Her Bad Mother

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Scream

It was all going so well. The crib had been set up and baby moved into the nursery, the husband was home at night and embracing the task of night-time baby monitoring, the Ativan prescription was filled and ensuring that just as soon as baby had last pass at the breast for the evening, I could go right to sleep. And it was working. I was sleeping. It was good. For about four days, it was good.

Too good to last.

I am currently hanging on to my sanity by the barest threads, doing everything in my power to ignore the tightness in my neck and the pain behind my eyes as I listen to the baby FREAK OUT in the other room after 36 hours of only sleeping in 30 minute stretches. The husband is gone on his second night of overnight filming and I'm afraid to take the Ativan while he's gone and for some reason the baby and the girl have both decided that they cannot and will not sleep while he is not in the house and the one is shrieking (teething? sinus pain? WILL TO TERRORIZE ME?) while the other is jumping on her bed and tossing her stuffed animals around her room and the cats are yowling for their dinner and I have not slept since yesterday morning and I AM SLOWLY GOING MAD.

It is taking all of my will to keep from shrieking SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP at all of them. It is taking all of my will.

I have a strong will. I also have a strong bedroom door, and I currently have my back pressed up against it. I'm sitting on the floor, trying to block out the noise, trying to slow my breathing, trying to keep my calm, trying to keep my calm, trying to keep my calm.

I know that this, too, shall pass. I know that at some point - maybe in a few hours, maybe in a few days - I will look at the beautiful faces of my sleeping children and feel that blissed-out, satisfied calm that is one of parenthood's greatest rewards and I will remember this moment - this moment of wanting to scream - only in the abstract.

But it is still this moment, right now, this terrible moment, and all I can do is live through it.

I press a pillow to my face and scream.

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85 Comments:

Anonymous Melanie said...

Uh, is there someone near you who can come over and spell you? This sounds bad. Very bad.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Carmen said...

Hoy shit, Catherine. Call someone, anyone that is within a few minutes and get out of the house. Please.

9:15 PM  
Anonymous Bekka said...

I don't know you personally, but god knows if I were there I'd come over and give you a hug/break. CALL SOMEONE.

9:19 PM  
Blogger mek said...

May your terrible moment pass quickly - and, yes, call for back-up! People who love you will never resent you asking for help when you need it. And, honey, you need it - not because you are weak or bad or anything like that, but because you're a mommy! In the house alone with little ones who aren't sleeping! At the very least, give your girl permission to stay up until she wants to sleep - ply her with hot cocoa and a movie she loves. Quiet and comfort may be better for all than sleep. As for the baby...ugh. Your boy is wonderful and beautiful, but the not sleeping and screaming is hard. For anyone and everyone. Writing is good. Talking to the blogosphere is good. Having a friend come over so you can get some Ativan sleep is, as the commercials say, priceless. Good luck - you'll be in my thoughts tonight.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Susie Q said...

I echo the comments of Melanie and Carmen....you need a break please call someone to help you. I know you would do nothing to hurt your children but not so sure you might not hurt yourself. Wish I could jump in my car and give you a break for awhile....

9:20 PM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

Man, I really wish I lived near you so I could help you out when this stuff goes down. Hang in there. You will be all right, eventually.

9:24 PM  
Blogger zchamu said...

Catherine.. I echo everyone else. CALL SOMEONE. Now. Please.

9:24 PM  
Anonymous HeatherK said...

Wish I could send a postpartum doula (or myself!) over to let you get some sleep. Zoloft worked wonders for me...didn't go down the ativan road. My mw also checked thyroid stuff as that can go wacky pp and cause similar issues. **hugs** one crazy hour at a time and it'll be morning soon.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

the baby's stopped shrieking - am holding him -he just wants to be up? the girl just passed out a minute or two ago (fingers crossed). will go next door to neighbors if things get overwhelming again.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

kinda no-one to call... but i WILL go to neighbors if this gets worse.

9:27 PM  
Blogger Seriously Mama said...

Hang in there, it will get better and you will survive. Just remember to breathe, they will be asleep soon!

9:27 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Sweet heart,

Call someone, anyone okay. This wont last forever but you need some help right now.

I wish I could help.

9:28 PM  
Blogger HollowSquirrel said...

Would it help just to call someone at least even to vent/cry to? I"m so sorry, Catherine. SO sorry. I've been there, and it seems like an eternity. It WILL pass. It's just a (terribly sucky) phase.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Do call anyone you can - friends will NEVER mind getting a call late at night.

