I can't do it anymore.
It never ends.
Will I ever feel good again?
I'm not cut out for this.
What made me think I could do this?
I'm so tired of being tired.
Will I ever get used to this?
Will I ever get the hang of this?
Can't I ever go just one day without feeling guilty?
Have I already screwed up too much?
Will I ever feel confident?
And I want to add another one to this?
This is just a sample of some of the negative thoughts I battle with my new calling as a mother. I've been at this for a little over 19 months and most of the time I am beginning to feel human again. I am able to banish these negative thoughts and bask in the glory of motherhood. However, some days, like today, I am just tired. Last night was a difficult night. I'm not sure why. After a thorough investigation, I've come to the conclusion that sometimes, some nights are just bad. Some nights babies just can't sleep. They want to sleep just as badly as their parents do, but they just can't. Maybe Lily couldn't turn her mind off. I've had nights like that.
Robbie and I headed to bed later than we should have like we do every night. Lily decided to wake up every hour. Starting at about 1:30 or so, I'd had enough, and in frustration, decided to punish her by making her watch Sesame Street All. Night. Long. How is that for fantastic parenting and rational thinking?
So we watched Sesame Street. Now that I think about it, you know those doctors that say you may as well just get up if you can't sleep? Yeah, that's what we were doing. Never mind that when I get in my sleep deprived mode, I really believe that my whole family is plotting to keep me from sleeping. They all want me to stay awake all the time. When I am at my most irrational, I truly believe this. Sometimes I even believe this after I feel as well rested as I ever get.
I napped during episodes while Lily watched. Episodes are about an hour long, so we made it through two episodes and five minutes of a third before Lily looked at me in despair, begging me to do something else, anything else, to help her sleep. So we tried snuggling and nursing again. The old stand by. It didn't work earlier in the night like it normally does, but that's all I know how to do. I thought she was finally ready for sleep, so at 4:06 am I trekked my tired body back to my bedroom, and as soon as my head hit the pillow and I snuggled with my blanket and husband, she started wailing her angry wail again. I started to cry. I rolled over to face away from my husband so my sniffles wouldn't wake him. I just let the tears flow, welcoming them like the old friends that they are, knowing that I needed the cleansing. Earlier in the day, I told Robbie that I needed to cry, but I couldn't. I've been on the verge of tears everyday for a few weeks. I needed to watch a sad movie or something, anything, to induce tears. I got my wish.
I cried and cried and Lily cried and cried and it seemed like an eternity, but it was probably five or ten minutes.
Robbie's alarms started to go off at 5am and I was too tired to ask him to turn them off. I slept in that place between waking and sleeping, too tired to do anything but just be. Robbie and I said our morning prayers and he left for work. I hobbled back to the bed, wishing that Lily would sleep for hours and hours but knowing she would probably wake up in an hour at best.
I kept waking up every hour on my own. 8:30am. 9:30am. 10:30am. The only thing that woke me up was feeling guilty that I was still asleep. Our neighborhood was quiet. Lily was snoozing soundly. Finally at almost 11am, Lily woke up. I started my day feeling guilty for the horrible night that we had.
I am still so tired. I am tired of feeling guilty. I am tired of not knowing what to do for my baby. I am tired of being tired. I know I should be thankful for a healthy and happy (goodness knows I hope she is happy and that I haven't screwed her up for life) baby. I am happy for my happy and healthy baby. I am thankful I can hold her in my arms, and I know there are mamas out there who wish for nights like the one I just had just so they can spend one more night with their precious babes. I am sure there are women out there who wish that after having a night like that, they could crawl back in the bed and sleep, even fitfully, until 11am. I know that I have plenty to be thankful for. It still doesn't stop the negative thoughts from coming. It still doesn't mean that motherhood doesn't take some getting used to. It still doesn't mean that some days aren't hard. Sometimes, motherhood is just plain hard. And some days, I am just too tired to think, "Yeah, but isn't it worth it?" Oh yeah. It is SO worth it. But some days, like today, I stop at, "Sometimes, motherhood is just plain hard." And that's okay.