Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Am I ~evil~?

One of my very best friends, Laurel, will say "yes" to this one. ~wink~.

I'm talking about a very specific situation though. It's about parenting. And how fucking hard it really is.

A few of my online stalkerees (me being the stalker) has recently had their babies and is suddenly in the "holy fucking shit, ~this~ is hard. THIS is what I was trying so hard for?" mode. Dear Serenity is one of them and her latest post just puts me smack back into newborn hell.

Before I go any further, I would like to mention what I consider "The Newborn Honeymoon". This is when a ~new~ mommy (happens to all babies, but a second timer knows better) comes home with a baby who sleeps all the time. This is when you'll get cheery smiles and things like "My baby is SO good, s/he only cries when s/he's wet or hungry!". And they talk about how sweet their baby's temperament is and walk around like they don't know why anyone would say having a baby is hard.

And then it happens. The newborn comes "home" from the honeymoon and you see what it's really like to have a newborn. It's hard. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. And remember - this is coming from someone who hit rock bottom as a heroin addict, so I've seen bad. I've seen hard.

Now, some babies stay quiet and sweet and continue to sleep all the time. But most don't. Around 5-6 weeks old, most babies will cry for ~hours~ at a time, usually starting in the evenings. These babies will cry for hours and hours - inconsolable. This is when most parents will think "colic", but believe me, I've seen colic and that's not it. Colic is the seventh circle of hell and if a mommy is lucky enough to have a baby who only cries for 4 hours a day - consider yourself very lucky. Personally, my kids didn't have colic, but I've seen it. I thought I had it bad when Ella screamed for 4 hours each evening, from 5-9pm. I would of sworn it was honest to goodness colic, but it wasn't. I've seen colic and I have no idea how I would have managed.

Back to me being evil.

I was a primary IFer a little bit. It took me 18 months to get pregnant, had a lap, had an HSG, went on clomid, but knowing what I know now - I was lucky. I wasn't REALLY infertile. I've seen infertiles and I don't think I was one of them.

Anywho, I remember wanting a baby SO badly and people telling me how in the meantime, while I don't have a baby, to enjoy my time. I used to be SO OFFENDED by that. How dare them tell me that? HOW DARE THEM!! "Enjoy my time". Fuck off.

But only after I had a baby and realized I almost lost my freaking mind a half a dozen times did I understand what they meant.

Seriously - me. Full on mental breakdowns. Sobbing. Sleep deprivation. I thought years of partying all night would have given me a leg up on that. Nope. I told my husband I wasn't cut out for it. I didn't know how I would survive another day with a crying baby. I longed for those ttc days.

And now I'm seeing these once infertile mommy's have their 'day' with the exhaustion and I secretly love it. NO - I don't love the fact they are miserable! But I love the fact they are now facing the reality of what they were trying so hard for. And they see what words like "enjoy your time now" really mean. Although I will never say this to an infertile, since they'd likely punch me in the face, I think it to them a lot. So when they "get" it, even though I never said it, I love it.

Don't get me wrong here - I think it's all still worth it. Those days you get a smile out of that little blob makes everything worth it. But babies are real work. When I was ttc#1, I'd daydream of walking around the house with a newborn, barefoot, singing quiet lullabies. In real life, once I got the baby, I'd walk around the house with a screaming newborn, barefoot because there was no time to get dressed, singing lullabies with a crackly voice through my sobs. Not ~quite~ the same thing as I envisioned.

I'm sorry Serenity. I'm sorry for all you other new mommy's who don't have time for a shower. It'll get better, I promise. But even know, I bet you know it's already worth it.


KatieM said...

This post reminds me of a comment I made on Tammy's blog about expecting a slap in the face and getting hit with a ton of bricks instead when it comes to parenting. However, even those of us who know the blow is coming can never understand it until we are flat-out on our backs with wind knocked out of us because of it.

I definitely think everyone has those visions of grandeur, and will most certainly have that "oh shit, what in the world have I done?" moment. I guess it's all a part of this lovely process....and yet, we continue to do it because as you say, it is worth it (for those that survive it that is, haha). This post made me laugh....in a nervous (insert "dum, dum, dum" sound effect here) sort of way ;-)

Rachel Inbar said...

It took me 3 years of TTC to finally conceive my daughter by IVF. I remember coming home with her and thinking, "now what do I do?" I don't know if I had ever gone as far as to picture myself with an actual baby before I got home...

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you Nancy. Parenting is the absolutely hardest thing in the world, and the newborn (post-honeymoon) stage is the hardest. A lot of times, in our society, people don't really acknowledge that. I remember when both my kids were newborns, people acting like I should be on cloud nine all the freaking time. Not hardly. And I felt like a bad mom because I wasn't 100% ecstatic all the time. I also remember sobbing hysterically and telling my husband I wanted to take her back, that I wasn't cut out for motherhood, I wasn't strong enough for it. And I have always thought of myself as a strong, capable person. Nope. Motherhood knocked me on my ass, big time.

And yeah, when I see first time parents going through the newborn struggle, I will admit to feeling occasionally a tiny bit smug.

It's nice to know that someone else out there felt this way too.


Knucks said...

I can totally relate to this!! I remember long nights of crying and sleep deprivation and begging God for just 1 hour of consecutive sleep and thinking "this is what I begged God for?" It REALLY helps to know that other moms out there feel the same way I do, eases my conscience a bit.

I have a friend 15 weeks pregnant now and can't wait until she has her baby for this exact reason - she thinks it's going to be a walk in the park. Oh boy. . . .

