One brave mom is sharing a personal experience that many moms have faced, but few have discussed publicly. Emily Holdaway is shedding light on the emotional journey that goes along with baby-led weaning.
Holdaway is a New Zealand mom who runs the popular blog, Raising Ziggy&Jagger. In a Facebook post, she shared an honest and intimate photo of herself and her 19-month-old son, Ziggy, who was not feeling very well. After unsuccessfully trying to soothe him with her breast, Emily took him into the shower as a last resort attempt to alleviate his pain.
She writes, "This is what misery looks like. When breastfeeding no longer offers the comfort it used to, and you don't know how to take away the pain."
Related: Mom Uses Beautiful Photography to Normalize Extended Breastfeeding
While mothers receive plenty of education and support surrounding the topic of how to start and continue breastfeeding, there is relatively little information on what to do when it's time to end. Little help is available to women who are experiencing the myriad of emotions that go along with the discontinuation of breastfeeding.
Emily's breastfeeding journey was not an easy one. Born with a tongue-tie that went undiagnosed until eight weeks, breastfeeding Ziggy was initially a challenge. In her blog, she honestly and openly shared these challenges, hoping that mamas would feel supported and encouraged in their tough days too. An unexpected surgery for Emily created another bump in the road and she shared that as well. However, mom and baby persevered. Soon Ziggy happily nursed on demand and, by 11 months old, had even learned the sign for milk.
As is often the case, Emily's milk supply began to decrease when she became pregnant with her second child. "As Ziggy grew, weaning was never something that I gave thought to - I was happy to follow his lead and wait until he was ready. I just didn't expect him to be ready this young, and neither was I expecting the amount of emotions that came with it."
Related: Why I Gave Up on My Breastfeeding Dream
Emily has been able to eloquently articulate the feelings that so many women experience during the weaning process- rejection, helplessness, and futility. A story in the Huffington Post confirms that many mothers face this challenging time with little support.
Ziggy self-weaned like a champ--initially through the day and then onto the evening. Emily continued to practice baby-led weaning. "We've done baby-led everything so far," she shared, and that included with her second son, Jagger James.
Emily's post went viral, largely due to an article in POPSUGAR. Sadly, Emily received some backlash for sharing her story so publicly.
"While the negativity can be difficult," Emily said, "I write for the moms who are going through a similar journey. I share my story for those moms who reach out and say thank you for making me feel less alone."
And isn't the brave part? Doesn't it take just as much courage and bravery to say, "You know...this nursing thing is for the birds! It.is.hard!"
In a world where we *know* about the benefits of breastfeeding and attachment parenting and gentle discipline and a million other parenting behaviors that will help us raise mindful and purposed children...some days are JUST HARD and there is comfort in knowing we're not the only ones feeling it. Think of the last time you regretted raising your voice. If honest, you'd probably started off as Mary Poppins, asking someone to please find their shoes. By the seventh time you asked, and the sixth minute past the time you were already supposed to leave so you would only be about ten minutes late, you found yourself in exorcist mode, demanding the flipping shoes be FOUND.
We get it. We know. Us too.
So, we applaud Emily for sharing the good, the bad and the truthful in motherhood. Sometimes, just knowing you're not alone in the world and in your parenting is all you need to remember you CAN do it, Mama, and we're all behind you, no matter what!