Honestly, I have had some less than stellar parenting moments. Stuff I wish I could erase from my memory because that isn't the mom I wanted to be.
Michael was a very demanding newborn. I know all newborns are demanding, but I think he was a little more than some. He just did not sleep for the first 6 weeks. Ok, he would sleep about 8 hours a day, in 45min intervals, after passing out at the breast, while I was holding him. That's about it. Eventually I was able to sneak him in some naps in the bouncy chair, and then at 6 weeks, he finally started sleeping well in the crib. But otherwise I would hold him. I loved holding him, but it was very tough on me. Oh, yeah, and he nursed constantly on my cracked and bleeding nipples which was pretty tough too.
I am no stranger to sleep deprivation, so I thought I would be able to handle it, but this was so much worse than I had ever experienced (and I'm quite experienced). I was perfectly fine with it during the day light hours... happy, joyful and remarkable energetic, but come nightfall, I would start to lose it. I had anxiety about basically being awake all night and that much more tired in the morning, and pretty much doing it alone so that my husband could get a good night's sleep (one of us had to be able to drive).
Most of the nights I made it though alright, but a couple of times, I just couldn't do it. I would have to wake up my husband and sit so that he could watch me nurse Michael while crying and saying "I can't do this" over and over again. I'd hand the baby off and go punch the wall. Yeah. Those are nights that I would like to forget, but I can't because it really was that hard. Me and my husband would look at each other and wonder why anyone would do this to themselves a second time, on purpose, because it was awful.
I will even admit to confessing to my husband that I knew why people shake babies and he confessed back that he understood too. Then, a kinda funny thing happened. He was talking to one of his friends that had a kid on the phone the next day about newborns, and the friend, unprompted, said it too, "I know why people shake babies." Honestly, this made me feel better. This confession that I had made, made me feel like a terrible person. Only an awful person could think of something so awful. But DH's friend wasn't a bad person, no, he was a great dad. Other parents, good parents, had been through something like this too. It really is THAT hard. (And don't worry, no babies were shaken, it's just the point that parenting can be that frustrating at times, please don't think that we are bad people.)
Things got better. Sleep happened a little more frequently. Nipples healed. We settled into a routine. We started to understand why people would want to put themselves through this again.
One night, after Michael had his night sleeping down pat he woke up... again and again and again. I had just started back to work and I was back in that same place, crying, I can't do it, afraid of the next night.
In the morning when I was sane and calm again, I realized that the Chipotle I'd the day before did not agree with Michael and it was really the gas that had caused it. I felt ashamed that had so little patience for my baby that was in pain and instead let the anxiety overtake me.
I'm the first person to admit to my impatience... it's more than the title of my blog, it's probably one of the biggest personal problems that I have in life. But after that night, I loosened up so much. It was the thing I needed. I stopped saying 'I can't do this,' and instead I just learned to comfort my baby and realize that whatever I was going through was probably not as bad as what he was going through and tomorrow is a new day. I don't know why it took me a while to get this to click in my head, but the change was huge. I'm sure I'd had these thoughts before, but it wasn't until then that I could really make the change in me that I needed to make.
So what prompted this out pouring of a very personal topic was that Michael has not been eating great and I've felt my supply has been lower than I feel comfortable with lately. I turned to the KellyMom and was looking for answers on their forum. I've never used their forum before, so I was surprised when I looked at the first page and saw at least 3 posts that could have been written by me. All about 4 months old and supply issues. And someone had linked to this article: Wakeful 4 Month Olds.
The article was exactly what we have been going through lately, except that Michael has not been waking at night. Actually the opposite, he is sleeping all the way through the night and doesn't even need his night feeding anymore.
Well guess what? Michael woke up 6 times last night (3 from 6:30-8:30 and then 3 from 1:00-3:00). And every time I went it his room, instead of anxiety, I just laughed, because it was just too funny that I had just read that article. And so we may be doing some night waking for the next couple of weeks or months, but I don't care. Doesn't bother me. I can handle it now. I feel so much better... I might be more tired, but I feel good about it these days and instead just look forward to spending the extra time with my baby. And I was honestly a little sad when he dropped the 1 am feeding so I was maybe a little too happy to get up over and over again last night.
I wrote this post because I feel I need to be honest about how hard it has been. I've touched on it in other posts, but I've never really came out and said that I felt at times like I was literally on the edge of losing my mind. I think I'm doing a disservice to anyone that reads this by not sharing this part of it. But I also wanted to write this to share in my victory over what once was. I am a better person today because my patience, at least for my child, has grown infinitely and I'm sure that will continue to be a good thing for the challenges ahead.