Friday, May 24, 2013

Sometimes you just need to cry

Learning how to be a parent is exhausting. Not only does everyone have an opinion, throw in some lack of sleep and realizing you haven't showered in a week... all you want to check yourself into the nut house for some quiet time.

A week or so ago I had a moment of, "Don't look back" and then instantly felt guilty.

It had been a horrible day. BabyG woke up consistently every few hours during the night and then at 3am went into an extreme fit. She wouldn't latch on to breast feed in the bed and was punching and scratching my chest and nipples. OUCH! I might add. This form of restlessness means she is DONE with trying to sleep, or at the very least done with being in the bed. I move to the living room and change her diaper (Which always seems to be full). She plays for a few minutes before getting mad again, I lay on the floor and nurse next to her. I dose off on the floor next to her feeling like a mother cat with a kitten. I awake about an hour later to her screams, she had awoken from her little cat nap and was hungry again. I move to the rocking chair and hope to get a bit more sleep out of her. I manage to get a few more hours of sleep with her secured to me by pillows in the chair. Hubby wakes up and playfully kisses me awake. All of my small amount of energy is used to not jump from the chair and strangle him. I was sleeping the best all night and every second is precious.

The entire day is spent nursing every 45mins and listening to screaming if I have to go to the bathroom or fix myself something to eat. I'm so tired the entire day I can barely form a thought. I keep telling myself she's my daughter and I should love her. I'm so lucky to have a baby when so many people all over the world would love to be in my situation. I have some close friends that keep trying and not succeeding. I should be grateful, I tell myself, this is a blessing. Children are a blessing, BabyG is healthy and growing. I search the internet about her nursing habits, I check her temperature, everything is normal. It's a growth spurt, her doctor's appointment was in just a couple days away so I decided to stick it out as long as her temperature stayed normal.

Before I know it the sun has dipped behind the horizon and I'm starving. I had managed to eat a few things that take the less effort possible but we hadn't gone grocery shopping so we needed something and quick because my patience was well overspent.

Hubby gets home and changes into his comfy street clothes and plops down on the couch to play on his phone with little to no response to my inquiry on dinner. This is something new has been doing, the tango of who's going to do what. No hint of moving when a decision is made so it makes me think we're at a stand off. The anger builds behind my eyes and flexes it's muscles, I hand him his angry baby who had been nursing for almost a full hour and said, "I'll go. You stay here. Text me what you want." With that, I was out. I stuck the key in and pushed the button to start the car. I had a surge of excitement as I slowly pulled out of the apartment parking lot. This was the first time I was out of the house without the baby. My self awareness slowly seeped back. My teeth weren't brushed, I looked down and noticed I was basically in pajamas and with a glance in the mirror I see my nasty hair-- When was my last shower? Well, fuck.

I was just going through a drive through anyway, I reasoned with myself. Who cares. I'm still fuming about how passive and "who cares" attitude Hubby had when very obviously I was starving and it would've been nice if he had offered to help me with his daughter. I drove the exact speed limit to expand my time out of the house. "We don't have onion rings," the first place I stopped at tells me through the speaker box. Her attitude was too much. "Fuck this place. Cancel my order." I bark at her through the box. Okay, she had some tude but cussing at her wasn't nice. I thought about apologizing but I knew anything I had ordered in it's place would come with special teenage spit-sauce so I decided to go somewhere else instead. I drive in the opposite direction and decide I need wine. I instantly knew why my BFF use to tell me about drives she would take, just circling around my tiny little town wasting a few hours to blow off some steam. She would just use the time to gathering herself and maybe cry to herself about the recent frustrations.

I parked in front of a department store and cried. I turned the car off and sobbed as loud as my body would allow. People slowly walked by and tried to stare without me noticing. I didn't care. I wanted to scream: "I HAVE A BABY AT HOME, I NEED THIS! SHUT YOUR FACE!" I rested my forehead on the steering wheel and let the tears roll down my nose and drop, drop, drop down into my lap. I shouldn't have cussed at the fast food chick, no matter how snotty she was. Her day was obviously going south as it were. Hell, I may have just projected her being snotty and she wasn't even meaning to sound the way she did. Maybe Hubby wasn't being evasive when he got home? Was I projecting that too? No, he was totally being evasive and avoidy and totally unacceptable. I check the time, I've been gone for twenty minutes at this point. Twenty glorious minutes. I tell myself I'll take a full hour. Yeah, fuck it. I had just fed BabyG before I left so I deserve an hour, she won't be starving.

