When I fell on the stairs at home and broke my leg a couple of months ago, it was a pretty big shock. It was slightly traumatic, in fact.
Somehow, I sprang into action quite quickly, because I instantly knew it was serious. I knew that the quicker I could have my leg in a cast, the better it would be. But…
…trauma is trauma.
It was traumatic for me (obviously)
When the ’emergency’ part of the day was over, and I did have my leg in a cast, lying in a hospital bed, now knowing it was a little more serious than I thought, the whole thing hit me again.
Every time I closed my eyes I could see myself on the steps again. I could hear the leg making that awful noise, like I had sand inside it. And I could feel that pang in my heart again – the one I felt when I realised that I had actually broken my leg. I had gone 23 long years without breaking a bone – why again? Why?
The extent of my previous experience, aged 13 and having spent the summer alternating between a wheelchair and crutches when my friends were out and about enjoying the hot weather, hit me again.
The sudden feeling of being 13 again and ‘missing out’ on 3 months of summer life and being ready to walk again just in time to go back to school, hit me again.
Those days spent at home in tears trying to learn how to walk again, hit me again.
More than anything, it was that feeling of thinking of myself as being ‘vulnerable’ and ‘weak’ again – why do I break so easily, doing ‘normal’ things that shouldn’t really result in injuries this serious? Why does this seem to happen just to me? Again?!
But this time, it wasn’t just my trauma
My Little Guy, just turned 2 about 10 days before, saw me falling. He didn’t hear me scream or cry, because I didn’t. So I know I didn’t scare him – there was no way he knew how serious it was. After I carried myself (and my leg) down the rest of the steps, he came to me, but with one hand holding my leg, I used the other one to try and keep him away from my leg.
He didn’t like that.
Shortly afterwards his uncle came, and hopefully distracted him and his brothers in the next room from what was going on with me and the 2 paramedics. After that, he knows that I got taken in the ambulance (he did see it and popped in briefly) and went on to spend the day with his brothers and his cousins.
All very good, had it not been for the fact that he had spent the previous 3 weeks with me, day and night, and because we were travelling and stayed in a couple of different places, he found comfort in breastfeeding a bit more often than usual. That would also help him to go to sleep in new places he wasn’t used to sleep in.
So when nap time came, Mamma wasn’t there. His milk wasn’t there.
By the time he was ready for a nap I was still going back and forth between A&E and the X-rays department. My brother-in-law told me there were tears. Many tears. And eventually he cried himself to sleep, holding his hand.
My heart broke a little.
The rejection part
That night was the first night in his life that we were separated. The first night without me. The first night without his milk.
It felt awful for me. But probably not even close to how it felt for him. How would The Husband try and get him to sleep without milk for the first time? How would he settle him in the night? How would HE get any sleep?
Somehow, they found a way.
But my fall was certainly as traumatic for him as it was for me. In a different way, but still traumatic, no doubt.
And whenever he came to visit me in hospital, he wouldn’t come close to me.
He took one look at me, with my leg in a cast, in an unfamiliar place, with unfamiliar people, unfamiliar clothes, and needles, wires and plasters sticking out of my arm.
He didn’t like that.
And so he refused to come to me. For 5 long days.
His dad tried every day. We even tried to bribe him with chocolates one day – “go to Mamma, and she’ll give you a chocolate”. Nope, he didn’t want Mamma.
And my heart broke a little more.
But I understood. I didn’t blame him.
There was a slightly funny side too…
There were also some ‘funny’ moments for me – the first night was ok, but on the second night I started feeling uncomfortable, and I didn’t want to add mastitis and antibiotics to my latest adventure, so I called the nurse and asked for a container, so I could express some milk.
“Are you breastfeeding??! How old is your child?!”
“Ehm.. 2? Don’t worry, I don’t need a bottle”, I said, pre-emptying her next question, “I just need something to collect it in. I’ll throw it away” (Considering all the morphine I had, it probably wouldn’t have been a good idea to keep it anyway, even my child had been a lot younger than that!)
She scoffed and returned with a container that read ‘dentures’.
That container ended up (lid on and everything) on my table. Food came and went, and various people went past my table, but no one questioned the box or took it to the bin. Until the night nurse started her shift for that day and noticed the box on my table.
She looked at me: “Do you wear dentures?!?”
“Oh, no, that’s breast milk. You can throw it”.
I don’t think I can describe in words the expression on her face. You should have been there.
The end of our breastfeeding journey
So that’s how the breastfeeding relationship with The Little Guy ended.
It was traumatic. And a bit sad.
And a bit difficult for me, for him and for The Husband.
But we did it, and the only thing that makes me feel slightly better about it, is that I had planned to start weaning him off anyway. It would have been a slow and still painful process, but this was like taking a plaster off as quickly as possible.
I just didn’t know that the last time I fed him that morning would be our last time, ever.
And that makes me a bit sad.
Did you or your partner breastfeed your child? How did you stop breastfeeding your child? Was it hard for you / them?
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday