I’m in the middle of weaning my baby, which is surprisingly more bitter than sweet. After nine months of growing the little bean inside my womb, and over 12 months of providing nourishment with my body, I’m ready for me to be the sole proprietor of said body.
One would think, if I’m ready to reclaim my body as my own, that weaning the baby would be a joyous occasion – something much anticipated. I certainly thought so. But now that my plan is in action, and we are down to one nursing before bedtime, I am feeling wistful, sad and longing.
The baby doesn’t seem to realize I no longer snuggle up in the big, soft bed shared by my husband and me, pillows propped all around, and quietly nurse each morning. She doesn’t bat an eye when, instead, I pull her from her crib and carry her directly downstairs to the stiff high chair where she eats a nourishing breakfast and drinks milk from a sippy cup while I sit next to her at the table – neither of us touching or snuggling, both of us alone.
She happily babbles through her meal, demonstrates her impressive bubble blowing and spitting capabilities, drops her food on the floor, ignores the fork I am trying to teach her to use, makes her sister and I laugh, and gobbles up whatever food doesn’t meet its demise on the laminate.
While the wistfulness occasionally sends me into thoughts of reversing my plan for weaning, for personal reasons I really do know that this is the right time – and so I trudge forward.
On the same day that I removed the morning nursing, I was in the beginning of a new eating program – not so much a diet; more of a path to healthier eating. Each day for 30 days, I’m supposed to add something new to my diet while keeping all the previous items from the days before. On the day of weaning, my task was to drink eight glasses of water, eat a whole grain breakfast, eat an apple, and say no to a poison.
I was well on my way to completing the first three tasks, but the fourth – saying no to a poison – was discarded as unceremoniously as our morning nursing. Before my baby’s separate-from-me breakfast was over, I had already stealthily eaten three cookies. I always maintained that I wasn’t an emotional eater – until I had kids, that is. One day, after a rough argument with my oldest, I found myself heading straight to the freezer where I shoveled handful after handful of frozen chocolate chips in my mouth. I paused for a second to realize, “Huh. If this isn’t emotional eating, I don’t know what is. I guess I do have that problem. Oh well.” In went another handful of chocolate chips.
Until the day of weaning, the emotional eating was used as a coping mechanism for frustration only – and once I realized I had that problem, I tried to take control and only occasionally make a beeline for the freezer after an argument with my child. But on that day of weaning, as I snuck in three cookies, I realized emotional eating had now become a tool for dealing with sadness and wistfulness as well. I realized this on my first cookie, but that didn’t stop me from consuming cookie #2 and #3, of course.
While I polished off my third cookie, feeling better and worse all at the same time, I glanced at my list of the healthy eating program and noticed that on day eight, I am supposed to start taking five minutes to meditate each day — with the idea that I will eventually uncover the emotional issues I have with food.
I think it’s clear from where my emotional issues with food come. And as my children are a part of me for the rest of eternity, I have a long road ahead of me in terms of emotional eating. And since they refuse to stop growing up and won’t even try to stop becoming more independent, hopefully my upcoming daily five-minute meditation sessions will guide me to a better way to handle their milestones.
Otherwise, watch out waistline – we’ve got Kindergarten coming up in one year.