I even entertained the thought of not going back at all. What would happen if I just took off? I grip the steering wheel with both hands at ten and two. I flex my fingers and close my eyes. I imagined seeing the road slip underneath the car in the night. I picture me driving to Florida and sleeping on the beach then waking up the next day to finish the drive to North Carolina. I just wanted to cry on BFF's shoulder and curl up on her couch in a drunken stupor. Yeah, I could do that. I tried to factor in how much gas money I'd need. Wait. What am I doing? I can't leave my baby, I can't leave Hubby. What would Hubby do with me gone? He'd do fine. I knew he'd do fine. BabyG would be fed formula and Hubby would divorce me and find a beautiful woman that BabyG would call Mommy and forget all about me. I was the deadbeat mom. He was the savior. My stomach turned at the thought of someone else raising my kid. I couldn't do that. I tried to beat myself up about thinking about such an atrocious thing but there wasn't enough room in my soul for more sadness.

I spent a full hour shopping for my wine and just taking laps around the store. It felt nice to walk around unattached. I kept checking my phone and wondered why Hubby hadn't texted me yet. Did he even care I was gone? Whatever, I thought. Maybe he is mad at me. O well, I'm mad at him, I thought. I picked up a few things on a whim and decided I needed a book. Growing up in a small town with a bunch of dumb rednecks I quickly learned that reading was a prime escape when I couldn't physically disappear. I self medicated with wine and a book. I paid for my items and realized I would still need to bring home food. I stopped at a burger place attached to the same parking lot just in time to receive a text message.

  -Where are you?
 -I'm on my way home.

Nothing else. He didn't ask where I had been or inquire more about anything. Augh. As I'm parking I can see in through our open window, he is pacing with BabyG. He stops when he notices me and looks pissed as I'm unloading the bags from the car. I think about getting back in the car and driving off. No, I think, I have to face this. I make my way up the stairs and put some groceries away and pour myself a glass of wine. BabyG's lips were dry and she looks uncomfortable. Hubby drops some guilt on me about how hungry she is. I was only gone two hours. Whatever, I think, who cares? I'm just baby food. I had resigned myself to being an object rather than a person.

"Where is your food?" He asks.
"I decided not to eat." I respond. He just stares at me. I take a seat next to him and notice he's eating french fries, "Are there onion rings in the bag?"
"Goddammit. The whole fucking reason I went there was because the first place 'didn't have anymore onion rings' Stupid bastards." My rage is way too much at that point. I just lean my head back on the couch and try to shove it all back in the bottle.
"You okay?" He asks.
"No, I'm not." I instantly start crying, his face softens. I unload on him how I felt while I was out.
"You matter too, ya know." He says, shoving fries in his mouth. "You want some?" 
I shake my head no.
"You need to eat. You have to eat. BabyG depends on you. What's wrong?"
I cry a little harder, I only exist so she can. Great. What about me? "I'm just depressed."
He gives me a really long look, I look away but every time I look back he is still looking at me, searching for something to say then he breaks the silence, "Anything I can do?"

It's moments like that, that validate why I married him. Then I realized that if I had left we would've never had that conversation. It's so easy to leave, it's so much harder to stick with it. No matter how easy it is to be in love with Hubby, co-existing with someone and raising a third party is difficult. Juggling each other, work and a baby is hard. Being under the universe's thumb while trying to successfully function is hard.

