I Cried the Day I Bought My Plane Ticket for BlogHer...

And I very rarely cry. 

Don't get me wrong. I was excited and am excited about the conference. But buying that ticket a little over a month ago meant that weaning was imminent and certain. 

I Cried the Day I Bought My Plane Ticket for BlogHer... 1My daughter will be two in September. When she entered our world, she turned my life upside down. In one breathless, beautiful moment that I will never forget...she made her grand entrance...and filled our lives with happiness and love unlike any other. I was mesmerized by her - those rosebud lips, that button nose, those deep blue eyes framed by the longest lashes, her gentle and strong spirit. And I was honored to give her the gift of breastfeeding - to sustain her, to provide nourishment and comfort from my own body. If you have experienced it, then certainly you know what a miracle it is.

Pre-baby, I knew I would breastfeed - "for 6 months or a year," I thought to myself. But 6 months rolled into a year and a year turned into a year-and-a-half. And I realized how short this period was...is. I found that nursing a toddler was actually infinitely sweeter than nursing a baby - the way that she would stroke my cheek with her hand, the little nuances of being together.

I didn't blog about weaning while it was happening. It was too personal - there were too many questions, I wavered between feeling "yes, this is the right time" and "will this change things? will she cry? IS this the right time?"

I Cried the Day I Bought My Plane Ticket for BlogHer... 2Now, it's been over a week since she last nursed and it was easier - gentler - sweeter - smoother than I thought it would be. She and I still have this incredible bond. We still share stories and songs at bedtime. She still drifts off to sleep curled up beside me or on my chest. We still go on long walks and draw pictures and "race" each other in the living room. She still runs to me when she's afraid or hesitant. Our connection remains just as strong as ever. Weaning was just one more step in the gradual transformation process. She is a little girl - a compassionate, smart, gorgeous little girl with the sweetest spirit. And I am so proud to be her mommy.

I can't say that being away will be easy now that weaning is complete (I've never left my daughter overnight. In fact, I've never even missed her bedtime...), but I feel better about it now. I know that she and her daddy will have an unbelievably fun time together. I also know that I will be skyping her every night to see her little face and that I will be beyond excited to get on that return flight on Sunday morning. A mama can only take so much "apartness."

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32 comments on “I Cried the Day I Bought My Plane Ticket for BlogHer...”

  1. Aw- I know how hard this must be. You two are just precious. I will pray for a wonderful transition here and I'm sure it will all go just fine while you're away! : ) And, if you both miss it so much, Gray and I took a long break earlier this year when I was very sick in my pregnancy, but were able to start back up again. We've since weaned completely, and still have a bond that is unlike any other.

    Steph

  2. You'll have an amazing time ... I took my first trip away from Benjamin in March - it was hard ... so hard. But I needed a little break and came home refreshed and ready for another year of being a single mom.

    : )

    Have a great time!!!

  3. It is very sad to see the end to nursing. I just went through weening with Madelyn, and I am really missing that connection and bond with her. I hope you have a great time at Blogher, and enjoy being Stephanie while you are gone...and coming home to Mommy~ :)

  4. What a sweet post! I felt the same way when I was weaning each of my girls when they were toddlers. I still have that bond with both of them and it means so much to me as I don't really feel I have a close bond with my mom. It makes me sad. They are 5 and 3 now, and yes I know people probably think I am a little crazy but I just can't do the all nighter's away from them yet.

    I'm hoping BlogHer is on east coast next year so we can make it a family vacation and hubbs comes with us to watch them during the day.

  5. This is so beautiful! I too have never been away from my 15-mo-old girl for bedtime. And weaning is still to come, and I'm dreading it in a way.

    Have a great time at Blogher! One more step in the independence process . . .

  6. You are so brave and so smart. Brave to plan to do wean and then really do it. And smart not to blog about it during the personal experience.

    Of course you will miss your little one so much you will ache (she is so darn cute!). But once you realize that she will be just fine without you, you'll have that much more flexibility.

