So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

I woke to your little cries and babbles of conversation between you and your small ragged stuffed bunny early that Sunday morning. Pulling my feet to the floor I stretched while in my heart, I knew that this feeding was going to be our last.

Greeted by your toothless grin and flushed cheeks, I pulled you from your crib and sat us down in our rocker together. I held your chunky long body against mine. “You’ve grown so much,” I told you as I struggled to wrap your legs around my body. Your finger gripped mine and I kissed you while the tears streamed down my cheeks and onto yours. “This is it,” my heart murmured and I closed my eyes.

Your interest was quickly lost and you fought latching and already my heart was beginning to crack. I stroked your fine hair and your chubby fingers patted my chest while your attention turned from me to your surroundings and legs kicked, begging me to let you sit up. You were drawn to the shadows on the wall, the hair in my face and the sunlight from your doorway, and you were pulling away from my chest within minutes.

You were weaned.

I couldn’t always be your physical sustenance but my heart will always feed you when you need it most. 

No one tells you that you birth your child twice. Severing the umbilical cord to detach the physical body from another and then metaphorically cutting the cord again when you wean that same baby from the sustenance of your milk. I don’t know if you’re counting but that’s two times that your baby is depending on you for survival and twice you have to sever that tie. Whether it’s several weeks down the road when you make the decision or years later, it happens two very separate times and there is little to no provided support or information to even bring the realization to light that physical and hormonal separation does not end with childbirth.

Weaning has been described in such a way that terrified me to my core. Adjectives include: “alienate, divide, separate, estrange, detach”. I couldn’t help but develop tunnel vision and focus on the word “detach”. Detached is how I felt the moment my child was sliced from my womb after I suffered a seizure during childbirth. Estranged was how I felt when I lost a loved one to suicide. Alienated was the feeling in my gut when someone I once loved told me they didn’t love me anymore. Those words were the furthest thing that I wanted to define the experience of letting my child find contentment in something other than my chest.

At first, I thought I was just sad that our journey was over. Days turned into weeks of sadness and I felt alienated from the self I once knew as a mother. My mind and my body felt estranged from one another. Those horrible words however would not be experienced in my relationship with my newly-weaned son but rather, the relationship between myself and my own body.

In the following weeks, I went through the fiercest transformation I had known since childbirth. My body ached, my leaking breasts were engorged and confused, and my mind was spiraling. The hormonal shift was so powerful and my days began to feel dark and bleak while my happy child guzzled his new milk from his cup. An insurmountable sense of grief loomed over my head while knowing in my heart I had made the best decision for myself and for my child.

Why was I so sad while my child was so content?

The physical symptoms of a hormonal shift coupled with a withdrawal of my daily doses of Oxytocin caused me to feel so ill. I was nauseous and vomiting and had intense migraines. I couldn’t tire my mind but physically found it hard to get out of bed in the morning. My eyes were clouded and my eyelids were heavy. My appetite and desire for providing my own sustenance was beginning to fade as my child’s need for me was.

Just as you weaned from me, I am still weaning from you.

I had such high expectations that my body’s adjustment to go from sustaining two lives down to one should be effortless. While I still had your blood in my veins you no longer had my milk in your plump tummy. You are weaned my child, while my mind is still yearning for the Oxytocin that I once had while nursing you.

We are led to believe that our mind should be able to combat the drastic change in hormones but are told that if we feel “off” to see our doctor during our next annual checkup. We are made to feel that if we as mothers feel anything short of gratitude with a healthy dose of guilt, we are doing it wrong. If we could in fact breastfeed our child but are choosing to stop, we should not be able to voice our symptoms but should go about our days living in the consequences of our selfish choice to end our own breastfeeding journey.

Post-weaning depression is real.

Weaning from your baby is real.

Let’s make the conversation about it real, too.

You may also like:

I Knew What Nursing Could Do For My Baby; I Had No Idea What it Could Do For My Heart

I Didn’t Think It Would Be Like This: Weaning Depression and Anxiety and Why It Often Goes Undiagnosed

My Heart Broke the Night You Weaned

Erica Parachini

Erica is a writer and new mother who found that her expectations of motherhood were unattainable and a far from how motherhood is portrayed. From experiencing infertility, birth trauma, colic and depression her mission is to help all mothers redefine their expectations and find joy in even the hardest of times.

Donating Breastmilk Helped My Heart Heal

In: Baby, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Woman with packaged breastmilk, color photo

Dear grieving mama, You know when you lose a baby everything changes, but your body moves forward like nothing happened. It carried that tiny baby long enough to trigger a complicated hormonal cocktail that causes your milk to come in so that little life can continue to grow outside you. But your baby is separated from you in a way nature never intended. There will be no baby snuggles. There won’t be a sleepy, smiley, milk-drunk face looking up at you. But your body doesn’t know that, so your breasts swell and keep swelling with milk that has nowhere to...

