I miss my husband, yoga, sleep—and my little boy

A quite emotional couple of days in our house! We are wearing down. I miss my husband, I miss yoga, I miss sleep—and when I’m sleeping, I miss my little boy! There is this constant tension between all of the things I am missing. I miss my extended family, my parents, the Midwest. I am happy, so happy, with our little baby S, and I want to give him every atom of me. I am trying so hard to figure out how to give him everything he needs while meeting our needs, too, and I feel like while I make progress a bit every day, I ultimately fail. I know it is normal to fail, for things to go sideways, but that doesn’t make it any easier. We are dabbling in a few techniques from a few books for feedings and sleep scheduling (most heavily the Giordano, in my last post), trying to figure out what works best for all of us, and it requires so much patience–most of all, patience with myself.

What’s hard to get used to, even after three months, is not having the coping methods I am used to readily available to me. Writing is my number-one, can’t-live-without processing and coping tool, and I neglect all sorts of other things in order to keep doing it. Yoga is a very, very close second to writing, and my personal adage about yoga is: “It is not optional.” The other adage I have, when it comes to yoga, is: “I do it so I’m not an asshole.”

I haven’t done yoga in over a month.

What I am doing, and I think it is good, is being active with S first thing in the mornings. In the morning, when he wakes up, he is sometimes sweet and quiet, sometimes screaming with gas pain and/or restless. But now that he is three months old, he is very interested in connecting—he wants to look around the house, look at us, try out talking, stand straight up on his chub legs, bounce around, give kisses to his Grover puppet and receive kisses from Groves in return. It is all so awesome to him, you can see it in his sparkly dark eyes and of course his smile. I’ve picked up on his preference for being active first thing, and I roll around with him in my arms, do my own stretches with him in my arms, and this morning, I turned on 50s music and we bopped around the living room. All of this before 7:30 in the morning! It makes me feel good, too. Gets my blood pumping. Maybe things will change. But right now, it feels like I’ve figured out something that feels good to both of us. By the time we’ve settled down, he can chill a little, enough to get 3 ounces down without protest. Whereas when I try to feed him 15 min to half hour after waking, he’s too distracted—he pushes the bottle out of his mouth, looks at me, and goes: “I-la, I-lo, I-la.”

By the way, the “talking” is killing me. Maybe he goes “I-la, I-lo, I-la, I-lo” because I am saying “I love you” every five seconds? And last night, while we were playing guitar and singing, he tried to sing with us. Ah, swoon, my little man.

I’m a little worried because he is not eating as much as he used to. Ten ounces less a day! I think it is because he is distracted at each feeding. I try to think of things from his point of view—what if, every day, I could see a little better? I could talk a little more? I could communicate my needs a little more clearly? I could enjoy play more and more? I probably wouldn’t be as interested in eating, either.

When I worry about him most is at 4 a.m. And then I can just kiss any more sleep goodbye.

Insomnia. My old friend. I started having trouble sleeping in my twenties and have had bouts of it off and on since then. It doesn’t surprise me that it is back now, of course. I have a tiny human being whom I’m in mad love with needing me all the time. My body and mind, for the past three months, have gotten used to being on-call in the wee hours. I think it is going to take quite a bit for my system to calm down. I am even considering talking to my doctor about a sleep medication or super-low-dose anti-anxiety medication. But then again, if I can hold out, I can probably figure out a way to fit yoga back into my life and medication won’t be necessary.

It does seem like the little one is consistently eating less at night, which is good, and perhaps one of the middle-of-the-night feedings is migrating to the early morning…and it will soon mesh with the first morning feeding. He hasn’t gone seven hours straight again, but he is seeming to go six hours straight consistently (this is between his last feeding and his first middle-of-the-night feeding—he doesn’t always go right to sleep after the feeding, but shortly after, at least). He is eating approximately every four hours during the day, and his morning nap seems to come around the same time. We are trying out different waking times/feeding times, and different evening feeding times, to see what feels best for all of us, especially for him, so the nap migrates around, but it seems to consistently come the same amount of time after morning feeding/play time. So I’ve got to look at all this, when I’m feeling strung out, and realize how hugely different things are now than they were even a couple of weeks ago.

By the way, thank you for all of your candid anecdotes on baby sleep. It’s so helpful (and interesting) to see all of the different ways different families go about navigating this territory. I hope no one ever thinks that I am writing this blog because I think I have answers to these thorny issues. I have always written this blog in real-time, processing and tripping along the way. (Another angle on “trip” in the “unexpected trip.”) I am muddling my way through most things in these posts spanning back to 2012, and I use this space to make my thoughts tangible on a page. As the blog has grown, readership has increased, and sometimes I have used this space to begin conversations (and sometimes I have outright asked for advice). But just know that I’ve never felt like an authority on anything, and this space is primarily a diary-like, muddling-through space. I appreciate friendly comments, but I am not coming to this space for debates or battles.

I am also trying to figure out how to maintain this blog in a way that respects the privacy of our new family member, and that might mean that I will be bringing up larger issues, or not shining the spotlight too bright on him and more on me, when it comes to personal stuff. I’m finding it very tricky but will, in keeping with what I’ve said above, muddle my way through the blog’s iterations.

I also want to take a moment to mention how many times I have eaten my words, in this blog. I’ve discovered things, gone for things, backtracked, changed my mind a million times, all in real-time, as one would in a diary. The blog form is so fascinating in that way. It’s a psychological map, made public. I have to be honest and say that lately I’ve felt so incredibly vulnerable that I want to stop writing in here, but I always find myself coming back. The Unexpected Trip has become my easy chair and I flop into it with ease.

Anyway, I have to get out of my pajamas now. Hoping for the sun to stop being shy, and to take my little one out into the world. He deserves sunshine and giggles. And what is amazing is that no matter how tired I am, I am able to give that to him. I can put the worst sleep-deprived feelings in some secret drawer I didn’t know I had and smile and laugh and dance with him.

I think I knew on a primal level that that would happen, back when I was struggling to become a mother. I knew, I understood, that that kind of magic existed between mother and child. And I mourned its absence.

My friend in WY recommended  The Tao of Motherhood and I started reading it last night. It’s a beautiful book, filled with short passages you can read quickly, or with a baby in your arms.

In the Foreword, Sue Patton Thoele quotes Elizabeth Stone: “Making the decision to have a child—it’s wondrous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” That’s it. That’s the pain I’ve been trying to describe, the love that hurts–because your heart is walking (well, not quite walking yet!) around outside your body.

I keep singing John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lt3IOdDE5iA

His eyes slowly open, now…gotta go…

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1 Comment

  1. Hugs!


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