So. I’ve gone and had a baby, and then I disappear from civilization.
No, not really. Well, sort of.
To be very, very frank (cos that’s how we rock on this blog), I have been struggling with motherhood. And most of the time, I am so overwhelmed and exhausted that the thought of blogging never, ever crossed my mind.
It started when Aidan was almost three weeks old. He suddenly stopped sleeping in the day, no matter what we did. My mama and I would rock, walk, sing, cuddle him and sometimes he would drift off to sleep. And when he did, it was only for 30 minutes or so and he would wake up a complete crankypants. And then we would have to repeat the entire cycle of soothing him again. And if he didn’t sleep well in the day, he would get overtired come nightfall and be a total screaming grouch for hours on end. We would then take two, sometimes three, hours putting him to sleep. And when he finally slept, he would fuss and cry throughout the night. To make things worse, I absolutely have not been able to nap in the day, no matter how exhausted I am.
Can you blame me for being tired?
There are some days when I would ring up husband in tears, telling him that I have absolutely no idea what the heck I am doing and that I am a terrible mother because I don’t know what the baby needed. And then there are days when I would wonder why motherhood doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s not postpartum depression, thankfully, but I just felt like this was something I could not cope with. Every evening, I would sit in the living room and wait for husband to get home because I felt so lonely with an angry baby grizzling by my side.
It’s gotten better and it’s all thanks to my mother. After my confinement period ended, she had to go back to her full time job of looking after my nephew. Rather than sit alone at home and despair of ever figuring out the kid, I decided to pop over to her place for a sanity break. At least I would be fed and have time to shower with her around. Plus, the nephew is such an amusing source of entertainment.
The good thing is, I have sort of established a pattern of Aidan’s sleeping habits. He doesn’t nap well in the morning but come afternoon, he could definitely sleep for at least a 45-minute cycle. If I am diligent and catch him before the cycle ends, he could go on for another hour or more. Of course, I am doing all the things that parenting books warn against: nursing/rocking/walking/holding baby to sleep. But at this point in time, I am just doing anything that gets my kid to sleep. Eventually, he would sort himself out.
In the meantime, I am gradually getting used to this motherhood gig and I am crossing my fingers that it will get easier and I will get better at it.
14 thoughts on “Slowly. But surely.”
Hang in there! You’re not alone. My niece used to only sleep for half an hour as well, so much that we were thinking of getting the halfanhour.com domain to blog her growth. Drove my sister in law nuts. But everything worked out and she’s a healthy 3 year old now. Plus, look at that cute grin – that’s gotta make it feel all worth while!
You are doing good, don’t doubt that! I don’t know what kind of babies parenting book authors have. No babies will be content being left alone in the cot to fall asleep by themselves. No. None. Really. Not one.
Ha! Just saw your tweet re stranger breaking into the house to breastfeed the baby. Well… Ask Miss Ene. We almost had to resort to that. Almost. Ha.
Hey babe, it WILL get easier. I did all of the above too, also ergo-ed my baby to sleep (when Vera was a baby that is), which my hubby often did because he doesn’t have the boobs. Even resorted to the yao-lan when Javier couldn’t sleep. I know. I can’t believe myself either. But it worked for a while, and my arms got some rest. Then I weaned him off it at around 5 months. Glad you’ve found some company and comfort in your mum and nephew. Just do what you can to keep your sanity! It WILL get easier. 🙂
Hang in there, babe. Yes, it will get better. Kayla is nearly one and she is still not a good napper. She wasn’t one right from the start. But it gets better as she is older because she doesn’t need that much day time sleep anymore so it gets less stressful. She still screams herself to sleep sometimes but I just let her.
You’re lucky you have your mum. 🙂
Not sure if you have come across this : http://www.theconnectedmom.com/2011/03/four-lies-sleep-trainers-tell-you-and.html?m=1
I nurse my baby to sleep but she started waking up after 20, 30 or 40 minutes when I snuck away to get some housework done. Eventually I became a human pacifier for her just so she could get some sleep. I was tired and so wrought with anxiety and guilt reading the “expert” advice on the net. Then I decided to google in Japanese and most of the moms said not to worry( a lot of ppl here co-sleep and nurse-to-sleep). It might take 1 year or 2 depending if you want to wean your kid or let him do it when he is ready. But once they are weaned from the breast and tired from running about exploring, they will sleep on their own. It sounds so long but I am trying to enjoy it. And i do love how my daughter roots for me it’s absolutely adorable. Tired as I might be I know this time will pass too quickly. The days are long but the years are short 🙂 the exact same quote that has been keeping me going. Jiayou to all of us tired moms who are so madly in love with our little ones.