If they are both safe in their rooms (i.e. in crib, in bed) then go somewhere where you can't hear them to de-stress and try to relax or meditate (I know, sounds stupid in theory). Sometimes I would just get in the shower and run it - I couldn't hear the crying and it relaxed me. Often when I got out, they were asleep.

(((HUGS)))

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Tory said...

It will pass. It will. But it is SO hard to be in the moment. Sleep deprivation is true torture. I hope Jasper will sleep soon and you can follow. If he doesn't try to get someone to come and watch him so you can -- easier said than done, I'm sure. You will get through this. We're pulling for you!

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Tory said...

It will pass. It will. But it is SO hard to be in the moment. Sleep deprivation is true torture. I hope Jasper will sleep soon and you can follow. If he doesn't try to get someone to come and watch him so you can -- easier said than done, I'm sure. You will get through this. We're pulling for you!

9:33 PM  
Blogger Sugar said...

This is the right time to reach out to a friend for help. No human can handle this alone. I hope you have some respite soon. Call someone soon...

Not that I'm telling you what to do... but just that I know what is going on in your head. I had to have friends over many times when my pilot husband left for five to ten days at a time. It's no fun.

9:39 PM  
Blogger KD @ A Bit Squirrelly said...

I echo the others. Don't be ashamed to ask for help! Hang in there! I know how hard it is to have a non-sleeper. It gets better!!

9:40 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

as long as the kids are in safe spaces, you can go sit outside and take some deep breaths. i've also put the kids in their respective beds and taken a hot shower. sometimes it's all a mom can do.
if you can take them to the neighbor's house, i'm sure they'd be happy to look after them for an hour of so. we've all been there. i'm right there with you most days, truthfully.
motherhood/parenting is overwhelming on a good day. a bad day is sometimes just more than we can handle.
the sleep deprivation will make you KRAYZE. i so wish i could stop over and watch the kids, make you tea, send you to a hotel for the weekend...alone.

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Rock and Roll Mama said...

I'm glad it's calming down...it's not a good feeling, that at the end of your rope one, but it is such a completely normal one. I know you know that, but I want to reiterate it- there's nothing wrong with you, you're just in the trenches and it's really effing hard. You're reaching out and asking for help when you need it, and I'm glad the neighbors are there in a pinch.

I hope the rest of the night stays smooth, that J sleeps, and the girl sleeps, and most of all, that you sleep. Sending internet loves- xoxo

9:41 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Sweet baby Jasper,

Sleep, okay? Cut mommy a break and be a good baby.

9:43 PM  
OpenID marymurtz said...

Call someone, anyone, to help. I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. :(

9:53 PM  
Blogger VHMPrincess said...

Call someone if you can.

Also - go into your room and close the door. Scream YOUR head off. Scream what you want, as loud as your voice can scream it.

Goto the kitchen and get a GLASS. Open the outside trash can. THROW IT IN AS HARD AS you can. The smashing of something so totally helps. Throw several (just please, don't make a mess YOU have to clean up later)...into the trash, but the satisfying crashing of the glass also helps so much.

Go back to your room - throw a monster tantrum. Scream, jump, stomp your feet, cry. After a moment, when you've let out your feelings and calmed, you can go get your babies and you will feel better.

Simply going and sitting has never helped me...I need to scream and throw MY OWN tantrum and break things. That smashing sound is therapeutic for me.

Good luck. And the fact that you recognize where you are, emotionally, is a good thing.

Parenting solo is freaking hard.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Stacy said...

Can you just keep the sleeping Jasper in a sling and sit back in a recliner and doze? He'll be safe against you and you can sleep a little too?
I know this isn't the SAFEST way, so please don't call me out on that.
Hope some rest comes your way soon honey. Wishing I could help you out.

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Sharon said...

You need night help when your husband is not available. Period. Your sanity and your ability to take care of your kids and yourself is riding on that. There are post-partum doulas, night nannies, whatever you want to call them, available. I don't live near you so can't recommend an agency, but there has to be one. They aren't cheap, but there is no $$ that can compensate for what you are going through. GET SOME HELP.

10:02 PM  
Blogger TheFunkyFeline said...

oh sweetie I know that feeling all too well. When you are >< this close to snapping like a dry twig & running around the house with your extra jumbo maternity panties on your head singing Old MacDonald Had A Farm. I'm not sayin it happened or anything...
I know you know this, but this too shall pass. I promise...

