Overwhelmed

It’s nearly 2am. I’m pacing around my house, probably embedding a path through the living room, around the kitchen island and back again. I have a baby secured to my chest with a $50 piece of cloth that took me a good hour to tie correctly the first time I tried. This baby will not go to sleep, and I keep thinking to myself, “All those people who told me a second baby is easier are liars!”

Jack is now 4.5 weeks old. Over the last week or so, he’s become more fussy, mostly in the evenings around 7pm. What starts out as fussiness turns into screaming of and on until 10:30ish when he finally passes out from sheer exhaustion. After that, he usually eats and goes right back to sleep each time he wakes for the rest of the night. Well, that’s how it was until today.

The witching hour has been all day.

The baby who usually sleeps at night is awake.

The mama who thought a second baby would be easier was not totally wrong but almost. And that mama is feeling overwhelmed.

It took me 4 years to get to the point where I wanted another baby. The first one was high needs. She was born three weeks early, which I feel contributed to the jaundice and reflux issues and later colic. She didn’t sleep in her crib until she was 5 or 6 months old. Instead, she slept in a swing or in bed with my husband and me, frequently waking and taking a long time to soothe back to sleep. Yes, I waited so long partially because I didn’t get “momnesia” to the point where I forgot enough to consider going through that process again any sooner.

Three years after my daughter was born, I was diagnosed with narcolepsy. My daughter was a rockstar sleeper, yet I was struggling to sleep when I needed to be asleep and struggling to stay awake when I needed to be awake. For a while, I tried to accept that it might not be a good idea to have anymore children, but it just didn’t feel right. Being a mom is the one thing I feel I’m good at (except right now as I continue to pace, unable to get this kid to sleep more than a couple minutes at a time if at all). So we made changes to make it possible. I stopped working full time and started working part time from home. We waited until it was about the point where our daughter would be starting school when number 2 was born so I would only have 1 kid during most of the day. I tried natural ways of improving my sleep and reducing fatigue. I felt ok. I felt empowered, actually. Like I could really manage it all while living with this stupid chronic disease. But now I’m here, and Jack is here, and it is harder than I expected. Harder than I hoped. Harder than I want it to be.

Because I’m so tired and sleepy despite my husband’s awesome help in making sure I get at least one decent 2 to 3 hour stretch of sleep a night, I am having a hard time bonding with my son the way I did with my daughter. I feel like a horrible mother for saying that. I know it’s the sleep deprivation talking. I know it’s the fact that the newborn period is just plain hard and I’m a bit pissed about feeling like a first time mom again. Yet I still feel like I was damn crazy to have another kid.

I miss having routines and schedules and stability. I miss being able to shower when I want and being able to snuggle with my husband in the evenings. I miss feeling adequate and like I halfway know how to be a good mom.

All I can do is remind myself that it does get better. He smiled at Julianne yesterday, his first real, social smile. Soon, he may smile at me and maybe I’ll start feeling like I know what the hell I’m doing.

Oh, look at the time. It’s 2:30 now. I’ve officially paced until it is time to feed him again. I can only hope this little guy goes to sleep after he eats this time…

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