Well done Mummy Y! You are an amazing mother and never question on your motherhood abilities because you are doing an absolute champ job. Motherhood is the toughest job and anyone who doesnt believe in this can go suck eggs. That’s why I told my mum a few weeks into motherhood that I have a total newfound respect for her! 🙂
I think you’re a wonderful mum. And it’s great to have the help of an awesome grandma too 🙂
Sorry, can’t quite relate cos I’ve never done this before, but I have seen friends going through sleep deprivation and getting absolutely fatigued. My own mum had help from her mum too 🙂
Becoming a mother really turns on the waterworks at its fullest capacity especially during the early months. My husband can testify to that, twice, once for each newborn we had.
I’m also stuck with a bad napper, make that 2. My elder girl when she was an infant & my 10 w.o boy. I’ve ploughed through many books & sites regarding sleep training, and the one that makes most sense to me is Baby Whisperer & its forum, with helpful moderators & mummies who share tips. The gist is, 30 min naps = Over tired/ Over stimulated baby, 45 min naps = Undertired.
I’m still stuck in this horrid phase, hanging on to the hope that it shall soon pass..
Yann: I have been a silent reader for a while but have been cheering on your adventures and journey with Aidan. My daughter almost drove me mad too with her 10 minute naps. She will sleep soundly when carried but when placed on the bed, she will almost always wake up within 15 mins – 30 mins. In the end, we caved in and bought her a sarong – and it worked. She could sleep for at least 90 mins – precious time for me to grab a bite, have a shower and feel human again. We also figured out that she is very sensitive to wetness and therefore switched from cloth diapers to disposables – she woke less often after that. All these went against what we read in books and wanted for baby but in the end, we learnt to go with the flow and adjust accordingly. Hope this helps and remember that the kiddos do grow up!
Thanks everyone for your support! I’ve been veering from feeling horrible about myself and motherhood, and adoring my little man. I know that the tough times will ease off somewhat soon but it is so hard to remember that when I am rocking him for the third hour and he is still screaming his head off.
Rebekah: thanks for the link! I love that article.
June: thanks for the assurance heh. 🙂
Hi there — I visit your blog now and then, but I confess I do feel a bit weird leaving a comment without knowing you 🙂 .
Still, I wanted to say that I completely agree with the article Rebekah posted. If you feel guilty about nursing/holding your baby to sleep, you’re reading the wrong parenting books! I won’t repeat what that article already says so well, but I wanted you to know that co-sleeping and nursing to sleep and wearing your baby in a sling all day are completely consistent with the principles of attachment parenting. Taking care of a newborn is exhausting work — there’s no question — and the fact that you are mostly alone with your baby during the day (despite clearly having a supportive partner) can’t be discounted. So cut yourself some slack and don’t feel bad for admitting to yourself or to others how very hard this is!
But I do think that some of these methods we shy away from because we think they’ll result in a “dependent” child (whatever that means and whyever that is supposed to be bad) actually make life easier for us. I basically trained myself to sleep through my daughter’s night-time nursing sessions (we co-slept and I nursed lying down, and within a few months I got to the point where I didn’t really wake up when she nursed); I wore her in a sling in order to get other stuff done around the house during the day; I learned how to type/use the computer while she slept on my chest. Now, when I list all this, it might seem as though I never had a moment to myself or that I totally sacrificed my freedom, but actually the opposite was true for me. I preserved my freedom and my sleep and my sanity by letting my baby be where she wanted to be, which was close to me at all times.
My daughter is almost three now, and yes, she still sleeps with us because that’s our choice as a family; I also still nurse her. But you wouldn’t necessarily have to do the same; you can reevaluate these choices as you go along, and find something that works for the whole family. I do think, though, that parenting in this way has had clear benefits for all three of us, and definitely for my daughter, who is very secure, has never fussed about bedtime or naptime (in fact she asks to go to bed when she’s tired, and parents of other toddlers are astonished by this!), and is attached to people instead of to objects: she’s had no problem sharing her toys even at the age of two, and is super easy to travel with because there are no toys/blankets/pillows/things that she simply must have with her at all times, apart from my boobs 🙂 .
My son is almost 3 now and as I read your latest post, memories of my kiddo doing a Crankypants on me during nap-time every single day flooded my mind. I remember wondering what i did wrong that he just would not go to sleep.
OMG. Those were horrendous days. When people ask me abt having a 2nd kid, I feel like snapping at them that I have enough of batshitcrazy days and pls mind their own biz.
Like you, I would sit in the living room in the evenings for my husband to return home. I would even stand by the window and look out for him! I felt lonely, helpless, hopeless and useless.
But things will get better. Really. Tried and tested! Hang on and try to think positive thoughts.
All the best!