We breastfed through painful contractions which shrank my uterus, my terror and shock from the birth, your discomfort from a long and difficult labour, and my exhaustion from days and nights of no rhythm.
It taught me that you are mine. I am yours.
We breastfed through a late diagnosed tongue-tie, repeated plugged ducts, low milk supply, a hundred efforts to make things right, a score of deadlines which came and went without me being able to bring myself to stop, breastfeed after breastfeed which I left me stressed, worried and confused and supplements of formula.
It taught me to look at you carefully, to trust my instincts when I think something’s wrong, to fight for what is ours. It taught me not to judge others. It taught me to accept help, to take one moment at a time, to rely on God for strength.
We breastfed through frequent night wakings, car cryings, clingy periods and a transatlantic airplane journey.
It taught me to hold you close. It taught me that your wants and needs matter, that I have more to give than I ever imagined I did, that my life is no longer just about me.
We breastfed through to exclusive breastfeeding again.
It taught me to thank God. Over and over.
We finally breastfed enjoyably, naturally, peacefully, hilariously.
It taught me to rejoice in you, to delight in you, to sing a song over your youth and my own. My life today would be unrecognisable to the woman I was even three months ago. Every day you are older, the mother in me grows.
You will be one year old in four days. How we managed to get here, I don’t quite know.