10:15 PM  
Blogger Omaha Mama said...

It's okay to doze a little in vicinty of happily t.v. watching children. Baby being held or in a swing or whatever. Kid watching PBS Kids. Mama dozing in and out of slumber. Make them happy however you can. Don't try to follow a routine until you're feeling better. Just do whatever feels right. Sometimes when I'm trying to follow some sort of "norm" I find that's when I freak. Just do what you can to pass the time and get yourself a little rest. You are so right, this too shall pass.

10:16 PM  
Blogger Mommy Melee said...

Good lord, lady.

Is there anyone who can come over once in a while and help you hold down the fort while your husband is out?

My husband is a videographer/editor and spends a lot of time away too. I'm not sure how I'm going to hold up with #2 arriving a few weeks and #1 being 2.5.

My heart goes out to you.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

I've got him in a sling now. He's happy for the moment, having defeated me utterly. fingers crossed he'll doze off.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it helps, I just had my own snapping point where I had to go into my room (slammed the door - very immature, but it felt good at the time) and screamed into my pillow for a couple of minutes while my naked child screamed about "not go bed, Mommy" a couple of rooms away. All because I dared to try to put a 3 princess pull-up on her instead of the one with JUST Cinderella. A 5-star tantrum with kicking and hitting and screaming and thrashing on her part until I couldn't take it anymore.

Parenting can be so very very trying... especially on little sleep (I'm pregnant, and exhausted but can't sleep at night for some reason) so I think I feel some of what you're facing.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Seriously Mama said...

Not sure if this will make you feel any better but I slept in a chair with my daughter for the first 3 months of her life. She wouldn't sleep alone for anything and letting her sleep on my lap gave her easy access to my boobs and gave me a few minutes of sleep here and there. I finally put her in her crib at 4 months old and she wailed and then fell asleep. She still gets up 3 times a night though. There were many times I locked myself in the bathroom in those early days with an infant and toddler and a husband who travels for work 4 days a week. Hang in there, we are all thinking about you!

10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reminds me of when my 2nd was born. She was a very unhappy baby. She had cried all day. Nothing made her settle. I was sooo tired. I felt like I had been up for 2 weeks with her sucking on me. She was in her carseat. I put her in my closet and shut the door. She still screamed--but it was quieter. I sat on my bed. Deep breathing--until I realized that the lights go OUT in the closet when you shut the door!! I felt like I shouldve called Child Protective Services on MYSELF.

I'm thinking of you. And hoping you get sleep soon. Sleep depravation isn't cured by 3 days of 4 hour sleep--it's like a banking account. You lose 8 hours? You have to SLEEP 8 hours. Or you will be waaaay overdrawn.

Blessings, Catherine. To you and yours...

Martie of http://uncontainedchaos.blogspot.com

10:36 PM  
Blogger Meaghan said...

I've never commented before, don't have a blog, I'm just a big fan and faithful reader. I just want to remind you of who you are outside of being a mother, this is not all you are, this feels like all you are right now. You are an incredible writer who has inspired many. You are a powerful woman. More powerful than you know or think right now.
You don't have to be a perfect mother. Just do whatever you can to get through the day/night. Don't listen to the voices in your head saying you're not doing this "right" you're doing your best. If your daughter watches nickelodean until midnight it's not going to hurt her.
Remember your power and you will get through this.

10:49 PM  
Blogger flutter said...

C,

Girl honey. Is there anyone anyone to take them for even a day? For an hour so you can get a massage? Wanna send them to Auntie Flutter?

10:50 PM  
Blogger Nikki said...

Oh my. I remember days like that. I promise, they will pass.

Mine? The boys were 4, 2 and newborn. The baby hadn't been happy in days and the older two had spent the last 6 hours about EVERYTHINGOMGALLCAPSHEGOTMYCARYOUDONTLOVEMECAUSETHECUSHIONISNTSTRAIGHTIWANTDADDYGRANDMAANYONEBUTYOU!!!!!!

I reached my last nerve and just through a fit, right there in front of them in the living room. Threw the couch cushion. Screamed. Kicked my feet. Swung my arms around. Threw my body down on the far. Till I was tired and the frustration had worked itself out.

I stopped, stood up to find the blank stares of my now traumatized children, told them, "that is what yo ulook like when you are acting like fools" and then walked into the bathroom and cried for an hour.

