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T Ain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do

My thanks to Fats Waller for the title -

As I mentioned earlier, I weaned Cora (sort of accidentally) over
the weekend, and there I was agonizing over my tender boobs and
getting all teary-eyed at that fact that my baby no longer needed
me. And then I realized –

Hey, I could have a margarita right now.

My body has not been my own since August
of 2004 (not that I’m watching the calendar), and I’m
not sure what I’ll do now that the world is my oyster once
again. For the past four plus years, I’ve been pregnant,
nursing, pregnant AND nursing, pregnant again, and nursing again,
which means I’ve learned to turn a blind eye to all those
forbidden wonders – black tea! Brie! Nyquil!

Sure, I’m going to miss those extra three hundred calories a
day I burned while nursing – especially since that’s
about how many calories are in a very small daiquiri. But to be
able to take Benadryl without worrying about whether it’ll
keep Cora up all night? To get hit with a cold and crack open a
blister pak of Sudafed without a second thought? That’s
almost worth the extra calories.

I’ve spent four years taking a horse pill of a prenatal
vitamin, usually not covered by my prescription package, and now
can simply fail to renew it in a few weeks. It’s been so long
since I didn’t have to think about anyone but myself when I
went to put something in my mouth that I’m still checking
everything mentally: how much caffeine do I think is in that
chocolate? When would it hit my breastmilk, and thence Cora?
Midday=good, midnight=bad. Oh, wait, I don’t have to worry
about that any more! My body is my own, and no one else’s!

But in the midst of my happy dance, as I wondered to myself if
Nyquil had come up with any new flavors since I’d last tasted
them or if I’d stick with the classic cherry, I realized that
without another body depending on my body, I actually feel a little
adrift. I’m at a bit of a loss if I don’t have to
constantly put someone else’s physical welfare above my own
as I munch my way through life. I feel a bit – dare I say it
– superfluous. Am I less useful to my kids now that I’m
not physically feeding them, or actually growing them inside my
body? Am I really a little less important if no one but my liver
cares if I down the entire bottle of Bailey’s? In truth, I
got a little blue and went through the post-nursing blues: this
body will never again nourish my child, give her life or health or
antibodies or (just a hint of) chocolate.

But a funny thing’s happened over the past few days: in a
weird way, Cora and I have actually grown closer.

A few weeks ago I blogged about the weight of being NEEDED so much,
and how different that is from being wanted, and I feel like Cora
and I have crossed that line. It’s the difference between how
you think of your feet, and how you think of your car: you depend
on your feet to get you around, but never stand around thinking,
Gee my feet are great. I’m so thankful for them. Even if
you’re injured and off those feet for a while, when you get
back on them you simply grumble, “About time! Can’t
believe I’ve been sitting on my hiney all this time.”
But if your car breaks down and you’re stuck without one for
a week, when you climb back in that automobile you say a little
happy prayer and are all, “Oh, wonderful car, I promise never
to eat in you again if you promise to never break down and leave me

Is this making sense? It’s as if Cora’s stopped looking
at me as an appendage of her own body and is seeing me as a
separate person – and one she really likes. She lies in bed
snuggling with me and looks at me with real affection, smiling and
patting my arm. When she’s tired she grabs her silky and
stalks the house, calling, “Mommy!” just as she did
before. But now it’s a request, a plea, not a demand. Perhaps
this is all in my mind, but tiny bit of distance that’s been
placed between us – the removal of her last demand on my body
– has drawn us together.

Yes, I mourn that phase of my life passing by, quite possibly
forever. I miss being able to do the miraculous- create and sustain
a life. But rejoice in my physical independence, and I celebrate
the new closeness in my relationship with Cora.

I celebrate it with a Mai Tai.


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