Recovery sucks


My son slept terribly last night, the fallout from too much travel and change and fun. My husband brought him to me mid-morning and he napped for three hours, then again for two hours late in the afternoon.

Smart people just thought, “Uh, oh.”

Yup. At bedtime, the still overtired (but fresh off a long nap) kid spent almost an hour not staying asleep, either flopping around or whining or (the very, very worst) crying like someone just killed his puppy. It’s so sad.

Sadder yet is standing outside the door to his room crying because the only thing we can figure is that he needs to work himself down before he’ll sleep. I never figured I’d be such a softie, but here I am. Super soft. If I don’t comfort my sad, crying baby, how am I his mother?

I was reminded of those awful days when I was trying to breast feed and feeling like a failure because my son was crying out of frustration, and the biggest (most secret) reason I wanted to succeed was this: if I didn’t breast feed him, how would he know I was his mother?

It’s a ludicrous question now, but it felt perfectly valid when I was still adjusting to my new role as a mother. The answer: I’m his mother simply because I am. That’s all, and enough. Christians believe they are worthy of forgiveness simply because they are, and so goes this motherhood thing. I’m his mama not because I grew him in my body and got him out successfully*, but because I love him like only his mama can.

And so I remind myself — hours after he finally fell asleep but not long enough for me to shake the feeling that I failed him somehow — that nobody can love my kid like I do, and he can’t help but feel that even as he cries that sad cry and wonders why I can’t make it all better. I wish I could, but my role is as a guide and helper, not fixer. Well, not all the time.

*I had a c-section, and despite the success of that procedure in producing a healthy, happy baby, I felt for a long time like I failed him for the first and seemingly most critical time by not being able to birth him myself. I went over each moment obsessively, trying to learn from the experience as though I could go back and make it all right. Did the downhill spiral begin when I went to the hospital (note my phrasing, as though I wasn’t directed to go straight there by the most anti-intervention practitioners I could choose) or when I went for the epidural like a starving person at a buffet? Now I know — or try to know — that it doesn’t matter. He’s here and healthy and won’t likely think to ask whether he was pushed out of my parts through the sheer force of my will or cut out of my body through the expertise of someone else’s until his pregnant wife makes him ask me. The circumstances, ultimately, matter far less than the desire. I wanted — deeply, fervently wanted — to do whatever was best for him.


3 thoughts on “Recovery sucks

  1. Sometimes as a mommy you know your baby’s schedule and needs better than he does. I’m not big on the cry it out methods but about once or twice a week my daughter ends up exhausted and refusing a bottle so therefore unable to calm down enough to eat and then go to sleep. I find that a little time in her crib (even if she’s crying) will cause her to come to her senses enough to take her bottle, settle down, and go to sleep. What I’m trying to get at is that I definitely understand the feelings of helplessness when you have to let your child cry because its best for him while feeling like you’re the worst person ever because you aren’t calming him down. At first I used to lay on the couch with pillows over my ears and just cry, but now I find that I feel better if I use those few minutes to do something productive around the house like laundry, dishes, or general straightening- sometimes even taking a shower works, anything to keep you busy so you aren’t just sitting there waiting for him to chill out. Anyways you definitely aren’t alone- Good Luck!

  2. post travel baby is never easy. makes you kinda wish you didn’t go in the first place. takes my daughter about a week to settle back into her usual routine, but the first night is just awful, but every night gets just a little better, a little better, and then ahhhh, back to the happy night time routine that we know they can do.

  3. Love your blog but I have to add…

    Christians don’t believe they are worthy of forgiveness, they believe they are unworthy and that is why it is all the more amazing God chose them to forgive and save.

    Don’t want to be a pain, but had to clarify!

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