I still have days like that, but good news is they are fewer and farther between! Hang in there mama!

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Sundry said...

I have been there. And it was awful, awful, awful. I hope this passes ASAP.

11:35 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Anyone who can take them for a little while?? Anyone? If I were in Canada I would. Hang in there. You are dealing really well, though. As you say, this, too shall pass. Keep that mantra in your head. It will pass.

11:39 PM  
Blogger Mia said...

I hear and feel your pain. Honestly, I think none of us can say that we haven't had a similar experience...which doesn't make what you're going through any easier. I truly wish that I could help you in some way. We all take turns with our strengths.

One of the most going-to-drive-me-insane-if-it-doesn't-stop-please-make-it-stop noises is a child, especially an infant, crying. Sitting with your back to the door is a great start. Next move...outside or the garage. Somewhere where you can't hear those noises which can easily drive even the most drugged of us mad. 2-20 minutes of silence is bliss. They will survive in that time. You may not.

Call someone. Anyone. A neighbor a sitter...someone. Even if someone is just there with you to witness the insanity and help you laugh about a completely unlaughable situation, call someone. Rent them if you have to.

It will pass. You will be even stronger than before.

Just breath!

11:40 PM  
Blogger Michele said...

When I was alone with my toddler and newborn, I wore my Ipod when it got rough. I could handle visual chaos...red faces contorted with screams, flailing legs and arms, sippy cups flying through the air, but once the soundtrack of my life changed...Ah, peace.

Maybe give it a try?

11:47 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I've been there too ... the ipod and a pillow smooshed over each ear to drown out the wailing (mine and thiers). Just hold on. You can do it. Having bad days doesn't make you a bad mom.

11:53 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I only just started reading your blog, but I'm feeling your pain, honey. This won't help the immediate problem, but I have the number of an EXCELLENT sleep consultant (for the kids, not you). We went through similar issues when our baby was born. All I have to say is that it was the best $200 we ever spent. And SHE DOES PHONE CONSULTATIONS. And unlimited follow ups. Contact me if you want her number.

12:14 AM  
Blogger Momily said...

I have no idea, HBM, if you are like me, but I just couldn't ask for help even though I really needed it. I could accept it once offered, but couldn't ask, so if anyone reading this is close enough to help, please just go help HBM. Get in the car, pick up some decaf and go to her. I often found just having company in the form of another adult in the house kept me from snapping.
And . . . if that fails, are you willing to look into hiring someone? a night doula or something? a part-time someone? a friend of mine found a nice grad student willing to come in to the house for 12 hours/week for a reasonable price (through the wonders of craigslist). it sounds like it's time for something!

apolgies for "assvice" and so on; this post really makes me feel for you having just been there (the daughter is 6 months old now and we've been sleeping "OK" for about 7 weeks). isn't it amazing how after this type of stuff, anything more than an hour feels like a treat?

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Marylin said...

Phew, I could have written that myself at the start of this year. It can and will get better, but like the others have said - it will help you if you can call someone to talk to!

(((huge hugs)))

2:25 AM  
Blogger Loralee Choate said...

This is the part of motherhood that they never show in the fluffy commercials and movies on television.

It is the part that comes into all the happiness I have at being pregnant makes me a little sick with dread because the lack of sleep and crying...OH the crying.

Everyone else has said it better, than I could. Given better advice. Just know I love you, you amazing women. You are stronger than you know. That one thread will hold and if it snaps there a tons of hands to catch you.

2:27 AM  
Blogger Katrina said...

As long as the babies are safe (rooms/crib/etc) get out of ear shot of them. There are definitely times when max is a holy terror and I have to put him in his crib, screaming bloody murder, and go outside on the porch. He can't hurt himself and I let my ears rest.

Please please please get some night help while hubby is away. You HAVE to get night sleep to handle the days, and if you have help at night so you can take you sleep meds, then the whole family will benefit.

How is hubby dealing with this? Is he looking for help for you at night? Men like to "fix things" so let him fix your night problem for you by getting you a helper.

Please don't carry this burden alone. If I could, Id come right up there and help.

2:36 AM  
Anonymous Veronica said...

I know I'm normally a lurker, but I wish I lived close. Just to come and watch them while you take a walk, or have a long bath.

Something. Anything.

3:33 AM  
Blogger ewe are here said...

Is there any way you could hire a couple of college students to take turns spelling you for a handful of hours every day or evening? You'd still be in the house, but you'd be able to get some rest..

