My girl, how is it that my heart is so full I feel I could write 1,000 love letters to you, and yet I don’t know where to begin? I’m sitting here in my pajamas well past noon, and you’re finally asleep, lying on your back in the middle of my bed with both arms extended above your head. I love it when you sleep like this—totally vulnerable and content.
I see all that dark, wispy hair and those perfect dimples and rolls, and it occurs to me that every cell of your little body has been grown and nourished by the life-giving power of my own. Every new milestone and visible sign of change is bittersweet. For, every minute spent nursing you and helping you grow is also a minute spent making you more independent of me.
I’m giving you both roots to grow and wings to fly, so the saying goes.
I’ll never regret giving you the very best of me: those early days of trying over and over again to get a good latch with your little newborn cries becoming increasingly distressed, the multiple wakings a night where I pull you close and feed you back to sleep, never leaving you with anyone else for more than a couple of hours because you’re not a fan of bottles. All of it belongs, and this is part of what makes our story—the human story—a beautiful one.
One day, not far from now, you’ll nurse for your final time. And it may be the last time I ever breastfeed a child. I can’t type those words without crying.
Feeding you is not just a mechanical, evolutionary response. It’s a spiritual pouring forth of life. This is one of the most sacred times you and I will ever share, and I want to be as present as I can be. All too soon it will be over, and I’ll be trying to recall dusty, faded memories.
Memories of you relaxing into me, your little fists softening into open hands as you drink and fall off to sleep. Memories of you pausing to unlatch and smile your big gummy grin up at me.
Breastfeeding has brought me a deeper understanding of myself and of humanity as a whole. It’s a beautiful picture of connection and of giving of ourselves to help the helpless.
I pour forth into you, and one day you will pour forth into others.
This is life, my girl. Welcome to this big, beautiful world.
My love forever,
Samantha Levang is a contributor at This West Coast Mommy, specializing in cloth diaper and baby item reviews. She lives in Washington state with her husband, toddler son, Brooks, and new baby girl, Riley. Between diaper changes and loads of laundry, she enjoys landscape photography and the never-ending process of home decorating.