I sat in the rocking chair, nursing Baby J for the 3rd time in 3 hours, crying and lifting up prayers to God about where I was. Emotionally, physically, mentally. I found myself trying to think of the good moments. When they are there, they are amazing and wonderful.
Tonight, it was a smiley baby in the walker as I beckoned him to walk towards me. It was a happy baby at Target who would look up at me with amazement and awe. It was the smile he gave when the dog walked into his room. Those moments are so good.
But the dark moments are so…not. Like now, I sit at the dining table typing and stuffing my anxiety with chocolate donuts while Baby J screams his head off in the nursery. Because my husband is stuck at work until who knows when and this mama has hit her limit. And all I can think is that we need to lower the crib and what if he decides to toss himself over the edge in a fit of rage.
His little screams hit my heart like daggers. It’s been 5 minutes, maybe. But the tears stream down my face. The anxiety is bad lately- third night in a row where I have felt the throat-closing panic of anxiety around my heart. It moves up my spine to my shoulders and down my arms. I can’t sleep. I can’t think. I can’t relax. I can’t do anything.
Last night, the husband was home and able to calm me. Tonight, I am here alone with a screaming baby, a dog who is rife with anxiety himself, and a cat who is giving a big “eff you” to the household. And a bag of chocolate donuts.
He doesn’t understand why I left him in the crib. I know this. He feels hurt, deserted, unsure, scared. He wants to be held. He’s getting his 4th tooth today (not even 7 months old!) and he has been chaos. He screamed for 4 of the 5 hours that the nanny was with him today. He has woken up screaming every time he has woken up today, except once. We had an okay afternoon where he did not scream, but it took a lot of energy on my part.
Now I am just doing more damage. I know this. I know that when I go in and finally pick him up, he will be so upset that it will take me forever to get him calmed. But I don’t know if I can handle the screaming. I just wanted to put him in the crib for a few minutes- maybe 30- to get ready for bed. I just want to sleep. Like I have never wanted sleep before in my life.
Why am I here? Why has God given me a child that is so demanding when I am so tapped? Why am I struggling? I read a post about PPD and how it makes moms feel like they are bad moms- I do feel that way. I know it is not true, I know that it’s the darkness that tries to tell me that. But while my child screams, I can’t seem to feel anything but guilt and defeat. Shouldn’t I be able to handle this? Shouldn’t I be able to overcome? I am strong and able. I have conquered way more before.
Then I remind myself that this is not the same me as before. This is a different strength that I have to find. A different solution. It’s not about willing myself to do it- there is that. But it’s about taking one step and then another. And eating another donut or 2 before I face that tear-streaked, snotty-nosed, heart-broken child again.