I’ve never been a flashy girl… at least not in the jewelry sense. I have quite a few tattoos, and in my youth, I used my *ahem* assets to get a few drinks, dates and out of more than one ticket (God bless our local police, right?). But then I got older, and I married, giving me a wedding set and new friends who have bestowed charms for my necklace upon me, which I treasure… and my chest and I made a commitment to children… a bond I didn’t understand until the first early morning I spent trying to open my eyes enough to latch my newborn children after each of their births.
Motherhood has been a wild ride for me- like most of my life- and here I am all hands up, let’s do this… I love taking it all in. This ride makes me smile right down to my core. About a year and a half ago, a big door closed for me as my journey with breast milk came to an end with Adelaide, and I stored a 2½ ounce container of my milk away.
Let me explain. Addie and I didn’t have a great breastfeeding relationship. It was bad almost from the beginning. She was tired after such a long labor and didn’t latch well. Then I was so engorged she couldn’t latch. Then all the milk I had came pouring out of the shield we tried. I was heartbroken, but after 6 months, I stopped trying to nurse her ever- we both just ended up frustrated. It wasn’t the bonding experience I’d imagined. So I pumped, exclusively, until she was 18 months. Day and night, I spent hours with my Medela pump.
It’s no secret, I make a lot of milk. I even donated some. But after 18 months, I weaned Addie from breast milk and me from the pump. I actually cried. I missed that pump WHEN WE BROKE UP. You really never know when those last days are going to be.
And the 2½ ounces have been in my freezer ever since.
So then my dear Camille was born. In all her fury to be born (less than 3 hours), she was just as ferocious of an eater. She latched in minutes and stayed there for the duration of her first few days of life… and the [almost] 6 months since. Our breastfeeding relationship is all I ever imagined one would be. She learned eye contact, smiles and touch through breastfeeding. And my heart soars each time she scoots herself to me in the middle of the night. Where Dave got up to feed Addie, he gets to sleep now and really, I do, too! But… I am still in a relationship with my pump. In fact, I hate the darn thing, but it calls my name each morning as I am so incredibly engorged, I could cry (and have). And again before bed, when I am engorged, yet again, because even my vivacious eater, Millie, cannot eat that much milk. So, I pump. And donate everything. I could decrease my supply at this point, but I give milk to a family who adopted and am saving milk for a family with a mama fighting cancer… and I cannot stop just because I loathe the name Medela (which I don’t… I love their products, I just hate pumping).
So… what the hell does this have to do with my favorite jewel? A lot.
I saw a woman who made milk beads locally in Rhode Island, and I needed one. I’ve wanted it for a long time to go on the charm bracelet Dave started for me years ago. It has much of life represented into motherhood with a pink mother and child, and a girl… beads for Addie. So I had this milk saved for such a bead. For Addie.
And then my 30th birthday came. Two years after I saved this milk. Almost 2 years after I’d stopped pumping for Addie.
And my gift was what I’d been hoping for:
But, this milk is from 2014. This is Millie’s milk. This is my bead for sweet Camille Thea. I love this jewel because it symbolizes my relationship with breastfeeding as I’d wanted it to be, always. It’s for my second child, my full immersion into motherhood as a seasoned veteran. I still want to have one made for Addie… but I love that Dave got this jewel made for me with milk I’d pumped while nursing Millie… and it almost makes me laugh, because Millie has never had a drop of pumped milk. Addie was my baba baby, hungrily drinking every chance she could, and Millie is my boobie baby, always wanting her nursies; both girls always craving cuddles, even into toddler years.
Motherhood is such an amazing experience, and while 3 years ago I would have said my favorite piece of jewelry was the family ring bestowed upon me by my mother around the time of my engagement, or the pearls my mother-in-law got me for my wedding, or even my wedding band… these years later, as a mother, it’s this tiny bead, placed on my charm bracelet, reminding me of childhood, newborn love, the superpower of mamas, and most of all, the family I have surrounding me.
There are days I wish I had a million pieces of jewelry to choose from, but really, all a girl needs is that one thing that brings her heart home. For me, my girls are home. I am hoping to get a bead made that encapsulates Addie’s first hair cut was right before her surgery are longing for a place to be kept.
Please share your favorite piece of jewelry with me! What’s one piece you adore? Do you wear it often? Was it passed on to you or given to you as a gift? Did you buy it for yourself? Link-up below, too!