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Where I Want to Be

Alexandra Hasselkuss
Paget, Bermuda
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 25 No. 4, 2008, p. 20

My friends are planning an "adults only" trip to Miami, Florida, USA. When several of us were discussing the details, one friend asked who would be looking after our two daughters, Zoe (three years old) and Jasmin (16 months old). My husband joked, "That's not the real question. The real question is will we still be nursing in August?" All eyes turned to me. My response was candid, "I don't know, maybe so, maybe not. It's not really up to me; it's Jasmin's decision." This was followed by an awkward silence (not on my husband's part), then a rapid change in conversation topic. After all, Jasmin will be 20 months old when August comes around. The idea of nursing a toddler of this age is uncomfortable or even inconceivable to many of our friends, including those who are mothers.

I nursed my first daughter until she was 18 months old and I was three months pregnant with my second daughter, so "extended" nursing is not a bizarre idea to me. I even have some regrets when my three-year-old is sick or feeling particularly grouchy that I cannot snuggle her to my breast and provide her with this beautiful gift of comfort. When she proudly points out that I don't nurse her because she is "not a baby any more," I sometimes have to bite my tongue from saying, "But, you could still be nursing if you wanted...." What would my Miami-bound friends think of that?

I have to shake my head and chuckle in amazement at how my priorities have changed. A few years ago I would not have even thought about missing a trip to Miami with friends partying at all the fancy nightclubs. One friend casually suggested that the trip could be a target to "aim for" in terms of weaning Jasmin, as if I needed encouragement to ditch a bad habit or something. For a momentary flash, the thought was appealing. Then my mind brought me back to the images and sensations I will never forget as long as I live. When the rush of my milk comes down and my daughter's eyes roll back and half close in absolute contentment, we are no longer a mother and a baby, we are one being. When she places her hand on my chest or breast and gently massages me while looking into my eyes, words cannot describe what I feel. When she drifts off to sleep and her lips slip off my breast and she frantically mouths at the air until she finds me again, I know it is my place to be with her. And that is how it was with Zoe also.

Perhaps the hot dance clubs and bars will have changed, but Miami will still be there next year or the year after. But these special moments of breastfeeding my daughter likely will not and I would not miss them for the world.

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