Tuesday, April 30, 2013

One month, one heck of a meltdown

This morning I was in tears. It’s the third time I’ve cried since Charlotte’s arrival. The first was when she was actually born, the second was her first real meltdown in that first week when she was crying and looked so helpless and the third was my first real meltdown today. The tears were a breakdown from a culmination of events that transpired the day before as well as a build up of lack of sleep in the past four weeks. I had taken Charlotte to have some newborn photographs done and everything that could go wrong did – she wouldn’t sleep, she pooped on set, she peed on Chad and she cried one hour and fifteen minutes of the two hours we were there. She had hardly slept all day long. Anyone that recommends, “sleep when your baby sleeps” has obviously no sense. How the hell am I supposed to sleep while driving, or while walking the dog? Because that, my friends, is about the only time she sleeps. So don’t tell me to sleep when my baby sleeps because on the rare chance she does let me put her down long enough while dozing I’m doing something that makes me feel human like shower or brush my teeth or eating. Breastfeeding isn’t what makes you lose weight it’s the fact you can’t eat anymore because you don’t have time or if you do eat you now have to eat one handed. Ever tried to eat quinoa with a fork over a baby’s head while she’s breastfeeding? It’s not pretty. When she did fall asleep yesterday it was after our evening walk and she was in the baby bjorn. I put her down in the bassinet after extracting her from the carrier while trying not to wake her and she promptly woke up one hour later.

This morning, at 5:30am after feeding her for yet the third time of the night, I laid her on my chest to try and coax her back to sleep and she puked in my hair. I’m talking puke that went down my neck and onto the pillow case and covered the blanket. I feel like I’m living in a fraternity house because it seems my whole bed is covered in vomit. After this moment I couldn’t help but cry. I was tired, my baby wouldn’t stop crying and best of all would not go to sleep. Chad finally put her in the bouncer in the den, shut the door to the bedroom and told me to sleep and not worry about Charlotte. So I did. Two hours worth of uninterrupted sleep and I felt like a new woman.

I did not get to shower today or put on makeup but I got to sleep for two hours, have brunch with a friend and work out for half an hour. That’s the tradeoff I made.

I know I am not alone in my desperation to sleep. Every parent out there experiences this lack of sleep and knows exactly how I feel. I guess what I’m really mourning when I distress about the lack of sleep, is to some extent, my old life. The life where I could stay up until 1am and sleep in until whenever. The life where I wasn’t awakened every fifteen minutes by some sound Charlotte makes when she does sleep that startles me whether it’s a half cry or a slight whimper. I am blessed with a child but I will never sleep the same way again. For the first three weeks it was manageable but when reality hit me today that this was my new normal, well all I could do was cry. One does not realize how important and precious their sleep is until it is gone. There is no luring it back. I cannot catch up on it and I cannot obtain more of it and now I have to learn to live without something I squandered for so many years. Who wouldn’t cry?!

if only I could sleep this soundly now

After posting on facebook about my lack of sleep I got so many wonderful messages and texts from other mom's and I felt comforted and validated. Sitting in bed, breastfeeding Charlotte at 2:30am while Chad and the cat and the dog all sleep soundly in bed around me can feel lonely. Yet, across the world there are other mom’s doing the exact same thing I’m doing which is reassuring. I know this will pass and sooner than later she will sleep but today the old me finally surrendered. I am weary, I am tired. I do not get to sleep, eat, workout, walk, shower or leave the house when I want anymore. The Natalie I’ve been holding on too for so many months and so many weeks has finally had to say good-bye. I am a mom now. I know it sounds weird but I didn’t realize this until this morning as I was covered in vomit with a baby crying in my ear, breast pads scattered throughout the bed and hair damp from awful night sweats. I am still me but at the same time not. I am sure every woman goes through this moment. For some it may be the moment they give birth, for others like me it may take a few weeks to sink in and that’s ok too.

This afternoon I walked to the Walgreen’s by my house with Charlotte in the baby bjorn and a burp cloth hanging out of my yoga pants pocket. The route I take goes right in front of the high school and it was at that time where kids are leaving for the day and many were gathered by their cars or on the soccer field. I was walking past all these high school kids with a baby on my chest and burp cloth in my pocket and dog leash in hand watching them watch me. To them I am sure I looked like the mom that I am….

I just don’t know why it took me so long to see what everyone else can so clearly. I guess I didn’t want to say good-bye to the old me. I hope she’s resting in peace wherever she is….

introducing New natalie


  1. Natalie, this is such a hard time. It will slowly get better, I promise. She will become easier to care for and you will become more relaxed and confident as a mother. There will still be those times when you are covered in spit-up and you have a child (or children!) screaming in your ear, but with a little practice, it is so much easier to handle! You can do this! Hang in there!

    If you're looking for help on the sleep front, I loosely follow the sleep patterns outlined in a book called Babywise, and I think they are very helpful for teaching the baby to sleep.

  2. Thank you! As someone who has three little ones I guess it must get easier or nobody would have more than one right? I ordered baby wise although I have heard mixed reviews. I know each day will pass and get better so I try to enjoy the moments even if they are hard!

  3. There are definitely mixed reviews out there for Babywise. As I said, I follow it loosely, mainly just adopting the patterns they lay out. I stressed over schedules with my first child and it was just not worth it. Now, I tell myself I'm teaching them flexibility. :)