From the Trenches

Sometimes, I wish I could just rewind and go back to being pregnant. I miss the anticipation of motherhood. I miss my misguided idea of what it would be like.

I can’t believe I’m saying that I’d like to be pregnant again because we all know that I was not pregnancy’s biggest fan, but man… those were simpler days. When I think back to my last 10 weeks or so, it feels more like a warm blanket. I wish I had appreciated those days more because these days just feel like a cold bucket of ice water.

Don’t get me wrong. I love our baby. I love her more than I ever believed it was possible to love another human being. She fills a space in my soul that I didn’t even know was there. When she is happy and cuddled up against me, I feel like the best version of myself. I was meant to be her mother and she was meant to be my baby.

But motherhood? It’s hard. It’s making marriage hard, too. Hell, it’s making life hard. I’m a terrible employee. I’m a terrible mom to our dogs. I’m a terrible wife. I’m a horrible homeowner. All so I can be a mom who is barely getting by on a wing and a prayer.

I’m grateful that Charlotte won’t remember these days. I’m grateful that she won’t remember the night that I lost my cool when she started to cry as I was trying for the millionth time to put her down to sleep. I’m grateful she won’t remember me sobbing in the car on the way to Christmas Eve dinner. I’m grateful that the pictures from her first Christmas show a normal happy family instead of overtired, stressed moms who are walking on eggshells and a baby who is teething and refuses to sleep.

I’m glad that I couldn’t imagine this. I wouldn’t have wanted it if I could have imagined what it would really be like, and I would have missed out on the most amazing thing ever just to avoid some hard times.

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35 thoughts on “From the Trenches

  1. I hear you. Part of what I’m dreading about being a foster parent is learning all the ways that I fall short and that we fall short as a couple. I like my delusions. 🙂

    • It’s crazy how little ones seem to highlight all of our inadequacies. I swear this kid can read me like a book… actually, that’s a bad analogy because she can’t read books yet. You know what I mean though! You’re going to make a great foster mom!

  2. It is so hard. I read this and felt compelled to tell you to, if possible, be kind kind kind to yourself! It’s hard and sleep deprivation is shitty enough as is… I swear my brain plays tricks on me, and I go harder on myself the less sleep I get. Sleeplessness has a way of making everything seem worse: the world through a gray prism. But it will get better! I mean, small comfort, I know. We’re going through some similar stuff, with our second, and I’m reminding myself that we found our groove again with our oldest and will this time, too. It’s easier to be compassionate towards yourself when you’re pregnant, right? But after you have the baby you’re all like, I have to do/be everything and why am I not loving this every second omgggh (ha, that would be my own internal voice). Just, yeah, it’s the trenches. Treats are required. Self care is magic. When you can. Xo.

    • The self care is what I’ve been lacking lately. I think the occasional 30 minutes alone to read a book or pick up my knitting would work wonders.That and maybe a date night.

  3. I can relate to this post times two, times three pretty soon. Becoming a new parent is one of the hardest transitions we can go through. I learned the hard way to take it easy on myself. I’m a very controlled person so everything being in temporary shambles brought me to tears multiple times. Not being able to control the moods and changes an infant goes through is hard on a new mom. It gets fun, like really soon. Once Charlotte gets in the hang of things and you do too things will settle down. Just take time for yourself, treasure all of these moments too because it really does fly. I’m looking at Shawn in tears sometimes because he’s so independent and it’s happened way to fast. It’s also super funny when you say she’s going through these little stages of being difficult because she’s always soooooo happy in all of her pictures. I’ve labeled her the happy baby already, and here you are all sleep exhausted. Lol good for you, you all always look happy and amazing in the pictures. She’ll never remember anything otherwise:)

    • Honestly, she really is a happy baby. Teething has been an exception, but even when she’s grouchy it’s usually pretty easy to make her happy again. I hear stories about babies who cry for hours, and she has never ever done that. I think there have been a few occasions where she’s cried for longer than 15 minutes, but I could probably count them on one hand. Her overall happy demeanor is how I make myself feel better about her refusal to sleep!

  4. I know exactly what you’re saying. I literally could have written this post. It is SO much harder than I would have imagined. I know for myself, I idealised how everything would be. I thought that the baby woke up, was happy, had a bottle, played for a bit then calmly went back to sleep. No one bothered to explain to me that it didn’t quite go that way! That some days they will cry for hours for no reason. That some days they won’t want to sleep unless you’re there or holding them so you can’t get anything done. And sometimes when they do eventually drift off to sleep, they may only stay that way for 15 minutes before you have to occupy them for another three hours.
    It’s emotionally and physically exhausting. You don’t get a break unless someone helps you out. And that was a big factor of mine, before I was a mum, I LOVED alone time. I would literally have 4-5 hours of alone time a day. I would read or go on YouTube or watch a movie or two. Now, I’m lucky to finish a book in two to three weeks and that’s only because I’m sacrificing sleep once she has fallen asleep of a night.
    It is hard work, but people have told me it does get better. Eventually they will not require so much full on attention. You will be able to cook dinner with two hands! Hang in there mama! The day will come for both of us!

