I was never going to be sure when my period came back, but based on everything I had previously read and what all my mom friends and colleagues warned me about, once my menstrual cycles resumed, my milk supply would drop. I was mentally bracing myself at around the six month mark, since my doctor had told me that around six months would be a “normal” time for my period to come back, assuming actively breastfeeding. My friends told me theirs came back between 8-9 months with active nursing/pumping. Well, lucky me, mine didn’t come back until the 10.5 month mark, so it was later than I guessed. But the decrease in supply was not welcome, and as it started plummeting days before my period, I’d figured that was the sign it was back. Seeing my output numbers decrease day after day and the sharp drop in milk output on my day over day graph hurt. I’d spent the last 10.5 months exclusively pumping. The first 2 months were the greatest struggle. The next four months, I saw my maximum output and was so proud of what I’d achieved after the slow and miserable start. And to see all of that hard work starting to get chipped away with a decrease in output just felt so sad to me. Academically and logically, I knew pumping would be an emotional journey, but I would’ve never imagined at the beginning how much I could tie my self worth as a mother to my milk output. And to see the numbers decrease the way they have in the last two weeks just felt miserable. Even if Kaia is drinking less milk now, it still made me sad. It’s work I did solely to provide sustenance for her and no one else. I saw it as my duty as her mother to do this, to nourish her for as long as I physically could.
One day, I’ll look back on this journey and be grateful and extremely proud of what I’ve done, despite how grueling and miserable at times it was. Even now when it’s “easy” because I have my routine down pat and know what I am doing, it’s still annoying to be tied up to an electric nipple sucker for 4 hours each day. Each day of this journey, I have been grateful for my body. I hope one day, when Kaia is old enough, I can share this with her, and maybe, just maybe she will appreciate all the time I sacrificed, attempting to give her the very best.