Reading has helped, by the way. Hubby has started helping around the house more and the next day wasn't quite as hard. Every day it seems like BabyG lays on the floor longer, is happier with more tummy time and some times I even get a little longer between feedings. Every day is different. Some days are a breeze while others are full of challenges. I'm grateful and very lucky to have a spouse that is willing to put forth an effort and help me when requested. He even helps without my request, too. While I have a great support group they are on separate coasts and it isn't an easy drive. None of our friends here have kids and meeting people is hard. I'm glad I didn't leave but now I understand why people do... But leaving is a bad choice, it leaves lots of room for regret. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Through a Window

I've heard a lot of new mothers (and mothers of older children) all express the isolation that comes with caring for a newborn. I had never felt that until tonight.

Mostly my days consist of trying to wake up and by noon I feel like I should do something other than be in pajamas. By two o'clock I have changed into yoga pants and take my hour walk. By the time I get back home around three-ish (or four-ish depending on how prompt I was at two to leave the house) I come home, shower and cool off or do some arm stuff with the little weights my mom bought me for mothers day. Either way, it's a time warp to eight pm when Hubby comes home. I don't know how my day just breezes by so fast but it does. My whole day just vanishes before my eyes.

Not today thought...

today crawled...

Because I had plans.

Yup, that's right! I had made PLANS! To go somewhere! Without Hubby, for a knitting group. Knitting is my thing. I had found a group online that is local and was going to meet them at a coffee shop. I started getting ready hours before, pacing. Meeting new people is a big thing for me. I have to mentally prepare myself. It takes stuffing my anxiety deep within myself and tricking myself into thinking I'm a social butterfly. I told BabyG all day about our adventure to a coffee shop to knit with some nice ladies from the internet. I told her she had to be strong for me, because I was very nervous about the whole thing.

 Her little eyes grew big as I put on make up for the first time in months and curled my hair. She didn't recognize me. I had to talk to her and kiss her to remind her I'm her mother. Her mother with make up and hair fixed. A mother she had never seen before. As I convinced her I was her mother, I convinced myself I could do this. I waited to be kind of early but late for the time given to meet. I didn't know anyone so I wanted to recognize the group of ladies knitting rather than them having to approach me.

Did I mention when I'm graciously nervous about an event I always show up extremely early?

Well, I wasn't extremely early but I was early nonetheless. That's okay though, I thought. I needed to get out of the house anyway. Spend a few dollars on myself and soak up being in public with my face painted on and my hair being the best it has been in days. I bought my tea and cookies. I nervously glanced around while I purchased said items and spotted no one knitting. Fuck. I'm early. But I was... eight minutes late. Fuck. O well, I take a seat outside on the patio by the door. I post on the forum of the group and tell them where I'm at and what I'm wearing. Someone response with "I'm late, but I'll be there!" so I'm hopeful.

Well, an hour and a half rolls by and no one has approached me a I, either didn't see, or overlooked ladies walking in with knitting supplies. BabyG has officially gotten bored with her surroundings and even though I bravely breastfed her in public she was done with her nap as well. As I gulp down my last sips of tea in a rush to escape this public place with a screaming baby I glance in to the coffee shop and notice a group of ladies laughing and knitting. It was like in a movie. Sound stopped, I could hear their laughter louder for a split second and then was vacuumed back out into the reality outside. I could hear only birds and their laughter. I was back in high school again and the cool kids were kicking me out of a conversation I know something about. I was all dressed up for prom and my date was dancing with another girl. My internet date had turned out to be a classmate playing a cruel joke on me. I was alone. I was literally outside looking in on something I wanted to be apart of.

Obviously I'm an adult now and these ladies don't know me. They might have recognized me from the forum but are just as coy as I am. I can rationalize why I wasn't approached or simply they just didn't see me.... or it wasn't them at all. All day I had thought about the conversations I could have with these ladies and possible friendships that could grow from it. I thought about what they would be like. I paced the house today worried they would hate me and I would get coffee poured on me and they would drag me out by my hair. Okay, so maybe that last one is a bit extreme but I haven't "put myself out there" to meet people in such a way for awhile and last time I was in a knitting group there was a forty year gap between me and the second youngest.

I played out the scenario of me going in and awkwardly introducing myself and then saying "Hello. Goodbye." No, I couldn't do that. BabyG was very serious about not wanting to be there anymore and Hubby was due home soon. The empty cup hits the trashcan and I let out a big sigh. O well.

Maybe next week.