Roughly 20 months 10 days and 12 hours. That is how long I nursed for, until Clara self weaned. During that time, I learned more about myself and my body than I had in my 30 years of prior existence.
I have had major surgeries, at 22 I had a laminectomy which left me with extensive nerve damage then again at 26, I had a spinal fusion which has repaired my Lumbar spine to the best of its ability. The 8-year struggle against my body left me very weary to trust it, though I was determined to breastfeed.
There is much debate about how to feed a child. The constant repeat of 'Breast is Best' is daunting. I personally do not believe that breast is best, I believe that breast is normal. The 'best' is family specific. Whatever works for your family is best whether it is a mother's milk, donated milk or formula. It matters that a child is fed with love and the family is supported.
In our case, we chose to breastfeed. It was not an easy start, there was so much to learn about this new relationship though I knew with my husbands support, there was really nothing that would stop us. Through mastitis, low supply, societal norms, we really were able to persevere.
I feel during this time I truly reclaimed my body and gained a greater respect for everything that it can do. It was not towards the end that I realized that, to me my 'broken body', had grown, birthed and nourished a child!
I believe that experience makes this pregnancy different in that I learned to trust my body. Clara was late, because she needed some extra time. She nursed into early toddlerhood because she needed it. Currently, Blue is growing on track, passing all of the tests and moving all around, because of my amazing body's ability to do so.
Learning to let go and trust was not an easy road though by doing so, I can now actually enjoy this pregnancy! I am looking forward to what this one will teach me bringing my previous experience into it.