    Have a great time at Blogher!

  7. I was the same as you, I said I'd breastfeed for the first 6 months. That turned into a year and now we're going on 18 months. We're slowly winding down and it's bittersweet. Like you, I've never left my daughter overnight. Actually, we've never been apart for longer than three hours. I think the weaning for me is part of a larger process of attempting to wean her from me just a little - for her sake. But it is so hard.
    I admire your courage at leaving her for the BlogHer conference. Last year a fellow tennis-loving friend invited me on an all expenses paid trip to Las Vegas for 2 nights, with the added bonus of getting to meet Andre Agassi! My daughter was just over ten months old and, quite aside from the fact that I was still nursing, I turned the trip down because I couldn't stomach the idea of being apart from her for 'so long'! Isn't that silly?!

  8. While I have never had the chance to breastfeed (or thus wean), I can imagine how agonizing it must be to go through that final separation. You described it so beautifully, and though what I know of your mothering style is only what I read from your blog, I can imagine that you handled it in a most peaceful, calm, and soothing way.

    It really is bittersweet: the conflict between holding on to what cleaves them to us and allowing them to go forth and become their own person.

  9. I cried and lit candles and turned what I just knew would be the last time I breastfed Cass into a little bit of a ceremony for the two of us. It sounds terribly geeky but I was just distraught about losing that special time with her. So I know exactly what you're talking about here.

    But you're so right about her and her daddy having a good time while you're away. I'm always surprised when people act all surprised that I'm leaving my (4) little ones with dad for the weekend. I don't get it though. He is so totally capable of caring for all of them. And they get this amazingly fun time that boring old mom would never do. You know, baseball playing marathons, pancakes for dinner (which I would do) followed by ice cream for dessert (which I would not do after pancakes for dinner). Anyway, go and have an amazing time. You got to take care of yourself too!

  10. Thanks for sharing that! I was so sad to leave my one year old for the first time and it was just overnight with grandma and grandpa. But it was tough! Some people thought I was crazy for waiting that long for a "break". But, just like you, I am completely captivated by her and savor every single moment.

    You'll have a great time once the initial departure is over. And coming home again will be such sweet joy. Just remember to enjoy yourself and take time for yourself. You deserve it!

  11. Actually - GOOD NEWS! Weaning is not required! :)

    I have nursed all my children until they self-wean and have attended several leadership and training events for Usborne Books at Home without weaning. I don't know how long this conference is going to be for you, but if it isn't much longer than a few days, many times your child will go right back to nursing when you return.
    There may be a nursing strike when you return, or your toddler might just be really excited to have you back and nurse and nurse and nurse right when you return and then things will go back to your usual routine.
    A gradual "over a long period" weaning usually ends with the mom thinking, "Hmm...I don't think she's nursed for...over a week!" Then sometimes, it gets to be a month and all of a sudden, they are injured and nurse for a little bit. Then it will go for a few more weeks and another trauma will bring them to the breast....and then, one time, when they try it, they'll stop and look up and you and whether they say anything or not, you'll realize they don't remember how to nurse anymore. It's a bittersweet moment.
    So, if you are not ready and she is not ready, there is no reason to wean. You talk about what you'll do when you're away, how she'll get to sleep and all that, but you don't have to add to the trauma of Mama being gone with no more nursing ever.
    If she chooses not to nurse upon your return and you're happy about that, great. But if she wants to nurse and you want to nurse upon your return, there is absolutely NO reason not to.
    And, while you are away, it's good to self-express because at the times she normally would have nursed, you'll get a little full and you don't want to get mastitis.
    Hope that helps!
    Beth York (former LLL Leader)

  12. I know how you feel leaving your daughter overnight. I can count on one hand the nights I have been away from my kids. It's so hard, but sometimes for business, you have to. And I know my husband enjoyed the boys "needing" him. I am sure your husband will have a blast with your daughter. Enjoy your trip and have fun!

