By Guest Blogger Kristen Bagwell
This is going to be one of those “we’ve all been there” posts, so please indulge my whining for a few minutes. We’re nearly 4 weeks into this little “new baby” adventure, and I cannot remember the last time I got any reasonable amount of sleep. It’s clearly starting to wear on my nerves. How do I know this for sure?
– The tiny bundle of joy that I could not wait to meet? Cries. Incessantly.
– My darling and precocious daughter? Is a very cute holy terror all of a sudden, as well as annoying most of the time.
– My husband, who was so happy to have his “normal” (aka non-pregnant) wife back? Has given up and now leaves the room when I enter.
– I just realized I have been wearing two different socks for Heaven knows how long.
– The people who want to bring me dinner, meet for coffee, come sit with the baby so I can nap, and so on? They are actually making me feel alternately incompetent or resentful.
What the ___ is wrong with me?
Perhaps it’s because:
– I have not showered in two days. Somehow washing my face and brushing my teeth actually seems to be enough. *Disclaimer – I have had to change my shirt/pants at least three times due to baby-splosions, so it’s not like I am sitting around growing mold. At least, not on my clothes.*
– The theoretical “free time” to nap or exercise has yet to materialize.
– I am feeling enormous resentment for anyone who is sleeping more than 90 minutes in a row.
– I have started counting the number of times my daughter says “Mommy” daily, hoping that someone will offer me $1 for each time so we can buy a nanny.
– I am existing almost solely on whole-food supplement smoothies, deli meat, and candy corn.
I keep thinking back to my younger days, when I only had myself to take care of. Was that life really so empty? Is this what I’ve traded my freedom for – being peed and barfed on 2-3 times daily, and spending an exorbitant amount of time worrying about what the family is going to eat and whether everyone has pooped yet today (and if so, how much)? Somehow, at some point, I chose to give up worrying only about me in order to get pulled 50 different directions at once. What was the draw that pulled me inescapably toward not-owning my own life anymore?
Then we get to 9:05pm. The lucky ones are upstairs in bed, leaving me alone with the screamer. Oddly, we sit together on the couch and suddenly he is not wiggling, and conks out in less than 6 minutes. (Whether I can lay him down by himself is yet to be seen, but at least he is quiet.) The TV is down from volume level 40 to a calmer 25, and I have discovered the HUB channel, which is playing The Wonder Years, soon to be followed by Family Ties, the equivalent of comfort food for my brain. It is calm enough that I could actually eat something substantial (but opt to just take a vitamin), and, faced with sudden quiet time, I try to decide whether to touch up my roots or just veg on the couch. (Why I am not considering sleep makes no sense, but I’m not. Yet.)
In the stillness, I realize: this is the worst of it. Today stunk, but there’s always tomorrow. It may stink too, but it won’t always…at least, this is what people keep telling me. I try to think ahead to Christmas mornings when my daughter and her little brother will run into our room with excitement, and to the two of them practicing sports and watching movies together, and fighting over whose turn it is to choose the dinner spot for Friday night out. When I considered all of those things before getting pregnant, I did not imagine this beginning: the nutty schedule, the crying, the inability to plan more than an hour of my day at a time…and did I mention the crying?
Once I figure out how to remember the big picture in the little moments, I think I’ll be OK. That will be a challenge until I am getting enough sleep to remember when I last ate, much less get perspective. But if this is indeed the worst of it, won’t the best of it be completely worth it?