might be the end of an era but it's not the end. There's so much more than these little years. Yet as much as I've wanted them to just be over at times (due to fatigue, frustration, etc...) even more than that, I want to remember them and cherish them.

God has taught me so much about my own selfishness and greed, and how to sacrifice and live joyfully through these years. No job, situation or relationship could have taught me so much.

So I'll remember them as I look forward and thank God that He gave them to me. And as new things come, I'll try and take the biggest lesson with me as I go...relax, and enjoy the ride.


  1. oh, nikki. so eloquently written. i totally know how you feel. thanks for sharing your beautiful feelings friend.

  2. Kate,
    Yes, you would know :). It's nice to hear that someone understands what I'm talking about! And I know you do. Thanks for your encouragement. Love you friend. Give that little Atticus a hug from me and all your girls. Great to hear from you.

  3. Thanks for this Nikki, the perfect thing to read on my first official day of being a stay-at-home mom. It's been bittersweet so I needed this.

  4. Oh Kelly, it will be hard at times, but truthfully, in the end, you won't regret the time you get to pour into that precious little girl. But I do know it's hard. I love hearing from you Kelly. And I hope to meet your daughter and see you again someday-soon! Much love to you.

  5. Ok, that one made me cry a little.

  6. that one made me cry too! especially because i was holding my FOUR year old baby when i read it!

  7. i cried too and i still have a few kiddos (Lord willing) left to go! I want them all to stay babies forever! ;-)

  8. Beautiful. Tears. I am currently nursing my 5 month old and I am reminded to soak in and enjoy this tender closeness I have with him right now...such a short sweet time. Thanks for sharing girl.