  13. When my son weaned, it was a surprise to me. His nursings had dwindled down to once every few nights at bedtime. Then, before I knew it, it had been over a week since he'd last nursed. One day, out of curiosity, I asked him if he was ever going to nurse again. He thought for a moment, then said, "Nah." And that was that!

    Your little sweetheart will be okay, and when you come back, you two will be closer than ever! Have a great trip! :)

  14. It will be super hard, but you will appreciate coming home even more! I feel the same way about my daughter, and left her for an overnight with her grandparents about a month ago. I could not sleep and was so excited to pick her up. The funny thing was when I showed up to get her, she gave me the "oh hi, your here already?" look, no big deal for me not there. I had to laugh about it. Such independence!
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  15. I know that feeling. I'm going back to work full-time next month after being at home for nearly two years. It's very hard; I'm already losing sleep. But, I know it's time, and it's the right thing. Still, I'll cry a lot, I know.

  16. My daughter just turned 3 less than a month ago and I have missed her bedtime a total of 3 times. lol. It's hard letting go.

  17. Oh, so sweet. I know its hard, isnt it? But you will always have a strong bond with her...it will just change. Bonding with a 12 year old, 5'1" boy is better than I ever imagined. And don't worry...I will wipe your tears and drag you to another cocktail party when you get sad. ;)

  18. I'm glad it was smoother than you thought it might be, and I'm glad you were able to share that with your daughter for so long. You both reaped numerous benefits; now your benefits will just be different, but equally sweet. Thanks for sharing! :)

  19. Hiya!! Thank you for coming over to offer congrats on my 5M4M win! I love your blog and have subscribed to the feed.

    I'll be at the People's Party and the newbie party on Thursday night -- I'll keep an eye out for you!

  20. Beautiful...I'm so glad it was smooth...I have no idea when that time will come. There are times when I'm so exhausted at 2 or 3 am and then I remember those sweet moments and I know it's not time yet...

  21. There is always some new challenge just waiting around the corner for us mommies, I suppose it never ends. Have fun at BlogHer.

  22. What a tear jerker! I loved breastfeeding my little ones. It is sad to think that phase of my life is over. It is amazing how fast time goes and I sit here typing this with a heavy heart. New chapters bring more memories and as I close that chapter of my life, I think back to the beautiful bond I have formed with my kiddos just by breastfeeding. I would recommend it to any new mother!!

  23. Aw, Stephanie! What a sweet post. I teared up...

    I hope BlogHer is great. Enjoy the "quiet" time.

    My mom sometimes takes my son overnight, and it's always hard...but it's also nice to have the personal time. To know that I wont be woken up super early in the morning. To know that I don't have to worry about staying up late. And to also know that he is in great care. And of course your daughter will be with someone who will take *great* care of her...so have fun!

  24. What a beautiful post. Weaning is so bittersweet. You know when it's time, and yet you also don't want to let that special role go. You've got a great little girl.

  25. I never thought I would even make it breastfeeding for a year but I did it. No one in my family had ever nursed before but since I knew it would help prevent breast cancer (which my mom passed away from a few years ago) I was determined to do it. And I surprised myself by actually enjoying it and missing it when I was done!

    I haven't been able to leave my 17 month old yet. It's funny because when I was pregnant - I figured I would welcome the vacation from being a mom. But I stil can't get myself to even leave her overnight at the grandparents!

  26. she is so adorable! I'm glad it was a smooth process. My son weaned himself at 16 months and it was just "time". (He never looked back, so to speak!)

    My second baby seems a lot more attached, so I am predicting he will last longer.

    Which is why he is coming with me to Blogher. I hope your room isn't near mine, b/c they sure can scream! :)

  27. She's is such a cutie. My baby girl is 14 months old. I think I mentioned in a previous comment that I weaned her two months ago. We went longer than I ever imagined I could. And it was the most amazing, bonding experience. I was sad to wean but it was time.

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