I’ve never considered myself a bra-burning feminist, but that’s about to change. I’m going to be so presumptive as to throw myself a party – part celebration, part please-hold-me, I’m-feeling-all-the-feels-about-motherhood. Sounds like a riot, yes?

I’ve been wearing nothing but maternity clothes and nursing bras for 6 1/2 years. People wonder how I’m such a fashion train wreck, but let’s look at my options here. The lycra/cotton/spandex trio and myself have become BFF, but now we need some time apart.

So, I’m throwing myself a Nursing Bra Burning Party – in which all 5 of you, my closest reader friends, are invited. I’ll provide food, a pyrographic display, and 2 or 3 things from my Bottoms Up! pinboard. You simply need to bring something pretty (or sassy, or even practical but with support) in a size 34B.

It just so happens that the process of weening the baby coincides with our family making permanent (well, semi-permanent to people like Michael Scott) decisions about our family size. We’re not just moving through the end of this baby’s infantdom, we’re mourning/celebrating not experiencing night feedings and tiny cries ever again. The next few weeks are kind of a big deal. 

In many cultures, the beginning of womanhood is marked (and I’m secretly plotting a quinceanera party for my girls, but without too much frill). We celebrate the movement from one season of life to the next. In our mothering,  stages get looked over. I’ve been living the first, Baby Prison, marked with naptimes, diaper bags and nursing bras. With the upcoming 1st birthday of the baby, however, we’re slowly transitioning toward childhood.

This fills me with unfathomable glee while simultaneously making me want to cry ugly tears of “I can’t believe this time is over.”

ragged beauty

Photograph via CC – “363/365 – The 365 Toy Project” by Davidd.

My current patch, in its challenges, often has me saying, “Life will look different in 5 years.” Honestly, that “looks different” means I’m dropping children off at school, going to a yoga class, sipping coffee and getting to type lots of words into coherent and even brilliant sentences. So this motto gets me through the tough mornings of  urine scented car seats.

But in 5 years, nursing my littlest to sleep and baby cackles will only be memories, not realities. I won’t be able to pick that up and do it just for the sake of good times. This is it. I can’t bring back this season of life, this span of 6 years, and I need to mark it as significant and holy.

I know several moms who “remember this season of life” and they say that both fondly and with great appreciation that it’s over. Someday I’ll be sharing those words with others.

And when I do, I want to hand her a new bra. I want her to know that the raggedness she feels from Babyhood grows into something beautiful. I want her to know she’s not alone in feeling The Ache while at the same time itching to move toward the next great thing in her mothering.

I need you dear friends. I want to feel the fullness of the moment. I want to be sad with my aching husband and all levels of happiness that the eldest doesn’t need a nap to be human. I want to mark these years of tiny ones with a toast and greet the phase of backpacks and bike rides with a drink at the door – welcome, my friends!

I want to celebrate it all.

I want to wear the badge of well-lived stages of mothering on my chest. It’s called a new bra.

So, good friends, keep your calendar open. You do that for me already, yes? I’m thinking about next weekend, but you never can tell with all my whimsy. You can bring my husband a bag of frozen peas and me a little Secret from Victoria. We will laugh and cry and raise our glasses to the work of parenthood and the joys and pains of growing, or as in our case, deciding not to grow in number, only in love.

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