  5. I hear you fully. This mother gig is hard stuff! The one thing is that you forget how hard it is and do it all again sometimes. When you are in the trenches though it is hard to think how it will all get better and that this is temporary. I KNOW that people mean well when they tell you that but I want to yell at someone every time some one says to me that it will get better. I want to say WHEN I am running out of sanity.

  6. There really is no way to impart the knowledge of the amazing things about parenthood (amazing good, amazing hard, amazing bad, amazing wondrous, etc). There is no way I could have comprehended the desperation I would feel to get Darwin to sleep some nights. And suddenly I understand the reality of the ‘go the eff to sleep’ book…funny. ha. Not really.

  7. Oh honey bunny. It’s okay to have these feelings. Nobody really likes their job aaaaall the time – and motherhood is the most demanding job of all…literally just 24/7…forever.
    And coming from an ivf starting point, feeling like we should always be so grateful? That’s hard. I have told Jude: I love you and I know how much I wanted you, but for f*cks sake GO TO SLEEP! And then you get to experience the deep joy of guilt to go along with everything else!
    I don’t want to play down your feelings as if they are common or normal or just shout “me too!” because I know it takes a big decision to share the sometimes crappy reality versus the much hyped expectations. Just…you know, if you need help, it’s out there. And it exists because many other Mums have needed help before and will do so in the future.
    Oh man I care so much about you guys I just wanna give you a big hug and move in next door. Xxx

  8. I remember being in the trenches! It sucks really bad, I feel ya.
    It’s a balancing act of figuring out what to let go of, what to hold on tighter to, and what needs to change, you’ll get there eventually 🙂

  9. We’ve all been there. Multiple times. I miss my days of freedom, my days of being a perfect parent (before I became one!) and the full nights of sleep.

    The love for and from our kids makes it all
    Worth it but good god motherhood should come with a free kid-free vacation biannually.

  10. I’m sorry things are so rough right now. I feel you hard on some of this. We’ve had our sleep struggles, and keeping the house clean is a constant struggle for me, especially right now when I’m trying to sew in my dining room until chief finishes getting the craft room set up. And if I don’t do laundry every day it all goes to hell. Guess what-haven’t done laundry in almost a week. Charlie has been living in Christmas present clothes lol.

    On the topic of sleep, please message me if you need to talk it out. You know we’ve recently started having better nights (although she’s still night waking). I haven’t nursed her to sleep in over a week now.

    • Thank goodness for Christmas present clothes! I totally feel you on the laundry. Catch did laundry all day on Sunday and it feels like she barely put a dent in it. It’s like it procreates. Sleep has improved slightly. She’s back to giving us a longer initial stretch before the hourly nonsense starts, which is nice. A huge part of her sleep issues has been teething pain. She was miserable last night. I feel so bad! Teething is absolutely the worst.

  11. It’s nice to hear we’re not alone! Hang in there. It gets easier after the first year is complete. It gets easier when they start to communicate better. Other things get harder, but you’ll become more and more confident. Xx

  12. I hear you. I have felt desperate and confused and even sometimes a bit regretful in the kart six weeks. This is hard. When I look at Gia smile it’s all worthwhile. True that the anticipation of pregnancy is very naive though.

  13. Although I feel terrible for y’all, this post made me inappropriately happy because finally someone put into words what I’ve been feeling for a few months now. I’m so sorry that you are struggling with this, but also so glad it’s not just me. If someone had told pregnant me that I would have an 8 month old that doesn’t even come close to sleeping through the night and in fact sleeps in bed with us most nights, I would have never believed them. The other “night” (the one hour before wakings start), I actually sat on my computer looking longingly at pictures of me pregnant. And I’m with you in hoping that our Christmas morning photos don’t show that we’d been up all night fighting over what to do with a baby that just. won’t. sleep. Thanks for posting.

  14. Um… FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, YES. Chick is my favorite thing in the whole world, and yet there are times I get wistful for pregnancy. This is funny because I didn’t LOVE pregnancy. I’m not so nostalgic that I forget all the discomfort, constipation, and dashes of fear that came along with it. To your point, I think I miss the anticipation of pregnancy. Now I’m *in it* all the time, every day. Swimming, occasionally drowning…

    I sorta think anyone who tells you parenting is the most magical, dandiest thing on the planet clearly has never been a parent. Or they have a full-time, around the clock nanny. Or they are deranged.

  15. Friend, all of this!!!! Parenthood is hard, and I especially noticed the strain on our relationship. If there is anything I noticed its that being overtired is the formula for “all hell breaking loose!”…when we get more sleep, we are all just better people and a better couple. Sleep is amazing…not sleeping is the devil! The DAMN DEVIL I tell ya!

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