"She will be our easy kid, I can just feel it" said my pregnant self...
It's been a whole year since my little peach was born. Her birth was complicated to say the least and we've struggled with her since. She didn't sleep and spent her waking hours screaming. Nothing seemed to help her and I spent most of my days feeling like I was failing. Shit, I'm crying already just thinking about it.
First off, you can't live without sleep. I remember being a total emotional wreck nearly every day. I couldn't handle anything and just sank into darkness loosing myself along the way. However, since I couldn't think, I could not see that this was due to sleep deprivation. I just thought that this was life and that's just how it was. It was when we finally sleep trained Georgia that I finally saw how terribly lack of sleep effected me.
Here's the thing, despite what you hear and see, parenthood can be very dark. My biggest problem came from my own illusion of what motherhood should be like. I was feeling all of these negative feelings and at the same time beating myself down for thinking the way I was when my thoughts were actually very normal thoughts for a person going through a very challenging season of life.
If I could go back in time and change one thing, it would be to go easier on myself. It's okay to struggle and it's okay to not enjoy motherhood all of the time. Yeah I know, "you'll look back and miss these days" blah blah sure but that doesn't mean I can force myself to enjoy a screaming baby whose biting my nipples trying to get milk that is slowly dwindling from stress all on 2 hours of sleep. Of course there were moments I enjoyed. Like the pure love and deep connection we shared but shit was I ever down most of the time.
I wrote in my journal once during this time, “Georgia, I feel so deeply connected to you. You are me, we are the same person. I see myself in you and you are nothing like your happy-go-lucky sister. You are deeply sensitive and unhappy almost always. It will take a long time for you to learn how to navigate this world. We are not sleeping and I lay awake with you at night trying to sooth you while you cry in my arms until I start crying as well. Eventually we both cry ourselves to sleep only to wake up in an hour and do it all over again. I know deep down that you are a happy girl and that it will take some time for that to shine through while we sort out whatever is bothering you.
Your sister is our sunshine girl but you, my sensitive girl, are our moon child.”
Then we sleep trained her and she became easier during the day and everything changed. Suddenly things were okay. Suddenly there were more good moments than bad and life went back to normal. I remember the day Georgia slept through the night for the first time. Out of no where, while I was driving, I just started crying happy tears and laughed to myself thinking, "holy crap I'm really really happy". All because I finally slept.
I think it's important to remember that it is okay and normal to feel negatively about parenthood sometimes. It's freaking hard. If you are feeling totally sleep deprived and upset remember to give yourself a break; what you are doing is no easy feat. Parenthood is filled with darkness whether we like it or not. The love and positivity outweighs it but it's there and you're not alone. Allow your negative feelings to come and go, flowing through you, and accept them rather resisting them and then move on.
I wish that I had accepted my emotions rather than beating myself down emotionally for feeling valid feelings. I might have been able to handle it all a little better.