Friday, 8 November 2013

The Dangers of Nostalgia

I was putting away the laundry this morning, and I came across my old nursing bras. I stopped nursing my second little girl a couple of months ago, so I really have no use for them anymore. After two babies, the seams are falling apart, the pads are falling out and not all of the fasteners work...they're so ugly, you'd wonder why I would keep them around at all.

The easy answer is, they're comfy, and I'm lazy, and I just didn't get around to it. But the real answer is, maybe I'm reluctant to let them go.

Don't get me wrong: when I think back to those early days, it's not all fond memories of a contented infant suckling at my breast while I stroke her hair with a Mother Teresa-type smile. In fact, with my first baby, nothing could have been further from the truth. In previous posts, I've talked openly about my struggles with nursing the first time around: how my milk didn't come in for ages, how the baby would scream every time I put her near my breast, how rejected and exhausted I felt. How I felt like a failure when I finally ditched the nursing and went to bottles. Even with my second, whom I ended up nursing for 14 months, it wasn't all cuddles and kisses: there were plenty of middle-of-the-night, I-can't-get-her-to-latch screaming fests, plenty of milk-soiled garments and, most of all, plenty of exhaustion from being the sole food source. And yet...

I've had enough experience now to know that I'm entering the "danger zone" of family planning. When your littlest starts walking and talking, you start getting nostalgic for those baby days—and no matter how much you KNOW it's not a good idea, some small part of you starts to wonder, "What if...?" However much I may have resented those newborn days of constant needs and demands, I still remember the simple peace of skin-on-skin, slow breaths, so close to my heart. Even my youngest doesn't want to cuddle that way anymore.

And as much as I complain about how exhausting and frustrating my children are on a daily basis, the simple truth is, they've enriched my life in ways I never would have imagined. So it's hard to say, conclusively, "That's it. No more kids."

But I know, in my heart, that our family is complete. We are the family we want to be, and I'm looking forward to the next stage, beyond diapers and soothers, as they grow up. So I threw those ratty old bras away.

Besides, I could always buy more.

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