Thursday, December 18, 2008

When Motherhood Makes You Feel Rotten

Jacob fell asleep gently in my arms tonight. I looked down at his peaceful, closed eyes and his pair of round cheeks in complete adoration. Getting up, I tiptoed into his room and slowly put him down in his crib. Turned on the baby monitor, snuck out the door and breathed a sigh of anticipated relief.

An hour later, I heard him stirring. Then the crying started. I tried to calm him by patting his tummy and offering him a pacifier but the crying wouldn't stop. UGH. I did not want to have to spend another hour trying to rock him to sleep. There goes my nice evening. So I decided to see if Jacob would quiet down on his own.

20 minutes later, the cries turned into screams. It became piercing. I was frustrated and upset. This was starting to become a nighty thing- Jacob waking up for no good apparent reason to scream his head off. I was getting so fed up with it. As Jacob screamed and thrashed in his crib I began to take it personally, like he was doing it just to piss me off. Each new cry made me angrier. I wanted to throw a stuffed animal into his red, screaming face.

That was it- I needed to leave the room and cool off.

I sat outside his bedroom door for another 20 minutes, anger stewing. When my ears could take no more, I reluctantly went in and picked him up. His face was hot and wet. His hands gathered the fabric of my sweatshirt and he clung desperately to me as if life, itself, depended upon it. His screaming stopped and was replaced with loud gasps for breath. He rubbed his head into my chest and sighed.

I immediately felt horrible. I cradled his shaking body and rocked him to sleep. I would have given anything to communicate an apology to him. To beg for his foregiveness. But he just wrapped his tiny hand around my finger and closed his eyes- as if to say "it's Ok." He's such a simple, little creature. He didn't care that I had abandoned him to cry for what seemed like forever. He didn't even need an apology. All he needed was to be held, by the rotten, selfish Mom.

They say a mother's love is unconditional. Maybe so, but a baby's love is simple and pure. I could never compete with that.


Portia said...

I know exactly what you mean. I've gotten so frustrated I just want to run away, and as soon as Eden calms down just a tiny bit, and especially if she clings to me for dear life, I completely melt, and wonder how this perfect little angel could have gotten me to that point.

Americas Next Top Lawyer said...

I experience this battle almost every night. I try to stand firm and allow him to "self sooth" as I am always being encouraged to do. And it seems when I want to have some quiet time to myself, Manning decides to throw the biggest fit. I try and I try to let him work it out on his own, but his persistence usually trumps mine- and when I finally do cuddle him up- he immediately relaxes and clings to me like I have been gone for days. I instantly feel awful and want to hold him tighter to make him feel even more secure. I have come to realize that his only needs in life right now are to feel safe and secure and that's my job- so I really can't get mad -that much:) And when I do, I'm just glad he doesn't hold a grudge and treat me like the mean mom, that I feel like.

Someone Being Me said...

So true. We have all been there. Eventually he will get past this stage so just try to remember when you get frustrated that it won't last forever. It is crazy how fast it passes.

Googie Baba said...

Hey Cee, I think every mom goes through this. My son was colicky and the first 3 months of his life were hell. I tried to "sleep train" him. When I would go into his room to check on him, he had these sad tears running down his cheek. I will never forget how horrible I felt.

He would only fall asleep in his baby bjorn with me walking outside in the middle of winter. All my neighbors made fun of me because I walked incessantly up and down the street.

Hang in there. Once his sleep becomes more regular, you will feel so much better.

Trannyhead said...

You poor thing. We've all been there, dear. Really.

And I agree with Googie ... once the sleep gets better, you'll feel so much better. The sleeplessness puts a HUGE strain on one's patience. Mine used to scream randomly many nights for like three hours and then eventually he'd fall asleep in an exhausted state.

You'll get through it, Mama.

FSD said...

Okay, that would freak me out. But I know it's par for the course, especially since babies can't tell us what they want or what's wrong.

I hope you didn't beat yourself up too bad over this. You're only human. Moms hit their breaking point too! (Be sure to give me a similar pep talk when I post a similar tale ~ smile)