I was standing in the shower this week looking down at my body, the veins in my legs, the disappearing tone in my stomach and I had just been critizing my black, tired eyes and spots on my skin. I had to remind myself that this body has been handed over for over 4 years, with pregnancy and breastfeeding and in that moment it dawned on me that it had been over a week from the last time I fed Annie, she had been slowly weaning for a while and it had now ended. Another chapter.Don’t get me wrong I was ready and have been for a while but in that moment it was pretty emotional, the feeling of a chapter ending. 

5 day old Annie having a tea break… Photo by the Amazing Jayne Linsay

I never imagined ever feeding over 3 weeks with Bella, I was armed with all the bottles and sterilisers based on the ones I liked the look of but we kept making it through each day and the days led to weeks, weeks lead to months. I fed Bella to she was 16 months and I was 4 months pregnant.

With Annie the journey was an emotional and bumpy one, I had a little baby that cried many hours of the day and wanted to spend most of the days nursing and along with a toddler demanding a lot of attention I felt totally spent. I heard most days ‘why don’t you just give her a bottle’ but it’s not as easy as that. When a breastfed baby decides she doesn’t want a bottle, she doesn’t want it no matter if you buy every bottle on the market, try every feeding hold, give the baby to someone else to feed… It’s not as simple as ‘just’ giving her a bottle.

I sent this text to Colin… Nailing it with a nursing baby, potty training toddler and dinner to make.

And there I was feeling super guilty that I had a baby that wanted to feed, that many women fought to have a feeding journey and were unable to due to difficulties or lack of support and I wanted to end it to give myself a break. 

 Goodness I love the determination of Annie, I hope that she holds on to it through life and I am so glad now that she was this determined as when I finally accepted that this is the way it needed to be, that I had a little baby that was getting it tough and wanted to be fed by only me things did get easier. I nursed, bounced and held my baby through tough and sore days which now I know were due to a wee issue with her bowel and looking back I’m glad we stuck it out. I am glad I stopped listening to the doctors who told me she was just spoilt and I am so grateful for the nights rocking on the rocking chair in her room and feeding my baby, I have the strongest bond with my girls but there is a special dynamic with Annie due to the really hard days we got through together.

The female species is a funny one, acknowledging something that was so tough and thinking ‘I want to do that again’.

Expect I don’t, I just felt a little lost for my purpose and I just need to find me in this new chapter. Acknowledge that I need to continue to nurture these little people and that will take so much of my physical strength and emotional strength and along with stepping straight back into work and continuing climbing the career ladder I was on in order to hold on to a bit of me (and keep a roof over our heads) I need to acknowledge that I also need to look after myself.

It’s easier said than done but investing in me now and trying to eat better and look after myself in order to keep up the pace with life around me seems like the next chapter I’m stepping into.

I’m not saying I’m going to start running or join a gym as let’s face it even if I made the time (when the girls are in bed and it’s after 8pm) sometimes it just draws down to the mental and physical exhaustion after a long day and also home work out DVDs in the evening aren’t great on the old pelvic floor after 2 children 😳 grey leggings are clearly for ladies who haven’t birthed a child.

After my home and wardrobe detox I feel it’s now over to me. I’ll still be consuming coffee and chocolate but in moderation, I want to invest in my health and feel proud of this body that has been serving us all so well. I am going to stop judging the black eyes and tired skin, my youthful complexion is now reflected in the faces of my girls.

So here’s to 4 years or 51 months of carrying and feeding my babies, to the tears of overbearing love, to the tears of frustration, the tears and not really knowing why there is tears, to the cute rolls that fill me with pride (mine too), the morning sickness and sickness from exhaustion…. To the ultimate blessing of children and being so thankful that I have still a big job in nurturing them. 

As Annie said this morning when she looked down my top ‘Boobies all gone’ yes kid, yes they definitely are!

Anna xx

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