Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hard Times

I've had a headache since Friday night.

I thought it might be related to the mastitis, but my fever is gone and my breast feels better, so I'm thinking maybe it's due to not sleeping more than a couple of hours at a time. It could also be due to stress.

It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I do NOT deal well with stress. I may seem okay, but I'll get physical symptoms, such as rashes, panic attacks, missed periods, or, as I learned last summer, shingles. Also, I have a tendency to do that camel/straw/broken back thing. I'll think I'm handling things okay, and others will think I'm okay, but all I need is that one straw, no matter how insignificant it may seem to anyone else, or in the grand scheme of things, and I'll totally break down. Then it looks like I'm an idiot freaking out over nothing, when really, it's a lot of things.

Obviously, having a newborn is stressful. I think having a newborn and being pretty much clueless about babies is harder. I also think that having a newborn, being clueless about newborns, and being without much of a support system in place (such as a mom, local family, best friend, etc) besides your husband, who is at work all day anyway, is even harder. Now factor in a general anxiety disorder, sleeping only 5-6 hours a night in 2 1/2 to three hour chunks, and those famous "baby blues"...

Yeah, I totally had a meltdown last night. I guess I was due.

I feel like crap. I look like crap. I wear my pj's all day, because what's the point of getting dressed? I don't go anywhere, I'm probably going to leak milk all over myself, or the baby will spit up on me, and this way, if the opportunity DOES arrive to sneak in a 30 minute nap, I'll be ready. I'm tired, and I look like I am tired. I can't remember the last time I did my makeup, beyond smearing some eyeliner across my lashline before going to a doctor's appointment and my pedicure is a month old and chipping.

My stomach is covered in stretch marks that are PEELING for whatever reason. I thought I knew what flab was before - but I was wrong. My skin resembles a balloon that was overinflated, then deflated. If I bend over, it literally just hangs there. Where that nice, flabby, saggy skin folds over, and about an inch or two above my c-section scar, there is an area that is about 1 1/2 inch wide that spans almost the width of my torso where the skin has darkened, gotten rough, and is NUMB. That's right, I touch it, and there is no feeling there. Oh, and of course, there's that pretty c-section scar to add into all that equation.

I know I couldn't wear a two piece bathing suit before, because I was overweight and out of shape, but at least there was hope that one day, I'd be able to get my act together and wear one in public. Now, I have no hope. My stomach is wrecked.

My house is a mess. I haven't cleaned a damn thing since before the baby was born. My husband keeps the kitchen clean and does laundry, but everything in here is covered in a thick layer of dust and the bathrooms are needing a good scrub too. The front patio is covered in dust, dead leaves, and pine needles. The car, our nice new car, is just shamefully filthy, which is so bad for the paint.

Sawyer hadn't been sleeping all weekend, instead choosing to cry and fuss. Although now I know for sure that he was indeed overtired (which was my suspicion all along) and he was cold because I was not putting warm enough clothes on him due to being hot myself, it was frustrating at the time to both me and my husband. My mother in law was sure that the baby was not agreeing with the breastmilk and needed to be switched to soy formula because that happened to my husband when he was a baby.

I may not know a lot about babies, but I do read a TON and I knew that if this was indeed the problem, either he'd be spitting up or he'd be in so much pain that he'd be pretty much inconsolable - neither of which were happening. I told her this, but we kept going around in circles and finally I think she got mad at me for not listening to her that the boy needed to go to the doctor and she hasn't talked to me since. This stresses me out to no end, because I do truly love my mother in law, and don't want to have a strained relationship with her at all.

Last night, my husband and I got into an argument. He does this thing where he'll get mad at me for having the audacity to get mad at him, because he has a hard time admitting to me (although strangely, ONLY with me) that he screwed up. Then I end up even madder than I was in the first place! So the the baby decides to start screaming, and my head felt like it was going to split in two, and I was just so exhausted, and I finally cracked. I sat down on the couch, took off my glasses, and started to cry.

While I was crying, and sitting there completely overwhelmed by everything, for a brief second, across my mind flashed - Why Can't Everything Just Go Back To The Way It Was Before?

Immediately, I felt ashamed. I'm ashamed of myself now, just remembering it. How could I think that? What the hell is wrong with me? How could I even entertain the thought of NOT having this little man in my life? How selfish could I be?

And then -

I'm a bad person. THAT is why this is happening. Only bad people think things like that. If I were a truly good person, life would be easier. The fact that I'm struggling, and everything is so freaking HARD is no one's fault but my own.

I feel guilty. Guilty for standing up for myself and being hard on other people when they treat me bad, so that now I am left without many friends and lots of family. Guilty for not being able to help around the house because I had to have surgery and couldn't get around for so long afterwards. Guilty for getting sick this weekend and having to have my husband take care of both me and the baby YET AGAIN, so soon after I started to finally feel better. Guilty for being tired all the time and not having the energy to do anything around the house. Guilty for not loving on the dogs like before because there simply isn't enough time in the day and other things have to take priority. Guilty for looking like crap all the time lately. Guilty because I still can't drive and my husband has to run every errand for me and the baby and take time off work to take us to doctor appointments. Guilty because I have to go to the bathroom eventually and a lot of times, that means I have to put the baby into the crib and just let him scream these loud, panicky, pained cries that just break my heart. Guilty for wishing, just for a second, to go back to no baby at all, so I could be well rested and pretty and happy. Guilty for so, so very much.

Of course, it probably doesn't help at all that I've been in this house for the past three weeks straight. We went to Target and the grocery store last Saturday, and Babies R Us the night before that. Other than those two outings, the only places I've been since the baby was born have been doctor visits. We haven't really had any of our friends stop by to visit either. Poor Susan, I'm sure I about talked her ear off while she was here, I was so happy for some company! Same thing with my friend who stopped by last night.

