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
- 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.