I served in the Coast Guard for 15 years. As a paramilitary member, we could be called into service for Canada if needed.
When my eldest was 18 months old, my husband decided that he would try being the stay-at-home parent for a while while I returned to my full-time job at sea as a navigation officer. I had been breastfeeding until I went away to sea, and I had been to La Leche League meetings in St John's, Newfoundland once when I was expecting. Upon my return from a one-month posting, my big 19-month old crawled into my lap, snuggled in and breastfed. After a few days, I asked him if he was actually getting milk. I'll never forget the milkiest, toothiest smile that he gave me. He continued to breastfeed around my month-on, month-off schedule until he was almost 3 years old. I assumed the same would apply with my second son, more so since I was only at sea for 2-week shifts. I was deeply saddened and I still carry guilt when my second stopped breastfeeding entirely at 13 months.
I'm thinking of these experiences as I think of parents who are away from their families right now. I remember. Never forget.
With many thanks to Wendy Jolliffe (LLLC Leader) for her contribution to our country, the organization and for her writing.