Last week I was reading yet another Huffington Post article that made its way to my Facebook feed. The twins were eating their afternoon snack and keeping each other company while I sat on the floor with my back against the wall, worn out from a long day with two toddlers.
And in the middle of reading an innocent post on breastfeeding, I started crying. Not the watery eyes cry, which has become a trademark of mine, but a sobbing mess on the floor. Jude and Sloane stopped eating their blueberries and looked at me with wide eyes. They'd never seen their mom cry like this. It was in that moment I realized...
I stopped too soon.
I wasn't ready to stop nursing when I did. I knew it then but I pushed the thought away.
When you're pregnant, the breastfeeding questions begin. When you're pregnant with twins, the questions change from "Will you" to "How will you." I never minded the questions and instead used them to fuel my desire to breastfeed. I was blessed, so blessed, to nurse my babies for 15 months. We had the common issues in the beginning but what I once considered excruciating work became second nature.
What I find so strange about nursing is you receive encouragement and praise from everyone...until your babies turn one. Suddenly, what was so incredible becomes weird. It's gross. It's unnecessary and now I've made you uncomfortable. I saw every raised eyebrow. I recognized every side-glance. I felt every pause. And little by little, it broke me. The girl who didn't have an issue nursing in public suddenly started hiding again.
I constantly made excuses as to why I was still nursing. (Why did I feel an excuse was necessary?) I told people I would stop by a certain date and when that date passed and I continued to nurse, I felt guilty. And in typical fashion, I poked fun at myself for still breastfeeding. I made a joke out of the sweetest gift I have ever been given.
Let me make something clear: I am not blaming anyone but myself. I am the one who messed up. I know Jude and Sloane are perfectly fine drinking whole milk out of sippy cups, but I failed as a mom because I let others' thoughts override my own. Because their shame became my shame. And I want to make it clear to myself (and to my kids if they ever read their mom's blog) that I will never let that happen again.