Like most ladies with a bun in the oven, I spent a lot of time consulting What To Expect while I was pregnant.
Well, almost three weeks into parenthood, and I think the authors forgot the last chapter.
I think it should be titled, “Shit No One Told You: Everything is Horrible.”
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE this baby. A baby that we struggled to create and deliver safely. And he is already funny, and sweet, and has my nose and his father’s legs.
But it’s 4 a.m. I’ve been up with him for the last 90 minutes, and before that I slept for two hours while Mike was trying to get him to sleep.
And he is sleeping. But he’s doing it on my chest. Because I know as soon as I put him down he’s going to grunt and kick and wake himself (and me and Mike) back up again. Whoever coined the phrase, “sleeping like a baby,” has obviously never shared a room with an infant.
Plus, I have to feed him again in another 90 minutes (breastfeeding never, ever ends!), so I might as well sleep sitting up in a chair. Oh, because laying down and sleeping is impossible. He knows when my head hits the pillow and he likes to make me get right back up again (I told you he was funny).
Sure, people makes jokes about how you’ll never sleep again. I mean, obviously that’s not true — we were all babies once and we pulled it together eventually and went to bed, right?! It’s just not logical for someone to never sleep.
But after three weeks of maybe sleeping two hours at a time? A “good” night is collectively sleeping six hours? Well, you can toss that logic right out the window.
In addition to being totally smitten with his handsome devil, I’ve spent the last 19 days (that’s it?! It feels like an eternity!) in a pit of anxiety-ridden baby blues.
Oh, they glance over the baby blues at your childbirth class, but I assure you that you are unprepared. I think I got a small case, and I still weep once a day. WEEP — not cry, or tear up. I WEEP. Usually when I think about doing this without help every day. Or another mom comes to visit. Aunts, cousins, friends — as soon as they come in the door and ask me how it’s going I turn into Weepasaurus Rex. “This is so hard! No one tells you that,” I weep at them.
And that’s when they tell you they felt the same way. Second guessing everything, over-analyzing every sound and diaper and decision. Weeping uncontrollably. (OMFG, people do this repeatedly? Voluntarily, even?!) Feeling like you’ll never, ever, get to sleep again.
Every question or concern you google has at least two answers that usually contradict each other. Every time I do manage to fall asleep I wake up thinking I’ve somehow smothered the baby (who is always asleep in his bassinet across the room).
I just keep coming back to my old pal logic. Eventually he HAS to sleep. Eventually he WILL eat real food. All of this exhaustion and uncertainty WILL end.
I thank my lucky stars I have a helpful and supportive husband who can work from home while I continue to heal from my c-section, and is willing to sleep in shifts with me. And we have mothers I can call after a sleepless night and long day who will come over and let me nap in between feedings. And I have friends and family who will listen to me cry, and assure me I’m not crazy and this happens to every new mother.
This time is a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things. Word on the street is things will start to look up by 6-12 weeks. While that feels like an eternity to me right now in the middle of the night, my buddy logic reminds me that it isn’t.
And so I try to enjoy it. I try to just look at his sweet little napping face and remember he’ll never be this little again.