Just an idea. I'm really sorry to hear it's going to horribly at the moment.

4:31 AM  
Blogger Assertagirl said...

Sending you my cell number.

6:29 AM  
Blogger Vodka Mom said...

I agree with the calling a neighbor or college student or someone. I went through a somewhat similar experience for a few months after Sassy was born. Hell. it was hell. But it passed. (I had some friends...)

7:01 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

It's so hard to be alone at night with a baby. I hope everything calmed down eventually and you were able to rest.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Bunny said...

I have been there. I do not know what to say that would make you feel nay better, except for you to know that I have been there and been there and been there. It will pass and you will get sleep like a human being again. ANd while you know these things, sometimes it helps to be reminded. You are doing great. Hang in there.

7:36 AM  
Blogger Columbia Thorndale said...

I scream like this at least once a week. Relax your normal. Were all normal. It's not easy

8:06 AM  
OpenID verybadcat said...

Reading this in the am, so telling you to call someone is a moot point. Besides, am of the mind that you would have if you could have, so you probably can't.

So what I say is, hang in there, and why not find some spry teenager to stay with you on nights when hubby is not home? If only to entertain the girl while you deal with the baby?

We love you, HBM. Wishing you sweet dreams.....

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Jen said...

Hang in there - please call someone - sending you love, peace, and understanding. Been where you are. . . now through to the other side and things are good.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Atlanta Mommy said...

HUGS! Nothing I could say could make last night any better. Wish I were in Canada to help. Would gladly take a nighttime shift. Hope all is well now.

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Bella said...

Beyond all the other comments that said it better than I can -- been there, know your pain, etc.

I just wanted to add (since it's the morning after) that you are AWESOME for writing this all down. Writing the crazies itself is such an incredible service to so many new moms who feel alone in this place. So... thank you for that.

And if it's hard to ask for help from friends/acquaintances, I know a night doula in the Toronto area. She saved my sanity with the twins in the first couple of months. She was sweet, gentle, and incredibly supportive of my needs and insecurities. Let me know if you'd like her name/number.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Don Mills Diva said...

Oh Catherine - I am a 30-minute drive away - I WILL come there I swear.

Call me if you are ever in this situation again, promise me you will call. I will be there in a flash...

10:21 AM  
Blogger T with Honey said...

It sounds like you've weathered the moment and made it through. Amazing how screaming into a pillow can help give you just enough of a release to keep that last thread of sanity from snapping, isn't it?

I'm sure it also helped that you have a lot of support pouring in through the comments. And don't be afraid to accept some of those offers of help. It makes the other person feel good knowing they are helping. Think of it as a favor to them. ;-)

10:27 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Bella, you mentioned the night doula in a comment before, but I couldn't find the comment again. I'd love to have her number on hand... thanks so much.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Next time, Kelly, I'll call you. And Amy. XOXOXO

10:53 AM  
Anonymous LAVANDULA said...

catherine its so overwhelming sometimes isn't it?...maybe you can have someone stay over on nights when your beloved is away working?just to help with whatever you need.glad the children finally settled down for you.no onw will think anything bad about you if you call them for help next time this happens hugs to you

11:22 AM  
Blogger Mama V said...

I swear, Catherine, I would drive from Ottawa to come and help if you needed me. We've never met - but i know what you're going through. I know getting help at night is harder than help during the day. What about getting out for a few hours of peace and quiet during the day if you can, too? Even just to go out by yourself, and spend some time reading in the sun at the park - going for a massage, to get your hair done... hang out at the library... just a little sanity for yourself! As for the nights... does HBF know how bad it is? I know that's a terrible question to ask, but sometimes they just don't get it, even thought they think they do. They want to "fix it" but they can't. Is there any way he can alter his work scheudle until you get through the worst of this?
Sending peaceful, positive thoughts your way...

11:27 AM  
Blogger paper napkin said...

I feel so bad for you. Please please find someone to help you through this time. Don't be afraid to impose on people. PLEASE, IMPOSE. Find someone to come over and spot you regularly. You need HELP, and people WILL help you. You will get through this. You will. Hugs to you.

11:31 AM  
Blogger justmylife said...

I know those feelings so well. Talk to someone, anyone and let someone tend to the baby and get some sleep. Sleep does help, but not right away. Hugs to you.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Issas Crazy World said...