My entire social circle for the last month has been mostly made up of my husband, the baby, the dogs, and medical professionals. I've been spending a lot of time checking Facebook and Twitter, and reading blogs, because then I feel like I'm at least a little bit connected to the outside world. That's kind of pathetic and makes me feel bad about myself.

Maybe that's the problem lately - I'm feeling really bad about myself. I've reached a point where I'm NOT good at what I'm doing, nor do I have the option of simply not doing it anymore. There's a steep learning curve happening here, so it's not looking like I'm going to be getting it any time soon. I look bad, I feel bad, my environment is bad...

Is it any wonder I'm having a hard time?


Blogger kingsqueen said...

Awww, honey, you've got the baby blues bad. Just as long as you are not thinking of harming yourself or your baby, that is the important thing. I would gladly watch your little guy for a few hours for you if I could so you could get some rest. It IS hard to do it without support. And you shouldn't feel one bit guilty for handing Sawyer over to Daddy for a bit when he gets home from work. Your husband may not understand it, but you have had just as hard a day as he has and need a break too. (Men just don't get it sometimes.)
It is a difficult adjustment sometimes, but it won't last forever. You will get into a groove eventually and the world will right itself again.
I remember one night with my little one when he woke up crying in the middle of the night and kept crying. I started crying with him and begging him to Please Please PLEASE stop and go back to sleep. I was soooooo tired, I just felt like I could NOT do this anymore. And when was my life going to be "normal" again?
It will all be okay. And you are NOT a bad mama for having thoughts like this. You are exhausted is what you are. I hope things start to get better soon.
And don't worry about the house so much, trust me. I've got much lower standards with a toddler running ar ound messing everything up behind me! LOL.

2:48 PM  
Blogger AZAnjanette said...

awww see now I remember I am not the only one who doesn't have a clean house. You're in good company LOL. I guess that's why they came up with that bumper sticker that says 'Make scrapbooks, not dinner'. You could put any other word in there and it would apply. I finally decided that I would never get caught up on scrapping if I kept worrying about cleaning the house first. So when I have the urge to scrap, house be damned, that's what I do. Oh and last I checked, my car has never screamed at me for not washing it, so I'm still good there too...although it would be nice to one day not have so many fingerprints on the back windows.

3:11 PM  
Blogger Hooptee said...

You are not alone! Last night when my little one was on hour 2 of crying, I was crying along with her. My dh is sick and was knocked out on cold meds. I just wanted to let her cry it out in the crib.
My house is a mess too. I have spit up down my sleeve and nothing ready for dinner. It's so hard sometimes.
Hopefully you can get out soon. Just being in a public place strangers will want to talk to you b/c of the baby. Hang in there, take a walk, a long bath, etc. Soon these little ones will reward us with a smile! And feel free to peamail or email me anytime if you need to complain!

3:27 PM  
Blogger rstroh said...

he's a beautiful baby, sara! and you are a beautiful new mama. don't worry about the housework, or doing everything perfect. i was in your very same situation 28 years ago when matthew was born/c-section/infection in my stitches. he nursed every couple of hours and slept in snippets in between. nursing gets easier and more comfortable. as you learn to relax and feel more confident, sawyer will too and he will start sleeping better. we found that matthew slept better when we left the music on very low. my daughter-in-law found that the noise of a fan (pointed away from the crib) helped our grandaughter sleep. whatever works, works. it just takes a little time. all the feelings you are experiencing are natural for someone in your situation.

being a new mom is not a easy job and everyone, even not so new moms have good and bad days. i wish you good days and peace.

joan (momomadeit)

10:23 PM  
Blogger Maggi said...

I guess I'm a bad person, too, because I can't even begin to tell you how many times "I want things to be the way they were, before" has popped into my mind. I love my daughter dearly, but I had absolutely no clue just how terribly difficult this was all going to be. I refuse to believe you're awful; nothing of what I've read through your blog, emails, and forum posts has given me the inclination that you're anything less than a great person.

As far as not being good at what you're doing, I spent a good six hours trying to get my baby to go to sleep, tonight. My aunt can do it in less than one. She's never had children. What. The. Heck. You've got to be doing better than me, hon. <3

4:19 AM  
Blogger em said...

:( So sorry you have having a bad day...I think it must just be a huge shock to the system to have a baby...and you are bound to feel this week! Don't get down! I think things will get better soon!!! :)

4:53 AM  
Blogger Zee said...

Oh sweetie, sigh. You know from our last conversation I went through all of this too. I'm scared about baby #2 coming because I finally felt I was getting back into the swing of things. Hell, my place is such a disaster right now because I'm so tired all the time. I too didn't have a support group and only 3 people who came to my shower have actually met Asa, despite my invites and notes saying I haven't forgot them but please call and stop by...nothing.

The one great thing for me has been MomsClub. My one regret, not joining it while I was pregnant! Here's a link to the Arizona chapters Seriously this group is fantastic, AND gives you excuses to get out and socialize. I have even made two good friends from the group. It's worth a shot. (Most of these moms are in the same place, with little family in the area if any, etc...)

As for what you are feeling, emotionally, physically(including that wonderful belly sag) are felt by almost every mom, you are NOT alone here girly. One thing I can promise, by 3 months it should all start to come together, and a few months after that, you'll have a hard time remembering just how stressful it all was in the beginning. XOXOXO

12:25 PM  
Blogger mademoisellechitchat said...

Take a hot bath today and CHILL for at least 10 minutes. You are beating yourself up.


5:17 AM  

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