Before you read, let's just cue up the Usher song in the background. We might need it to lighten up the mood. (Okay, it's a totally bummer song, but for some reason dramatic R&B makes me laugh...please don't judge.) Humor is good medicine, and my soul is feeling a little worse for wear.
Here we go. These are my confessions...
My mancub is almost 5 months old. He hasn't ever slept through the night. Not once. I might have missed the boat, thinking he would just eventually learn on his own. I didn't train him. I've been all over the place. Sometimes he sleeps with me. Sometimes I nurse him. Sometimes I let him cry. Sometimes I just cry with him. I don't exaggerate at all when I say, I have never felt more hopeless in some of those moments when he's crying, and I'm trying to decide whether to comfort him, nurse him, suffer with him, or toughen up and let him work through it.
Hopeless looks like crying, yelling at Mitch, trying to make my baby feel guilty (I thank God he can't comprehend the words that come out of my mouth sometimes), slamming doors, crying again, and cursing every method and book out there that promise a solution.
I'm just grateful a new day comes every 24 hours, and with it some hope that we're going to figure it out together. I try yet another book and lean hard on my mamas, sisters, and friends for support and guidance.
I'm not giving up, just admitting the struggle, and gaining understanding with it.
I understand rage now. On a deeper level than I ever have. I understand how exhaustion manifests in the very marrow of our bones. I have empathy for people's sarcastic responses, their negative outlooks, and haggard dispositions.
I understand now, it's not lack of sleep. It's defeat. It's anger without an outlet. Fury without a subject. It's fear. Deep, deep fear. I want more than anything for my beautiful baby to feel content, a sense of wellbeing. I want him to trust his nurturer. The only evidence I have for how he feels is his behavior. When he is inconsolable and on an unpredictable eating and sleeping rollercoaster, I can't help but feel like he's lost and feeling insecure. And it always feels like my fault.
I'm so afraid I'm fucking this up for him.
Somewhere inside, I know there's no rule book. I know every kid is different. I know some kids just cry. I know crying is just the way some kids express themselves. I know it's not my job to create a perfect kid, and that connecting his behavior to my sense of good mothering is dangerous. I know I won't be able to take credit if he saves the world, or blame if he destroys it. I know it. But I don't feel it.
I've talked about being stretched before. This new season in motherhood is stretching my heart, and not just for Phoenix. I have so much love for my fellow humans right now. I want to hug everyone, because fear is a painful companion, and I see it tagging along with people now. It's never been more present in my life. As I seek peace and patience, and practice taking deep breaths, I'm also looking at people with a new perspective. I'm on your side, and I'm rooting for you.
When I share the brighter moments out here in the webverse, know I'm clinging to them in my moments of defeat, spreading hope around in case you might need it as well. Know I'm thinking of you with a more open heart. I trust you more than I ever have, that you are doing your best. I hope that we will find our way. I'm glad we aren't alone, and that love wins...and for the moment, that my mancub is sleeping.
With a new kind of love -m