Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Wall

I think 4.5 months, for me, is the Wall Phase of infant development. As in, there's only so much sleep deprivation you can take, and then you hit a wall. That was me this past week. Jr. has been going through the so-called "4 month sleep regression" something terrible for the last 3-4 weeks, and it finally started catching up with me. A few days ago I began having that familiar feeling that I remember from when J was little, that I'm-going-to-start-climbing-the-walls-motherhood-is-kind-of-suffocating-me-right-now feeling. You know, the knot in your stomach and heart-racing instant stress you feel when the baby wakes up for the third time in 3 hours. And it's only 2am. The feeling that you want to go downstairs and run out the front door instead of getting up and trudging down the hall to the baby's room. Followed by the old resentment that only moms have boobs and therefore 90% of the middle of the night BS falls on you while hubby lifts his head for a few seconds to inanely tell you "I think the baby's up again" before falling back asleep. Then when you get to the baby's room and said baby starts kicking you in the stomach and pinching your breast and basically jacking around, waking up more instead of getting sleepier, for a few moments you think "Maybe this time you'll just have to cry, buddy" and consider not soothing him back to sleep even though you know he's still a little too young for that.

Of course this is all topped off by the immediate Mom Guilt that you even have such terrible, selfish thoughts. I sometimes wonder if dads have all of this internal turmoil, and something tells me...probably not. Between J and Jr. and work and pumping and what feels like a perpetually messy house and paying bills and stupidly re-starting Weight Watchers in the midst of all this stress, I definitely ran full speed into my Wall. Stick a fork in me, I'm a bit overdone. It's the usual Mommy song-and-dance: I feel like I'm taking care of everyone else, but no one is really taking care of me (including me). This morning I was looking in the mirror examining the horrid bags under my eyes and Oscar the Grouch-like unplucked eyebrows I've been sporting...when I spotted two new long gray hairs right at my hairline. Instead of being upset, I thought, "Yeah, that seems about right." Just in time for my birthday next week, too!

I know, I know, things could be worse. As someone reminded me this week, my kids are healthy and happy and in the grand scheme of things all of this is more annoying than anything else. I'm not going to die from being tired (although there's usually a freakout around 3am where I think that may be exactly what will happen). And Jr. is pretty cute, full-on laughing and "talking" and holding toys and making a valiant effort to roll over every day. I had to remind myself that all of these sleep "problems" are due to his little brain developing, a process I feel so blessed to witness again even though it's exhausting on my end of it.

So I plucked my eyebrows today, straightened my hair for the first time in weeks (and tried to ignore the alarming amount of hair in the drain and hairbrush, kind of forgot about that little postpartum gift, the hair loss), put some makeup on...and then fell asleep on my bed. Yeah, that seems about right.


LauraC said...

Jon went through this turmoil with me because we were up together taking care of babies, if that makes you feel any better? Sorry to hear about the wall, I know how you feel and fortunately you know it will get better soon. It's still so hard! Hang in there!

Maria said...

I'm sure it doesn't help today, but it will get better. He will sleep thrrough the night- that's why we all had second babies, because the first one was finally at a manageable phase (then we go and complicate it again!). Ha ha! Hang in there, it can't last forever, and he is so damn cute!

Lindsay said...

Hey - remember me? I am trying to find all of the old May Mommy Blogs again!

Anyway, I could have written your first paragraph. Lots of compassion from Texas!

Heidi O said...

And then there is the guilt if you do do something for yourself.

When you are ready... let's go get a drink. It would be nice to meet in real life.

Julie said...

Oh yeah, I hit the wall so hard my face is as flat as a pancake. Why are we getting less sleep at 4.5 months than at 2 months? WHY WHY WHY??

My house is a mess, I look like hell, my eyebrows are bushy and I can't remember the last time I flossed (gross, I know).

Last night Lacey was up every 20 minutes from 4:30-7am. I tried every swaddling permutation known to man--no swaddle, arms in, arms out, legs in, legs out. There was no sleeping happening. Ugh. I feel extra cranky today.

Joanna said...

I remember 4.5 being bad, but the 9 month sleep regression with Michael was traumatic. It's been three years, but I TOTALLY know where you are coming from. The hair falling out part really is just adding insult to injury.

Look on the bright side, in about 18 years, you can kick him out if he doesn't get his act in shape.