I sat up in bed, slammed my hand down on the bedcovers to my left, and yelled *#%! (which I can tell you is a REALLY bad word that I pretty much never say). I got out of bed, grabbed my robe, and barely glanced at my bewildered husband as I stomped into my baby’s room to try to get him to stop crying for the 75th time that night.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, nursing did not always come easily. Eventually, though, we got the hang of it and settled into a routine of nursing before bed, then waking up a couple of times during the night to nurse, then once more early in the morning. What that translated to in terms of sleep for me varied quite a bit depending on the night. And, although we had a good routine going most nights, I needed more consistent sleep than what I was getting.
I have always been one of those eight hours of sleep a night type people. I can do less, but not for consecutive nights …at least not without side effects. I start having a hard time thinking and I may get a little crabby sometimes. Apparently if this happens for multiple nights and you add in post-pregnancy hormones, then top it off with some pure frustration, I kick it up a couple notches past just plain ol’ crabby.
On this particular night, I was completely exhausted. Jacob had waken me up repeatedly during the night wanting to nurse, then falling asleep, then waking back up again. By the umpteenth time of this, I had totally lost it. Throughout the night I had nursed him, changed him, rocked him, sung to him, and put him to bed over and over again. Each time I would go back to bed only to hear him a short while later crying again. Now as a sane person who just last night got over eight hours of sleep and has no wacked out pregnancy hormones left in my body (most days), I know that Jacob may have just not felt good or needed to just be held or whatever. Right now I could handle that just fine. I’m sure I knew that then too, but I was so exhausted and so frustrated that I couldn’t think straight.
So, when I heard him start to cry again that 75th time, I was done. As I said, I sat up, slammed my hand down, yelled my super bad word, and pulled on my robe as I marched into Jacob’s room. I tried once again to see if nursing him would help, but he just kept crying. At that point I could no longer cope. I put Jacob back in his crib and stomped back into my bedroom. As I pulled on my sneakers and grabbed my keys, I informed my husband that I was leaving and that I’d probably see him tomorrow. He stared at me as I turned around and headed down the hallway. I can not imagine what he was thinking as he heard me drive off in the car, wearing nothing but a robe and a sock less pair of sneakers.
I had no plan…
That’s probably obvious, though. I just knew I couldn’t handle it anymore. I started driving and trying to figure out where I was going to go at 3:00 in the morning. The problem was I didn’t want to go anywhere. I didn’t want to go to a friend’s house or to be comforted by my mom or to anywhere. I just wanted to be gone.
So, I just drove and I thought… as best as my sleep deprived brain could. Being a new mom was hard. It brought out such a mix of emotions in me. I wanted to be the one who my baby needed. I wanted to be the one who could always make it all better. At the same time, though, I desperately wanted to be free of that responsibility. The thing was, though, the desire for that freedom was right there next to the desire for that dependence… totally contradictory emotions nestled right up together. No wonder I snapped every now and then.
Every time, though, in the end, there was no question which desire was stronger. I was a mom more than I was me. It superseded all the rest… eventually. So, that night I drove around for about an hour or so wishing that I lived in a big enough town that it took longer to get around. By the end of my hour plus, I’d pretty much covered the town and had nowhere else to drive, so I headed back home. As I climbed back into bed next to my husband, he asked me if I was better and held me as I fell asleep.
Yes, I was better… for now.
- The Motherhood Manual- I have all the answers. (twyste.com)