Milked

The first feed after they are born. When they clamp on to your nipple like tiny crabs resurrected from the sand.

The endless (they end) feeds of the first six weeks, when they grow from minuscule buds into blossoming babies. The bleeding. The cracked nipples. The exquisite pain (it goes). The feeding when they are hungry, when they are tired, when they just want to be close. When you just want to be close.

The night feeds. Suckling milk all through the long night. Gulping, drinking. Growing. The exhaustion: Get off my boob I can not feed you for another second. The deep joy: I could feed you forever. Don’t grow.

The blind hunger of an infant. You can feel their primal urge. Come on! Feed me! Any breast will do! The older baby, looking up at you, catching your eye. Smiling. Trying to chat in their baby way between feeds. Love.

And my 18-month-old, my last baby. He’s weaning. The feeds are dropping rapidly. My body is folding back into itself, finally becoming mine again, its liquids flowing through intricate portals and vessels – easing back to nourishing one body, instead of two.

No more babies to feed. I’m milked.

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