I feel I need to make amends to those parents before me that I judged in ways that I simply couldn't understand:To my older cousin whom I unfairly judged when she was still breastfeeding her 14 month old son. At the time (and to be fair I was 22) I just thought it was so gross and ridiculous that she let her walking and talking son with teeth treat her like a snack bar (he'd lift up her shirt while she was mid-sentence and start crying for milk). Now that I am a nursing mother myself I realize what a gift it is to be able to nourish a baby, both physically and emotionally, with my milk. If all goes well, I hope to be nursing Libby well after her first birthday.
To my brother and sister-in-law who received all sorts of flack from me for letting their daughter sleep with them until she was about 3 years old. Now, with my own, I see the importance of bed-sharing to foster the nursing relationship, especially as a working mother. I also recognize the benefits for baby...co-sleeping and/or bed-sharing (if done safely) is the natural thing for a mother and baby to do. And for what it's worth, I see my niece, now 8, sleeps just fine on her own, in her own bed, in her own room.
To every parent on a plane or in a store who's had a screaming kid that I gave the side-eye too. I now realize that you know how annoying it is to everyone else that your kid is screaming. But even more, I now know that it's pure torture for you to see your baby in pain (physical and/or emotional) and that his/her crying stirs a biological response that is overwhelming and the last thing you needed was a complete stranger passing judgement on you.
Finally, to my former self...who thought she would never want to be a mother...."how ordinary, how expected!" I am sorry that I almost denied you this wonderful gift...for the promise of a career or not being tied down or whatever it was that I feared might happen if you were to have children. I am glad you waited, until the time was really right for you...when you truly yearned to become a mother. And now that I am, no amount of fame or money or glamour could ever replace how I feel as a mother. It's the most amazing thing in the world. It's truly transformative. And I am so lucky be able to experience its awesomeness.