Reflections on Mommyhood

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The Presence
Time Bomb
Wolf, Wolf
Rough Passage
The Newborn
Garage Sales and Baby
Mom's Conflict
Another Battle
The Transformation
My Child
Vacation with Baby
Busy Baby
The Battle
At Thirteen and Fourteen Months
Books and Puzzles
Christmas 1984
Lookie, Mommy
Toddler Words
A is for Ark
Me, Daniel
Three Little Words
Mommy, It Hurts
Tired Again
Two Little Boys
A Father's Pride
Number Two Son
Oh, God
Too Soon

The Battle

The Battle
A battle is raging
The casualties are two:
My son and I.
The war that is being fought:
Weaning or not.

I have nursed you for almost nine months now.
The special bond between us has been strong.
By nursing I have given you:
A head start on life,
The best milk,

I thought that I would nurse you for a year,
Maybe longer.
But now I am tired.
Nursing takes so much out of me.
I long for the day you are weaned.

But you want me.
You want mommy’s breast.
Every time I sit in the green chair,
You think it’s your turn to nurse.
“Ah, ah, ah,” you say.
Nurse me, mommy.

But you have teeth now.
Four of them.
And you are beginning to experiment.
You back away and look.
You touch me.
“I know what this is,” you smile.
Then you bite me.
On purpose.
You don’t know that it hurts me.
You don’t know that I will yell.
You are experimenting.
But you bite me.

I don’t like being bitten.
It hurts.
It also makes me tense.
I watch you with taut muscles.
When will you try to bite again?
It’s not that often, true.
But I am on guard, ready.
And I don’t enjoy it.

But my milk is good for you.
The closeness is good for you.
You like to nurse.

You are becoming independent in other areas.
Why not in nursing?
You like your juice.
You drink from a bottle, sometimes a cup.

I feel so helpless.
What is best for my son?
What is best for me?

Other mothers nursed for a year.
Some longer.
Others nursed only for a few months.
Why do I feel so guilty for wanting to stop?

Am I being selfish by wanting to quit?
Will I be a quitter?
Why do I concentrate on the quitting,
And not the nine months behind me?
The nine months of nourishment,
Why do I feel like I am failing if I quit?

Why do I feel selfish?
Because I am now tired and hope for strength?
Because I hope to lose weight and cannot now?
Because I am tired of the nursing, the biting,
The constant need to be around?

It has been good.
But is it time to change?
Change to more independence, less demand?
Change into more playing together, less nursing?

Will I feel less resentment for the battle?
Will I be calmer,
Less upset,
Less frustrated?

The battle goes on.
You want to nurse.
I hold you close and give you juice.
You try to bite.
I quit nursing.

Soon there will be no milk.
I’m sorry.
But I hope that we will have more time to play,
More time that is happy.

The battle goes on;
But let there not be casualties.
Let us both be victorious;
At least a stalemate?

Soon you will be weaned.
Copyright 1984 by Judith E. Garling

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