This post was written by Kimberly as a submission for the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, there is still time to submit your post, see details on the carnival here and here.
Over the weekend, I reacted strongly to a tweet from @fentonslee, who said: ˝for the record, breastfeeding my 12 month old does not make me an extended breastfeeder.˝ The tweet piqued my interest not because I felt that twelve months of breastfeeding did, in fact, constitute some egregious amount of time. In fact, I was struck at how fairly radicalized I had become with regard to the issue of extended breastfeeding. While it was considered cutting-edge in my mother's day to make a bee-line from the hospital nursery to the formula bottle, now the pendulum has swung toward the opposite end – with a (not so) small army of lactivists like @fentonslee, @mamapoekie and others leading the charge by breastfeeding their infants and toddlers well past their first birthday.
But back to me. I am a breastfeeding mother, myself. At the time of Blanka's birth, I thought that 4 months of exclusive breastfeeding would be hard-core enough and afford me a spot among the ranks of breastfeeding superstars - women who took it seriously enough to work through the initial learning curve and become really skilled. Now, my daughter is approaching 6 months and we're *happily* still at it. In the early days, what I most definately did NOT want to be was one of those women who pushed the envelope, breastfeeding a toddler. Now, I look at those women and I salute them because breastfeeding has changed me forever. It forces me to slow down. To close up my laptop and truly enjoy up-close-and-personal time with my daughter, moments that will be gone forever if I don't pay attention. And now that she's a little more mature and engaged with her surrounds (and her surroundings include me), my love of breastfeeding has only grown as has HER love for breastfeeding.
So with that praise, indeed, let me tell you why I won't be there in the trenches with @fentonslee, @mamapoekie and the rest of the lactivists. Very simply, the reason is that I'm 36 years old. And as selfish as it might sound, I have high hopes of continuing to grow my family. Simple biology dictates that at my age, the longer it takes for my fertility to resume post-partum, the less chance there is of that happening. And so, I find myself a person in conflict - dealing with my own declining fertility while dearly wanting to continue feeding my infant daughter food that is nutritionally perfect (and to enjoy that particular connection between breastfeeding mother and child). If I were 26 instead of 36, I would be right there in the trenches. But I'm not. And thus, I must remain just a lactivist sympathizer.
Next to being mom to a baby girl, Kimberly started a project called Fertility Flower that will launch in June 2010. In the meantime, she can be found on <Facebook and on Twitter @fertilityflower