It always happens in the early morning hours: my nine-week-old daughter slips into a fitful slumber only to wake up just as I’m settling in for some much needed sleep. I slide sluggishly out from under the covers, uttering a weighty moan as I stagger to my feet to tend to her. She’s hungry. I go through the motions and make a bottle. I try to feed her.
She doesn’t want the bottle. She wants to be held, but she doesn’t want to be held. She spits her pacifier out after a few seconds. I take her to the medicine ball and bounce with her until she snoozes. I inwardly ridicule myself for bouncing her because “she’ll become dependent on it” and “it’s a hard habit to break.” But I’m just. So. Tired. I lay her down, and the cycle repeats over and over again until she finally hibernates for several hours, and all the while I’m afraid to sleep myself for fear that the beast will wake up roaring all over again.
Never in my life have I felt more like a zombie than I do now. Before she was born, I had an idea of how all this would go, and let me tell you—I would have been appalled if I’d known then what I feel now.
Sometimes I wonder why I don’t feel as enamored by her as I should.
My husband and I struggled for over four years to get pregnant. When I’m on my twenty-something’th hour of no sleep, I find myself wondering why I don’t feel like hovering over her, oohing and ahhing at the adorable faces she makes. I struggle with longing for certain things about life before her. It’s not that I wish I could go back to that life, and I would choose her over any momentary comfort every single time, but when I’m so exhausted my bones hurt, it takes a lot of inward pep-talking to return her cute cooing sounds and be enthusiastic about the “biiiig poopies” she’s been needing to pass. It’s easy to be on cloud nine after a good sleep. When I can’t even remember what day, what time, and what my own name is? Not so much. Which leads me to my next confession.
I feel annoyed when people try to tell me what I’m doing wrong.
Every mom has their own tricks of the trade. Every baby is different. As nice as it would be for these tricks to work on every baby, babies aren’t all formed from the same mold. They’re as different as any adult, yet it seems like people forget they have their own individual personalities. What works for you might not work for me. So as thrilled as I am that your baby sleeps like an angel on a perfect, fluffy little cloud, mine requires more attention and needs more comfort to sleep half as long. If your newborn sleeps well, you got lucky. And I mean it when I say I am happy for you, even if I’m jealous.
I don’t care if I look good.
Gone are the days of getting dressed every day. I’ve worn makeup maybe three times in nine weeks. Spit-up in my hair? Don’t care. But if I take my daughter out in public, you best believe she’s a little fashionista! I used to think I would be the most fashionable mom ever. People would admire how well put together I am. I would never lose my desire to look presentable at all times. But yeah, nope.
Momma just wants a good, stiff drink and a day at the spa.
My daughter is precious in every way. I mean, have you seen her smile? Her many adorable quirks usually make up for the fact that she’s a horrible sleeper, but sometimes I just have to pass her off to my husband and go pamper myself.
But even when I pamper myself, I want to go home and hold my baby.
Sometimes I feel like a horrible mother for wishing the newborn stage would just be over with. These brief weeks should be cherished, right? I often feel like I’m not allowed to feel impatient, or irritated, or like I need to escape after desiring this for so long. But I’m realizing there is no reason to be a martyr and deny that it’s really freaking hard sometimes. I think pretending it’s not hard is probably worse for a person mentally than accepting the truth. So I’m letting myself have a good cry now and then, for Pete’s sake! Once it’s out of my system, holding my baby is the most soothing thing in the world.
At the end of the day though, I can be completely and utterly spent, mumbling about how tired I am, and she’ll smile at me . . . and that is what makes these hard days the best days I’ve ever had.