Learning Regret

Picture the scene: In the full darkness of the middle of the night, a hot, sweaty, tear-stained Thomas is in the middle of our king sized bed, searching. He’s systematically peeling back the edges of the duvet, reaching for the straps of my vest top first on one shoulder then, as my hand gently dissuades him, the other. Foiled again, he shuffles down the bed, feeling for the bottom edge of my clothing, trying with all of his might to push it up over my stomach.

His wails are enough to wake the street, never mind the neighbours.

And in that moment, in the middle of our unmade bed, I feel simply awful. Somehow, despite all my best efforts, I’d ended up here, in the middle of the night, denying my son his biggest comfort whilst he was unwell.

What Thomas was searching for was my breasts.

And when his eyes sought out my face in the darkness and locked on to my own, when he cocked his head slightly to the side and whispered

“No boobies?”

I thought my heart might break.

Because now that we’ve not fed in over a month, there is no going back. But Thomas doesn’t, or didn’t, understand that.

Breastfeeding was never, ever about me. I didn’t start out feeding Thomas for myself, and I certainly didn’t carry on for twenty months to satisfy myself. I’d be lying, though, if I said there hadn’t been times in the last six weeks that I haven’t missed the closeness and routine of our feeding. The milk-drunk look that washed over a tired Thomas’s face. The warmth and weight of his body across mine. But I was happy to know that feeding had ended on his schedule and he was content.

Until that night, this week, when he couldn’t have been further from content. If I’d thought he’d already begun to forget about my boobs, I was very, very wrong.

No, I’ve been left with the distinct feeling that what the weaning process has taught Thomas is what regret feels like. Because I’m in no doubt that he’d go back if he could.

It’s been a tough week.

Mummy and Thomas


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