Of the past 8 years, I have been nursing a baby for just under 4 of them. Tonight officially ended my career as a nursing mother.
I don't take these years for granted. I know not every mom gets to write this story. I don't think I'm a better mom than those who didn't get to nurse their babies. I am so abundantly blessed and thankful to have been able to provide for my family in this way. As I nursed Archer tonight, I just told the Lord "thank you" over and over for this immense privilege. This gift of connecting with my babies in this way.
When I was pregnant with Laura Kate, I was so nervous about breastfeeding. More nervous about it than I was labor (yeah, I laugh about that now). I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know how everything would work. I didn't know how to hold a baby and feed her at the same time or what to do if something wasn't going right.
But then, before I knew it, she was here and perfect and so much was intuitive for us and I had great nurses who helped in the hospital, and then it became this thing for me that was as natural to me as breathing. I nursed Laura Kate for 10 months.
When Shepherd was born, nursing was one of the things I looked forward to the most. After he was born, it was like riding a bike. I didn't hesitate or wonder. I just breathed. He didn't love nursing as much as I did, he never has been much of a snuggler with me, but we lasted 10 months, 4 of which I was pregnant with Fischer during.
Fischer's birth was such an ordeal, and nursing him for the first time is something I will never forget. I think we both needed it. He nursed for an hour. It was such an act of healing that the Lord provided for both of us. Fischer loved to nurse, in spite of some wicked reflux and dairy sensitivities. I nursed him for a solid year.
And then my sweet Archer, my little caboose. He wanted to snuggle more than nurse right after he was born. But by the second day, he had the hang of it. I have nursed him the longest of the four of them. 13 full months.
I am so sad to say goodbye to these precious tiny baby years. It's the end of an era. I'm closing the "tiny baby" chapter. Moving from the season of "having babies" to raising them. My greatest dreams in life up till this point had to do with getting married and "having" babies. And they've been had now. The days I looked forward with the greatest of anticipation and excitement are part of my history now, not my future. It's big, and surreal, and hard to wrap my head around.
And yet, my dreams don't just disappear. My dreams are growing and expanding far beyond my wildest expectations. They are walking around, and talking and loving and learning. They are exploring and laughing and journeying. I'm so excited to see what the coming years will hold. To see these tiny humans I birthed sprout their little wings and learn to fly. There are so many adventures to be had, victories to be won, and failures to learn from. I am so glad to walk this road with these incredible, not-so-tiny-anymore people.
So even as I grieve the closing of this chapter, I look forward with great anticipation the coming years. May God continue to pour out His abundant blessing on these babies of mine.