So I’ve been MIA for a while…sorry. We have had a bunch of family in town, and honestly I was struggling with what to share. I knew I wanted to get a little open and honest and wasn’t sure how to go about it. So I’m just going to rip the band-aid off. Here we go!
I think I’ve mentioned before that my husband Eric travels for work. In fact, he was gone almost every week of our first year of marriage. When it was just two of us, it was hard, but since I’ve always been a little introverted, it was manageable.
As Eric and I started talking about having kids, he was worried about the traveling and missing out. Honestly, the thought of him not being around hadn’t even crossed my mind. I knew he would be a great dad. As a result, he requested a local project to guarantee he would be home, at least right after Lucy was born. Well…that lasted about 1 month.
On top of postpartum hormones, single parenting was, and is, pretty awful. I really don’t know how people do it. At first, it wasn’t so bad. But it seemed like with every trip, things got a little worse. Right around 3 months, Lucy decided to stop napping. In order to get her to sleep, I would literally have to rock her for hours. As soon as I would lay her down she would start screaming. The sound would ring in my ears and was actually PAINFUL. I got to the point where I would cry almost every night (followed by drinking a beer).
Things really got real a few months ago. Lucy started screaming around 10pm and kept going until 2am. No fever, not hungry, clean diaper. Just screaming. Eventually, so was I. I was screaming, bawling, praying, cussing…you name it. Then I lost my mind. I threw my phone against the wall and shattered it. Luckily I was able to call Eric on my iPad and he calmed me down. I was too scared to go back into Lucy’s room after that. I was so…angry. At her for screaming. At myself for not knowing how to make her stop. At Eric for not being there. Then the shame set in. I felt like such a failure. People take care of screaming babies all the time. Why couldn’t I handle it? I self-diagnosed myself with postpartum depression, and decided that I needed some help.
After seeing a women’s psychologist, I was not technically diagnosed with postpartum depression…just my own deeply seeded issues coming to the surface. Perfect timing, right? Now I’m seeing a therapist and taking Zoloft. I can’t tell you how much better I have been feeling. Eric has been home more, Lucy has been sleeping like a champ, and I feel more in control of myself. I still have my moments, but I’m learning how to control my emotions.
As I’ve gone through all this, and continue going through it all, I found other moms who have gone through similar things and I have learned a few nuggets of truth.
- Being a mom is excruciatingly lonely and isolating. I have to be intentional about getting out of the house and having adult interactions.
- A screaming baby is NOT a sign of failure.
- Other moms are willing to help a sister out. They get it.
- Our children learn how to control their emotions from us. So I need to take care of myself to be the best mom to Lucy.
- It OK to let Lucy cry, so that I can breathe.
I know this is not the end of this part of my journey. Eric has started traveling again. Lucy is going to grow and her needs will change. It will not get easier…just different. But I love that girl with all my heart. When I think of her, I feel like the Grinch when his heart grows three sizes, and I’m not sure it will fit inside my chest any more. I need to take care of me so that I can take care of her.