Lori said...

Right on (that parenting's hard; not that you're evil).

I found out only after the fact (thank g*d) that I'm really not an infant person.

So I'm glad I didn't know.

Jen said...

I have no clue what I'm in for. And frankly, I'm scared shitless.

Sarah R said...

Maybe I'm just a realist at heart, but I knew going in what to expect. It could have to do with the fact that I was the oldest of five and I helped take care of my siblings through the years (I was left to baby-sit starting at age NINE when the youngest was still a baby), I also did tons of baby-sitting.

My son (who is now 8 months old) spent a great deal of the first four months crying. Basically, if he wasn't on the breast or sleeping, he was crying. He hardly napped, he had acid reflux (lots and lots of his entire feedings came shooting out all over me), and he would scream for hours on end, arching his back. The only thing that kind-of helped was us manually bouncing him in his bouncy seat. The pediatrician said he had classic colic symptoms, and to do the best we could...car rides, setting him on the dryer in his carseat, bouncing him, whatever worked.

I have a ton more patience than my husband and I never once though that I couldn't handle it. My body adjusted to less sleep. Any time he woke up to eat, I was eager to hold him again. I LONGED for a baby of my own for so long and I just loved holding and comforting him. I still remember him screaming until 2 am and NOTHING I did would make him stop crying. I could only feed him so much, and he wanted to be on the breast for hours on end (one time it was 3 hours straight!) My hubby on the other hand--he thought we had a demon baby on our hands (not literally, LOL). He was seriously saying he definitely did not know a baby was this much work. He doesn't understand how I don't get frustrated when the baby is screaming in my ear (we actually fought about it once because DH didn't believe me when I said I wasn't annoyed). DH says this is our only baby, and I enjoy every single moment with my son. I feel like even his fussy moments are something that when he gets older I might miss. I DH is one of these people who says, "take him for a week" to my motherless friends...in fact, he said it today to my co-worker (and I want to slap him when he does this).

We got through it. He is still a pretty fussy baby, but he started getting a lot better starting at 5 or so months. There's always something new! He's now into having meltdowns whenever we're eating anything, and screaming in-between bites of banana.

I didn't mean for this to get long, but I guess going in I expected it to be hard. I knew about colic (although I didn't totally expect my son would be colicky), teething (his first 2 popped through just as he turned 3 months and he was quite a bear during the whole process), sleepless nights, bottle refusing, the whole nine yards. I would take none of it back because all of it was part of the experience of being a mother.

Meredith said...

I totally agree on the newborn honeymoon phase. I totally thought that Tyler was such a great baby then 6 weeks hit and the screaming started. I remember even the first week of life I had never felt more unsure of myself - I had no idea what to do even when he was sleeping all day long.

However I don't think that phase is the hardest. For me the hardest part of parenting is seeing that my kids arn't "perfect". Dealing with Tylers speech delays and his SPD, dealing with his biting phase, dealing with Carter when he just stopped sucking and was told it could be a sign of CP (of course it wasnt, it was just reflux - gotta love doctors). But those have been much worse to me than lack of sleep and a lot of screaming..

Anonymous said...

I totally agree that parenting is not easy. It's not just the phsyical requirements, but the emotional. I constantly worry about my DD. When she actually sleeps longer at night I wake up wondering why she hasn't woken up yet. I have tons of siblings (Full,Half,step..13 total) and had an idea, so I wasn't completely blind sided. If I got a shower and got dressed in the day the first couple months it was a good day. I have loved every minute of it (well mostly;)!

I don't know what I'd have done with a colicky baby though.

Alwen said...

Wow. I actually did have one of those easy babies who rarely cried, but the sleep deprivation very nearly did me in. I remember how pissed off I felt when people who didn't have kids went on and on about how fabulous babies are and how blessed I was. Yeah, the newborn stage is HARD, even when your baby doesn't cry for hours and hours...

shinejil said...

Isn't it screwed up that there are situations (like the one you described) where we can only see how great we had it AFTER we can no longer have it that way? But when you're kneedeep in IF shit, the comment that you should enjoy your childfree state just rankles?

You just opened my eyes a bit. I know you're a tough cookie, and it drove you to the edge. Thanks so much for the food for thought, Nancy...

JamieD said...

I love this post! I know what reality is like, but I still catch myself fantasizing about being home, barefoot and pregnant telling everyone how great I feel and what a wonderful, perfect baby we have.

My husband thinks it would be super exciting if we had twins and I always say, "You only think that because we DON'T have twins!!"

But, whatever we are handed, we'll be ready to take it on. Even if helmets and faceshields are required!!

**susy** said...

You're not evil just honest. My bf was one of those "omg this what I wanted so bad". I told her a cpl times, she only saw as far as getting pg, nothing else. She agrees.

Even though I know it won't be easy, I know it'll hit me harder than I expect, b/c well, it IS hard. All I can hold on to, to try and help me get through it, when I get there, is staying up w/ my 1st neice at night for my sister.

She seperated from my BIL and moved back. I basically took over HIS job when I was 14. =P

Kaci said...

You...evil...no! I think most people know going in that it's going to be hard, but they choose to put on those rose-colored glasses and only think about the positive times. If you think about the hard times, why would you ever want it? Not much different than marriage - you think about the good time, not the wadded up socks left in the clothes hamper and the wet towels on the floor. No matter how good life is, when a bad time strikes you can't help but think "why did I do this?" Totally normal!

The key to your post for those new mommies, is that it *IS* all worth it. The precious moments far outweigh the tough ones.