Confessions of a Sleepless Mama

baby in cribI’m at my wit’s end. I’ve never experienced this before. #1 was a fairly easy baby, especially once we figured out he had a milk allergy. And, up until now, #2 has been fairly smooth sailing. Up until now.

Now, I’m pulling my hair out in frustration. I’ve abandoned movies half-way through only to run into the bathroom to sob in silence – or in as much silence as I can muster through the baby monitor screams piercing my brain. I’ve woken at the slightest sound of him possibly waking to sit with bated breath, waiting for his hysterics to come. I’ve been wracked with guilt from leaving him in the crib, my heart tearing with each of those guttural, shaking sobs. I’ve been to the point of crying with frustration as he rolled and flopped across my bed as crocodile tears rolled down his cheeks, not content to be in my arms or to nurse. And before any of you “no crying it out” gurus out there jump on me, trust me… Sometimes it’s much better for them to be in the crib. I would neverever hurt my child, but I’d like to see you go 2 hours against a baby determined to be so exhausted that screaming is his only option without giving in to the urge to rip out your hair. I dare you to try it.

I wondered if it was some kind of pain. Ear pain, tooth pain, growing pains. Alas, today we had a lovely 2 1/2 hour scream fest complete with the works: puke-inducing screams, not content to nurse, not wanting to snuggle, determined to stay awake… And he had Tylenol in him. I rarely use Tylenol. I use it for emergencies only, like when #1’s fever spikes and I’m worried he’ll go into a febrile seizure emergency. That’s how frustrated I am. I don’t know what’s wrong, and I don’t know if he’s hurting, so I’m dosing up my baby. I’m at a loss.

I know there are lots of other moms out there who are going through this, too. I want you to know that I feel your pain. Before, I didn’t quite get it. Now, I’m in the corner of the closet with you, crying along with the baby. My husband thinks I’m losing it, though he’s been amazing at trying to help. There’s just something about a baby’s cries that pierce right to our hearts, and to not be able to do anything to fix it is a horrible, helpless feeling. We’re Mom. We’re supposed to kiss boo boos and magically make them better. We’re supposed to be that enchanted pillow where every little head falls to sleep. And instead, we’re rejected, left to wonder what’s gone wrong and why we have no power here.

It isn’t that they don’t love us. Just a moment with #2 proves that. I’ll be covered in slobbery 9 month old baby kisses or patted not-so-gently across the eye. They love us. And they know that we’re there for them. It’s just that those moments, at least for me, leave me full of doubt and frustration. The worst thing about it is that for once in my life, I don’t know how to fix it. I’ve faced milk allergies, I’ve faced illness, I’ve faced febrile seizures and dehydration and potty training a kid who insists on pooping in his pants. I’ve tackled baby care without the help of anyone else, and I’ve battled nursing issues. All of those, though, I was able to conquer. I figured it out, powered through it, whatever.

This, I don’t know how to conquer. I wake up dreading the day’s sleep times. I lay him down with my best attempt at hiding the panic and rush out just as he sits up to scream. I pray for peace and quiet, but expect to want to beat my fists against the wall come 3 AM. I’m just glad I’m not alone.

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