About a month ago, I decided it was time to cut the cord. The day Fable turned nine-months old I suddenly felt the need to remove her from my breast, my body, and my bedroom. The feeling was overwhelming, like an instinct. It was time. Starting then I would slowly wean her, no longer put her to sleep in our bed, yes, even walk away from her from time to time, regardless of her screams of mamamamamamama! to pick her up. I was no longer enjoying being an extension of her. I wanted my body back, my space and perhaps more importantly, wanted her to learn how to sleep alone, entertain herself from time to time, and, yes, become more independent.
A far cry from the way I felt months (even weeks!) earlier when I had a hard time leaving the room without her on my hip. When all I wanted to do was be with her. As close to her as possible without swallowing her whole.
I figured these last few weeks would be difficult and they have been. Fable refuses her crib with flailing hysterics and although her willpower is impressive, I will NOT let her win and so began hours-long, sometimes even all-night bedtime prep that I am proud to say has never ended with Fable sleeping in our bed but continues to frequently end with Fable sleeping in her stroller after long walks around the living room in circles at 2am, and me scolding myself the entire time for allowing her to sleep in our bed in the first place.
“What was I thinking! I’ve created a monster!” I’d repeat, teeth clenched, fists around the stroller bar as I pushed and pushed and rocked and pushed and sang and is she sleeping yet? No? FUUUUUUCCCCCKKKK!!!!
It’s my fault she won’t sleep. It’s my fault she can’t be alone. It’s my fault I can’t leave her side. It’s all she knows. I should have put her in her crib from the beginning. I coulda shoulda woulda…
Last night after rocking Fable for fifteen minutes at the foot of her crib I placed her softly down. She screamed of course, as she always does so I gave her my hand, sang to her. She went on screaming for what felt like hours until she finally stopped. Looked up at me and smiled. And within seconds, passed out, her hands tight around my wrist.
I kept my hand there for a while, afraid that by moving my hand I’d wake her up. Afraid that by moving my hand something would be lost in our separation. I went on singing until her grip loosened and finally let go.
And in that moment I realized that all these months of co-sleeping and baby-wearing and nursing my tits off was so worth it – even now- having to painfully detach from the habits we both formed, because no matter how little sleep I get for the next few weeks, months, even years, I’ll be able to remind Fable, when she’s older and wants nothing to do with me and we’re screaming at each other through the DO NOT DISTURB sign on her bedroom door, that once upon a time she couldn’t let me go.
And neither could I.