As I sit here drinking my second cup of coffee, I’m greeted by the sounds of my crying, cranky, teething baby being soothed to sleep by my husband.
By soothed, I mean that baby is screaming.
This is not what I thought parenthood would be.
Before having our son, I just knew we would be the best parents. I’m a teacher. He’s a nurse. Between us, we know everything there is to know about raising a baby…. Right?
A few weeks before we had our son, a friend had her son. He was beautiful! He slept through the night. He barely cried. He was a perfect baby. I was sure our son would be the same.
I didn’t sleep for the entire first week our son was born. I was a zombie. By the time I finished breastfeeding and pumping, he was awake and hungry.
After four months of struggling to build up a supply and supplementing with formula, I had to give up on breastfeeding. It broke my heart.
Going anywhere scared me. At any given moment, baby would decide to become hungry, cranky, or tired. He hated the car. On our first grocery shopping trip alone, he screamed for 30 minutes. By the time I finally arrived home, we both had tears in our eyes.
When he was six months old, I brought him to visit a friend at her home. At this point, I was desperately craving time away from home in the company of others. Thirty minutes into our visit, we had to leave. Maybe the sun was too bright? Maybe it was too hot? I had no idea…. All I knew was that I needed to stop the crying.
At seven months, my son had seven teeth. Just a few short weeks after he began sleeping through the night, the first one popped through. He hasn’t slept through the night since.
Do I think I am a bad parent? Do I think this is my fault?
Absolutely not. Though there are days when I wonder if this is my fault.
Did I do something wrong? Was it something in that first week? Maybe I’m not loving him enough? Maybe I’m a bad mother.
I want to fix it. I want my son to be like all the happy, easy-going babies that I see.
But I know I’m not alone. There are so many parents out there struggling with sleepless nights, cranky kids, and the intense loneliness of being a new parent.
It’s the loneliness that really gets me sometimes. Don’t get me wrong: I love everything about being a mom. My son’s smiles, his sweet moments, even the times that I get to soothe his tired anxieties. But it does get lonely.
At 11 months, my son is finally starting to mellow. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know that a wonderful spring of playdates, walks in the park, and new discoveries are just a few months away.
But for now, I sit with my half full cup of coffee. I’m listening to the wonderful, beautiful sound of silence. My husband is napping. My baby is napping.
And life is good.