Sunday, January 18, 2015

Am I just not normal?

Lately several people on Facebook have been posting this article all about what people really should have warned an expectant mother about when she was pregnant.  All about how she got warnings about things like childbirth being painful, or never having a moment to herself again etc. but no one warned her about how her heart would be seized immediately by a tiny precious miracle and she'd never be the same again or whatever.  Lots of people posting the article are talking about how it made them cry because it was just all so true.  I read it.  It made me cry as well, but for other reasons.  Namely that I couldn't relate to it at all, and I felt like there was something wrong with me.

That's not true.  Not exactly.  I do love seeing my husband with our daughter and I think it's awesome to watch him step in to be a dad.  Sometimes, I actually find it difficult to watch, because he seems to have slipped into the role so much more seamlessly than I have.  I still don't feel like a "mom".  I guess I thought there was going to be some mental switch that flipped in my head the second I saw her, and that everything would seem somehow different.  It hasn't been like that.  I don't feel like my mom trigger got tripped.  I just feel like me, trying to navigate the needs of someone else without making too many mistakes.

The article talked about how waking up to care for the needs of your baby is one of the most rewarding things you'll ever do, and those quiet mornings together become your favorite moments when you get to snuggle and share that time, just the two of you.  I have felt none of that.  Mostly I just sit there, watching her slurp down a bottle, wondering how long it will be before she finishes, and how difficult it will be to burp her when she's done, all because that hinges on how quickly I can go back to sleep and all I really want to do is sleep.  When she makes me work half an hour to get a burp out of her, and then fusses for another half hour after that so that by the time she's back asleep, I have a whopping 45 minutes before I will need to be up again for her next feeding, I don't feel anything other than exhausted and a bit frustrated.  I know, I'm supposed to be enamored, but I'm not.  I'm just tired, and sometimes I resent my husband who is able to snore his way through the whole thing all night while I'm up trying to get her to sleep.  The sad thing is, I have zero right to resent him at all.  He's been awesome.  We have worked as a team and he's given me several mornings where I can sleep late while he gets up with her, but there's something about having to get up out of your warm bed at 4 a.m. while someone else gets to keep sleeping away that just makes you frustrated.

The article also talks about how when you leave the house without your baby, you'll be constantly texting for updates or wondering what's going on with her, and that's just what life will be like from now on.  Except that I don't feel like that.  I had to buy diapers one afternoon and my husband told me to go to the store by myself while he kept the baby, and I cried because I felt like I should protest and feel terrible about leaving her behind, but what I felt was....relief.  The idea of going out by myself was so nice.  So appealing.  And my husband hasn't felt the need to step out and be I feel terrible because I'm pretty sure it makes me a terrible mom.  Same with going to my holiday party for my office.  We left her with my parents, and I didn't feel the need to check up on her all night.  I didn't need to know what was happening, or constantly check to make sure she was doing ok.  I just left her and felt confident that everything would be fine and I'd come get her later.  Later I did feel anxious, but it was because I felt like I just wasn't being a good parent by being so calm and ok with leaving her for a few hours. I not normal?  Is there something inherently wrong with me?  Am I really just not cut out for this mom thing?  I wish I knew.  I love her.  She's adorable, and tiny, and nice to snuggle with, but at the same time.....I still wish I had a full night of sleep, and I like being able to go out alone, or with just my husband, and I don't obsessively need to know what she's doing all the time.  I'm ok with letting her cry for a few minutes if I'm busy with something, and when she wakes me up at 4 a.m., I have a moment where my first thought is "I don't want to".  What does all of that mean?  Why does this seem so hard for me to be like everyone else seems to be in this whole motherhood thing?  Why can't I sit there and talk about how peaceful and beautiful it is to get up and feed her or change her diaper in the middle of the night?  Am I broken?


  1. From your posts pre-birth to now I can see the same fear is lingering. Of being a "good" mom. What is important is that you are *your baby's* mom (wasn't sure if I should post her name on here). You can't compare yourself to other moms or even to your husband because the way you do it, however that way is (even if you feel it's different from the "norm"), is as HER mommy. It's your way, it's your child. It will work for her because she is yours. A piece of her, that she can't communicate to you for a few years, is just like you. You just don't know it yet! Hey, what is "normal" anyway? You are doing just fine. You don't have to be anybody but her mom, not some imaginary Supermom, and just being yourself will work fine.

  2. I hope that made some sense. Those other moms can never be better than you because you're her mom, no one can ever replace that. There's nothing like the real thing! When you start to feel bad just start singing, "ain't nothing like the real thing, baby..." by Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye. In the very least it might be fun for your husband to think you've finally lost it :D