Hugs to you Catherine. It's all I can say, and I know it's no help. I hope your husband is coming home tonight.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the feeling you are describing so well. And I felt so alone, and felt like there was no one I could call. I know now that there were so many people I could have called. I wish I lived closer to you. I would come if you needed me. I hope you have a better night.

12:28 PM  
Blogger LD said...

This made me so sad for you.
I'm going through a rough time with my baby and 4 year old, but my husband is at home at night.
I take Ativan too, sometimes, for anxiety. I take 2 tablets and know I'll sleep. But, if I take just one it helps, but I can stay awake and still function, and it helps the anxiety. Could you maybe take a smaller dose if you need to stay awake?
I'm not trying to be preachy because I KNOW this sucks, but sometimes I find when I'm anxious and trying to get the baby to sleep I get tense and she senses it. It helps me to close my eyes and try to relax and that sometimes helps her relax.
I've also totally succumbed to putting her in bed with me to make it through the night.
Hang in there.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Mommato2 said...

Oh sweetie, I so wish I lived down the street so I could come help. Being a Mommy is so exhausting sometimes.

If there is nobody close by that you can call, please please look into hiring a babysitter to come in so you can just you know sleep and breathe.

Hang in there...xoxoxo

12:51 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Mama V - he makes tv commercials, and they've been shooting at night. No way around it. He's home tonight though, and that will be a vast improvement. xo

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't been reading terribly long, so I might have some details wrong; forgive me if I do.

I don't want to say you shouldn't call someone if you feel you are breaking, and I don't want to malign the medical solution, because I know that's valid and often necessary. And I know that when you're against the wall exercises in reframing your reality aren't usually welcome or easy to see, so if you hate it you hate it.

But. I'm at the two-month point with breastfeeding my daughter (after failing utterly with my son) and the best breastfeeding advice I've read (thank you, kellymom.com) has helped not just with breastfeeding but with parenting a teeny tiny one in general: change your expectations.

I know that sounds like it's minimizing what you're going through, but if you really really think about it and believe it and do it, it changes everything.

Expect to have your littlest one on your breast for the vast majority of your day, and all of a sudden the times you are untethered really mean something and stand out.

Expect that he will cry when he's not eating or sleeping, and the happy smiling at you times will do the same. All of a sudden you'll be thinking of him as an easy, "good" baby. Still a baby, but manageable and sweet.

Expect that any activity is going to take three times longer than it should, and that planning to do more than one thing for the day might just be more than everyone in the house can handle.

When you're at a low point, it can seem as though they're doing all this to spite you :) but try reframing it like this (this was my husband's suggestion and has pulled me out of a manufactured baby crisis more than once): he's crying because he loves you and is lost without you. Sounds like you already breastfeed on demand and baby-wear, but sometimes those asses (every family has a few) who are always quick to point out ways you can micro-manage your baby--you know the ones who always say the baby is using you for a pacifier, and maybe you can give the baby a little formula, and why are you carrying the baby around all the time, are you sure you should be eating onions, and oh you're going to spoil the baby--can rub off on you in subtle ways and make you think the baby is somehow manipulating you or pulling you into something you didn't sign up for. And it's so untrue, and not only makes you think you're doing something wrong, but that your baby is, too.

All anybody signed up for here was nestling up and loving each other, and everything else can just go. Away.

Let your baby have your time and, most importantly, your boobs :) without thinking of it as martyring yourself--just settle down into your lizard brain, let yourself be a mammal, and be proud you're giving him what he needs with no strings attached. Everyone else in the house will sense that peace and settle down, too.

Even if you're as high-strung as I am. :)

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

seems like whenever the sht hits the fan around here, it's everything that could go wrong has. everybody's sht is flying, including mine. whoever ever coined the 'terrible two's' did us a huge disservice because the 3's are so much worse than 2's. i hear you and hope you're better and thank you for being so honest about how hard it is and how shtty kids can be.

1:57 PM  
Blogger Lotta said...

Did you ask your pediatrician about the acid reflux? A good home test is to see if he sleeps better in his car seat. Carry him in and see if he can finish out his nap/bedtime better if you leave him in the carseat.

(And screw you people who think this is cruel. They were more smushed up in your belly.)

If that seems to help you really should see if you can some of that magic medicine in a little dropper from your pediatrican.

It's so damn easy to blame ourselves when maybe it's just a physical issue he's having?

2:15 PM  
Blogger Lotta said...

PS - The reasoning behind the car seat is that the acid can't rise back up the pipes as easily if he's upright.

