I’ve been going non-stop now since my little guy was born almost three weeks ago. I can feel the cracks in my emotional stability getting bigger and the storm brewing, but I just haven’t had the time to let it all out. This morning, things started to feel like I might come apart.
I’m exhausted. I don’t mean tired or I could use a nap, I mean exhausted. I’m physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted to the core of my being. I’m talking, I could sleep for days, exhaustion. Between the staying up late, waking in the middle of the night, and then getting up early to pump, my sleep is so disrupted it hardly feels restful. If I lay down for a nap, I have a hard time getting back up and usually feel worse for attempting to sleep. I pump every few hours, all day and night, which burns calories, yet I hardly eat. I don’t have time to eat because it takes time away from being with my baby. Most of the time I’m not even that hungry anyway, so I’m living on very little food right now. I’m also constantly going. Between traveling to and from he hospital to be with my baby, then rushing home to try to spend some time with my older kids, then staying up to try to spend time with my husband (I have to stay up to pump anyway) and trying to keep my household running, as well as trying to catch up on everything I missed while I was in the hospital, I never have time to myself. I barely have time or energy to shower every couple of days and I’m lucky if my hair gets washed more than once a week (don’t judge, priorities change when you are in certain situations). I’m just beyond exhausted and the baby isn’t even home yet. I worry about how I’m going to survive when he finally does come home. If I’m this tired now, how am I going to deal with those first three month after he is considered term, that “fourth trimester”, when babies are adjusting to life and colicky? I’m not sure there is enough coffee in the world to help me make it through the coming months.
I’m angry and I’m not totally sure why or at who. I know I shouldn’t be and it is a total waste of energy to feel this way, but I am, I can’t help it, I am angry. Maybe I’m angry that my final pregnancy was cut short and my baby was taken before I was ready to let him out into the world. Maybe I’m angry that my body failed him when he needed me to take care of him. Maybe the anger comes from having to go through all of this and not getting to enjoy a “normal” birth experience and bring my baby home like I should have. Some of the anger is from the stress that the financial burden has put on my family and a lot of the anger is definitely from the lack of control of the situation. Then there is the anger at how some people have been about the whole situation. When you find yourself in a desperate situation of any kind, one in which you need help and support the most, that is when you truly see people for who they are and you realize who really cares. It isn’t like I’ve never been in bad situations before and seen people’s true colors, but for some reason, no matter how many times I make the discovery, I’m still always disappointed and hurt. Maybe it just hurts more this time because it wasn’t just about me but about my kids too, especially my tiny baby. Don’t get me wrong, there have been lots of people who have totally stepped up and gone above and beyond, like my mom who has been living with us and helping care for my kids since a few days after I was admitted to the hospital over a month ago. There have been people who have shown unexpected kindness, like my burly, ex NYC firefighter cousin who up sent me flowers in the hospital which arrived on a day I really needed them. Or my old MOMS club from my last state, people I haven’t seen in over a year, that sent me a hospital survival package to let me know that, despite the distance, I was still in their hearts. There has also been great generosity, especially from people who don’t have as much to give, like my cousin who, despite having a young child of her own and not a lot of money, has sent me not one, but two packages, and always remembers to put something in it for the older boys so they don’t feel forgotten. These are just some of the examples of love and support we have received and we are thankful for them. Then there are those people that I thought I could count on, people I expected love and support from who just seemed to drop the ball and not be there for us when we needed them most. There are people who I thought we were as important to as they are to us who haven’t been there for support like I expected, some not even bothering to check in on us, the boys, or the baby. There are people I expected to hear from, people I expected to reach out to us in someway, yet these people have been absent from the scene, or disappeared as soon as the baby was born. Some people we even reached out to, yet we were rejected in our hour of need. It is disappointing and hurtful because I’d never abandon the people I love when they needed me like this, no matter how unsure I might be about how to help or how little I could do. It makes me angry.
These are just some of the things I am struggling with right now. This doesn’t even touch upon the emotional issues my older kids are having, like my oldest being worried that my two year old isn’t growing up fast enough to be ready for the baby to come home. It doesn’t touch upon the incredible amounts of guilt I feel for various reasons, including not being a loving and patient enough mother for my older boys right now and the guilt I feel for being so tired and angry. There is just so much going on inside me right now and I hardly have time to process it. Writing this blog is the closest I get to dealing with it. So this morning, when the tears began to fall and I began to feel like I’d reached a breaking point, I just sucked it up and swallowed it all down the best I could because the boys were late for school and the baby was waiting for me to come hold him for his eleven o’clock feeding. I just don’t have the time or energy to deal with all this right now no matter how much I probably should. So I just push on and hope the rumblings of the approaching storm will pass and hold off for another day, one when I might be a little more prepared to deal with it all.