Keep Reading

Colic Can Make a Good Mom Feel Like a Failure

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding crying baby

“Let me try.” A stranger. A complete stranger. I allowed a stranger to hold you. It has been weeks, and you’re still crying every evening around the same time for the same amount of time. The doctor told me it’s just colic and that it’ll pass, but his nonchalant reaction is in utter opposition to how I feel, to how you obviously feel. Colic is devastating. And no matter how many times people tell you the baby is OK . . . when you watch your baby cry that much, you know they can’t be. I tried to take you...

Keep Reading

Motherhood Will Challenge Every Inch of You—but You Are Strong

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mom holding new baby

Dear momma, Although it may not feel like it now, you will become stronger each and every day. Your feelings of hopelessness and sadness will be a distant memory. I promise you will get better, and you will be happy again. It is OK that you don’t know anything, your baby will forgive you. Your feelings of guilt have no merit. You will question everything. Keep asking those questions but trust your gut too. It will lead you in the right direction.  You are doing enough. You are enough.  RELATED: Dear Mom, Your Best Is Enough Do not wish the...

Keep Reading

Going from One to Two Kids Was So Much Harder than I Expected

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Family of four

I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  And boy, DID. I. NOT. KNOW.  But, I really thought I did!  I really thought that waiting until our daughter was three before adding another child would make the transition easy. She will be more independent then, I reasoned. Also, fully potty-trained (HA!), enrolled in school, and interested in some things besides just Mommy. Plus, I’ve done this newborn thing before! How hard could it be? Bless that naive spirit. Because those optimistic expectations sure didn’t match my reality. I was firmly set on breastfeeding. So after our second baby came home, the nightly wakings...

Keep Reading

Just Wait Until You Realize Every Hard Moment Is Worth It

In: Baby, Motherhood
Woman kissing baby

Every new parent has heard it before—all those “just wait until . . .” comments. Just wait until you have to wake up every two hours, then you’ll really know what it means to be tired.  Just wait until your baby cries like mad, then you’ll really know what patience is.  You just wait until you find out what it truly means to be busy, then you’ll laugh at what you used to think of as busy days.  But you know what I say? Yes, the newborn stage can be difficult, but oh, how those precious moments wipe the difficultness away.  See,...

Keep Reading

I Would Relive Every Moment of Sorrow Just To Hold You

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding infant, black-and-white photo

As I sat there rocking my child to sleep, I caught my mind wandering to the past. Not my recent past but my before . . . Before my son was born. Before my stressful pregnancy. Before my positive pregnancy test. Before . . . when I was praying every day for a miracle—six years back. Infertility is a messy journey that few (and many at the same time) are chosen to take. It’s lonely and heartbreaking and dark and will make you hate yourself at times. You feel helplessness and anger and despair. RELATED: This is Infertility Your relationships...

Keep Reading

When a Rainbow Baby Meets Mama

In: Baby, Loss, Motherhood
newborn baby on mother's chest

This week, one year ago, was one of the most difficult weeks of my life. Fast forward to exactly one year later, and here I am cuddling you, my sweet boy. I never truly understood what “rainbow baby” was all about, but I get it now. Sure, I knew what it meant and what it represented. I had read the articles and heard the stories. I had seen the meaningful images and understood the definition. But I never truly and deeply knew what happens when a rainbow baby meets their mama . . . until you. When a rainbow baby...

Keep Reading

How Do You Know it’s Really the Last Baby?

In: Baby, Motherhood
Selfie of pregnant woman standing next to child, color photo

I love being pregnant. I love everything about it. I am, however, one of the lucky ones who has been blessed with stress-free pregnancies. I get the typical morning sickness in the first trimester and the utter exhaustion in the third trimester, but other than that, it’s just pure enjoyment. I know not everyone has that experience, some have horrific pregnancies, but for me they have all been relatively easy. Trust me, I do know how fortunate I am. I’m currently pregnant with my fourth child. The little man is due this summer. From the very beginning when I first...

Keep Reading

It’s Hard on a Mother’s Heart To Watch Her Last Baby Grow Up

In: Baby, Motherhood
Child walking away in grass

My youngest son turned two a few months ago and still has a binky. He actually calls it his “mimi,” and he loves it so much. This morning I  looked at him with a mimi in his mouth and a mimi in his hand before I walked him into daycare and realized something. I am not ready to let go of the baby stage.  Getting rid of the binky would be the last step of the baby stage. He is already in a big boy bed. He doesn’t want to sit in a high chair for meals. He tries to...

Keep Reading

Some Babies Are Held Only in a Mother’s Heart

In: Baby, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Ultrasound of baby

“Whatever may come and whatever may pass, we have faith that our God will bring us to it and through it.” That’s what I wrote in a post after we announced our third pregnancy. It was the first pregnancy we went public with, but it was the third time we had two positive lines on a pregnancy test. You see, we had miscarriage after miscarriage after miscarriage. We went from surprised optimism to guarded yearning and finally stolen joy. The first baby was nothing more than a what-if before that test. It was a surprise to two people who loved...

Keep Reading
Mother Holding Baby

5 Secrets

for New Moms

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Encouragement for the newborn stage