Also if he wants to endlessly sip on your boobs. Even when he's well fed. The milk can soothe the burn of the reflux.

2:16 PM  
Blogger Haley-O said...

Yes, HBM, scream into a pillow, punch that pillow, turn on some loud music and scream and yell and dance all the anger and frustration out. You're not the only one.... This is not abnormal. It's fucking hard.

Things are better for me now that Rascal is 1 and Monkey is 3. Both are more manageable. So, it does get much better. It really does.

4:18 PM  
Blogger mrinz said...

You need another adult in the house when your husband is away. No question. Just do it.

My heart goes out to you.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

Oh C, I know just how you feel. Screaming into the pillow? Done that, really, I have. Then my throat hurts ...

I wish I was close enough to drive over to give you a break. I do.

7:16 PM  
Anonymous supertiff said...

when i read stuff like this, i'm so glad that the internet exists. i mean, we can't take away your terrible moment...and i'm pretty sure 99% of us live too far away to rush over and give you some help...but, you know what? someday there's going to be a new mom who reads this, and feels better. i know this won't help you feel better in this terrible moment, but it's still terribly important.

i hope you can feel the whole internet hugging you, and i hope it helps at least a little.

8:11 PM  
Blogger heather h said...

Another vote for potential reflux. I thought I was losing my mind with my baby's constant crying. While reflux isn't the first thing a mother wants to hear when baby is screaming, it is comforting to know baby will feel better and there will be "normal" moments again in your home.

My reflux-ridden baby does not like the car seat, so don't be surprised if he doesn't feel soothed by long car rides. The car seat test works for some but not others. In fact, she screamed (or nursed) 99% of the day for months until we discovered reflux.

Ask your doctor, if she/he says colic, go to another who is willing to entertain the thought of reflux if baby's symptoms reflect those of reflux. Remember, there is silent reflux which is quite different from reflux you commonly hear about. It seems to take longer in diagnosing. Try again and again until you figure it out with the right pediatrician. There are zillions of reflux boards offering support of tired and emotionally exhausted mothers to each other. Find some, go there, read, and don't feel alone. Whether or not your baby has reflux, posters on reflux boards feel the way you do. You are not alone.

Hang in there. It gets better. You are a wonderful mother. My toddler was weaned from reflux meds at 12 months, and she is reflux-free these days.

At one point I forgot how it felt to smile. You will smile again.

2:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't usually post here but I'm an avid reader of your blog. I want you to set up a date with a baby sitter. Leave your kiddos with someone you trust for a day and possibly a night. Go get a hotel room and sleep. ALL DAY. Just go rest, you will feel so much better.

You're munchkins will survive a day without you. You seem to be falling apart and I hurt for you. You are over whelmed and while I think you should look at getting your hormones tested and possibly put on a mild anti-depressant, I think you need sleep more than anything else.

I've been reading your blog for months now and I don't want to seem harsh but it seems you are coming a big unhinged from stress and big red flags that are saying you might have PPD. I know you'd never hurt your children but frankly I'm worried that you will hurt yourself. Please don't be ashamed to ask for help, it's the best thing I ever did.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Schmutzie said...

You are being featured on Five Star Friday:
http://www.fivestarfriday.com/2008/10/five-star-friday-edition-27.html

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Tabitha (From Single to Married) said...

My heart aches for you. I don't have children (yet) but I remember staying with my niece at a year-old while her parents were out-of-town over night. She was sick and only slept every 30 minutes the entire night. I seem to remember crying with her at some point. I don't know how you do it.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous courtney said...

Oh, honey. :(

I saw your newer post so I know that you're feeling better, but all the same, get someone to watch them for a day for you. Take a break! You need it and you deserve it and the kids will be fine without you. You need it.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Candance said...

I found your blog through Maggie at "Okay Fine, Dammit" and I felt compelled to leave you a comment because I've been right where you are while my ex-husband was in Iraq for a year. It sucks. If you have someone local to help you, ask them to take the kids for a couple of hours so you can get some rest. All three of you will be better for it!

11:24 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

As someone who has never had (and doesn't want) children, I can't empathize very well with your blog, but it's fascinating and educational reading. It gives me insight into what my parallel existence might be like.

9:09 AM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

All I can say is I totally understand, because there are times when The Bun is screaming that I scream along for a second before I break into tears. Hugs, lady, and know that it might not be right away, but it will get better and you will get through this part!

9:20 PM  

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