Tuesday, April 12, 2011

this too shall pass

It’s always around this time (three-four weeks post partum) that I start to get irrational, overly tired, obsessed with sleep and worried that my life is over.  I start to want to control something….anything really….when I get to sleep or eat or shower or think. 

It’s at this point that books and websites are dangerous…..I start to look for answers, ways to regain some normality, some semblance of order and control.  I vowed this time around that I was going to be one of those moms who just trusts her gut, takes things a day at a time, not getting obsessed or worried about what she’s doing , what her baby’s doing and how it was going to affect the future.

But, despite my best attempts, I caved. 

Here’s my google history from the past week (the searches occurring on my iPhone during the wee hours of the morning while I’m up nursing and desperate for some kind of solution). 

  • why does baby spit up
  • infant probiotics for colic
  • gerd
  • fenugreek uses breastfeeding
  • how long can I store breast milk
  • prevent air intake while nursing
  • how to get a newborn to sleep longer
  • can latch affect air intake while nursing
  • breastfeeding problems spitting up
  • forceful let down
  • post partum bleeding
  • how to burp a baby
  • how to wash g diapers
  • when will a baby start smiling
  • foods to avoid while breastfeeding
  • infant allergy to dairy
  • newborn growth spurts

In addition to nursing and the rocking and the burping and searching the internet for answers, I spend my nights analyzing what we’ve done that day that has made the night either good or bad.  Did I drink too much milk?  Did he get enough stimulation or too much?  Does he do better swaddled or with his hands free so he can suck?  Is sleeping in the car seat the trick?  Is he too hot or too cold?  Should I try just cuddling with him and see if we can get some sleep that way?  Will that just make me sweaty and creaked from sleeping so carefully with him by my side?

And then every once in a while the worst happens…..my baby drifts into a deep sleep, but all the thoughts scrambling in my head leave me with insomnia.  To be awake at night while your newborn is sleeping feels like a crime.

I think you could safely say I’m trying to control things just a bit.

Thankfully my mother-in-law has been here through these obsessive days of mine.  Aside from working her little tail off and being unbelievably helpful with everything, she is wise and a therapist and so good at seeing the big picture and helping me to see things more clearly.  She keeps reminding me of some really important things:

  • Babies are fussy, gassy, unpredictable and hard for at least the first 6 weeks.  Like Scott Peck says: “life is hard, once you accept that fact it gets much easier.”  (Or something like that….not enough energy to look up the real quote.)
  • The only thing predictable about the first few months is that everything is unpredictable.
  • You can search everywhere for solutions to newborn problems.  If you think you’ve found one, the chances of it working are about 15% and the chances of it working over and over are about nil.
  • Lower your expectations. Give up control.  Stop thinking.
  • Take everything one day at a time, one feeding at a time, one minute at a time. 
  • This will pass.  I will sleep through the night again. Life will return to normal.  And it will come all too soon.


  1. Oh Saydi . I know I'll be there soon. I am reading this after I sent the text, by the way, lest you think it was a pity offer. Hang in there friend.

  2. Love reading your blog Saydi.
    You have hit the nail on the head! I have an 8 week old and all those thoughts have been swirling around in my head. Thanks for your posts.

  3. Oh Saydi,
    I feel for you! The moment of time you are in is the very hardest for me and while it sounds awful, I would just pride myself in getting through another day. I was always just thinking - we are a little closer to 3 months and this colic thing will be over! Even you want to enjoy and be more laid back - being in the thick of it is always tough! Hang in there, like you said, it will pass.

  4. Perfectly said! You nailed it. Just when I figured "everything" out, something else weird pops up with that little cheeto-- it's just the exhaustion that keeps our mind altered. I haven't had a newborn now in three years, and I'm experiencing firsthand what they all say is true-- you really do forget! (Isn't that a good sign? That we forget?) Just remember, one day, in three years, you'll have forgotten the tough stuff and only somehow remember the good. In fact, I found myself thinking the other-- why did I make the newborn-stage so hard myself? Then I read your blog. And now I remember. Thanks for reminding us. The memory helps us appreciate where we are not. xoxo alissa

  5. Thanks so much for this post! I am 4 weeks postpartum and really trying to refrain from google searches:)Sometimes I'm successful and sometimes not. I am finding myself wanting to organize my whole house and donate at least half of what we own. Though there's no time or energy to do so. Thanks again for the reminder.

  6. Saydi,

    I so remember those sleepless nights! Although none of mine ever compared to yours. I will tell you that my third son slept in a swing for the first two years of his life! He would NOT sleep! So we put him in a swing (not even battery powered) and I still remember getting up at night to wind the silly thing. :)

    Anyway, it was a pleasure to meet you at the POM's retreat this weekend. I wish we lived in the same city, I have a feeling we could be lifelong friends!

    Good luck on getting some sleep!

    p.s., I do know a mom of 15 kids (I am not making that up) who said she had to have 8 hours of sleep a day to function. So if she didn't get it at night, she hired a gal to come tend during the day so she could make it up! It's a thought! :)

  7. You couldn't be more right with that second list!!!

  8. Anonymous9:00 AM

    I so remember that time. My daughter is 9 months old now and I'm remembering it again as she has been up all night 2 days in a row with a cold. And naturally...we all have the cold too!

    Our Moms didn't have google to make them crazy! ( : I was doing the same thing when I was in your stage and wide awake watching my baby sleep!



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