Posts tagged ‘parenting after infertility’
I’ve been waking up at 4:30 or 5 a.m. the past 10 days. Partially because my back aches (we got a new mattress topper and it is not jiving with my lanky form) and partially to get a few precious minutes of solitude before Sabine gets up and we start the madness that is Toddlerdom all over again.
I relish this time alone, but it is also wearing me down. I remind myself that just like the sleepless nights of infancy, this too shall pass.
The Professor came home at four yesterday and found a haggard wife, walking back and forth in the living room with a finally sleeping baby strapped to her back. (Possibly another reason my back is hurting lately.) I continued to pace for another 30 minutes until she woke up at 4:30, guns a-blazing. She wailed. She fussed. I handed her to Daddy and crawled into my too squishy bed and passed out until 6 p.m. He reports that she slept on his chest while he rocked her for another hour after I went away. Go figure.
Yes, this is the third day in a row I’m writing about this. But hang with me for a few more sentences. There is method to my madness.
It’s taken 14 months but I’m finally learning how important it is to carve time for yourself in your days and weeks as a SAHM. My worst days are when I don’t get an escape, and no, a nice long nap while I clean the house does not count as an escape. An escape is when I leave my house without a diaper bag. Without a sippy cup. Without a lovey. Without a baby. An escape is when I go to the gym and put all my energy into my glutes, or my quads, or my chest (please, tiny boobs, don’t sag like deflated balloons when we are finally done nursing). An escape is when I carry my yoga mat to class and breathe. An escape is when I take a slow, steady, asthma-laden jog.
A wise friend of mine once said, “What do you mean you ask your husband permission to leave? Just go!”
“What? You mean just walk out? What about Sabine?”
“They will figure it out.”
And they do. I’ve stopped asking permission. I inform.
“I’m going to yoga tonight. I need you home no later than 6:45. I’ll have dinner ready for you and Sabine and you will be in charge of bed time.”
“I’m going to the gym in 15 minutes. You need to get up and watch Sabine. Breakfast is in the microwave.”
I don’t ask. I inform. And it is working for the most part. This week I had to miss yoga because Sabine had a fever and this morning I’ll miss the gym because we have to clean for the mother-in-law, but this afternoon I’ll pick back up. I informed him yesterday that I’ll be going to the gym after we run errands and before he picks his mother up. Just like that. I’m going. And he agrees. And I feel so, so powerful. Until Sabine wakes up and we begin again. 🙂
For the past 14 months I have felt like while I was not bringing home any money, I was doing a rockstar job raising a kid. Sabine was such a fun baby and we had great times together at home and our with friends. She was a happy kid and in my eyes that meant I was doing a good job. I at least went to bed most nights feeling like I had kicked parenting in the ass.
Lately that is changing. Sabine is challenging. She is always under my feet and always fussing. I try to play with her and she crawls off and fusses. I read her books that she used to sit for and she crawls off and throws more books at me. She yells at me when I offer food, she yells at me when I try to put her down for a nap, she yells at me when I step into the bathroom. She gets angry at her toys and furious when she tries to walk and fails (she still is not walking.)
I know she is frustrated with not being able to do the things she sees her friends doing, like walking and talking. I know that part of this is the age we are at (14 months) and that it is not always a reflection on my parenting. But when Daddy comes home and she is an angel for him, sitting still and listening to books, playing nicely and giggling up a storm it makes me slink off to the bathroom and cry. Sabine is a delight for Daddy, the sitter, her friends and their moms but not for me. I see this and all I can think is that clearly she would be happier in daycare.
I hate feeling like a failure and I really hate the days that I am relieved to put my kid to bed. I try to talk to my husband about these feelings and he just blows them off and then coddles his cat (who is having some issues of her own adjusting to the baby – a post for a later date).
The guilt I am feeling over all of this, plus the returning to work stress, is eating me alive. Compounding the issue are the complex emotions that come with parenting after infertility – I fought so damn hard for this and waited so damn long and now what? Now I don’t like it? I am failing at it? Are you kidding me? It is one thing to go to personal training school and decide it is not the career for you. It is an entirely different thing to go through IVF, have a baby and then feel this way about parenting.
Sabine is finally napping after being up since 6 a.m. (it is 2 now) and I am going to take a few minutes for myself. I’ll have a cup of coffee, eat some chocolate coconut ice cream and wait for your pearly words of wisdom and encouragement. Dirty dishes and laundry can wait an hour…
I write so often about Sabine’s struggles with sleep that I worry you might not realize what an amazingly awesome little person she is. I also worry that in the depths of sleep deprivation I’ll forget how blessed I am to be this exhausted! Today I want to share a few bullet points of some of my favorite things about Sabine. It may seem corny, but some days the silly little giggle she makes after passing gas really makes my day!
A Few of My Favorite Sabine Things
- Toots and Giggles: I love when Sabine works out a toot and then looks up at me with a huge grin and giggles. LOVE IT.
- Stinky Stinky Stinky: Along the same line, I love when we are nursing and Sabine toots. She looks at me and giggles and I start tickling her and saying, “Are you stinky stinky stinky???” She laughs and laughs and hides her head all bashful like. It is such a sweet moment between us. Stinky, but sweet.
- Taking Baths Together: Up until last week* Sabine and I bathe together every night. I draw a nice warm bath while the Professor has some special giggle time with her on the changing pad. Once I’m in the tub I call for her and he brings me a naked, smiling baby. She lays along my legs as I gently wash her and tell her all about the strong, healthy parts I’m cleaning. And then we play! We splash, we kick, we explore tub toys, we (she) chew on the wet washcloth. It is really a wonderful, happy end to the really hard days. When we are done tubbing the Professor scoops up the clean baby and takes her to diaper, cloth and sleep suit her. Then I rock and nurse her to sleep. Perfection.
- When I Walk in the Room: Cliché, I know, but this kid’s smile when I walk in the room is a million watts of happy. I love her!
- Dance Parties on the Changing Pad: Maybe it is the softness of the changing pad on her bare skin, or the fresh air that creeps in from the perpetually cracked windows (our radiators are fierce and require cracked windows 24-7), or the promise of a fresh bum, but Sabine LOVES to have a dance party on her changing pad. She kicks, she flaps, she wiggles and giggles. Lately we take turns. She flaps and kicks and then pauses and looks at me and I flap and kick and wiggle and then we both giggle.
- Inspecting: Sabine is at the stage where she is obsessed with inspecting small details. A zipper, the clasp on my nursing bra, the texture of the rug compared to the texture of the ottoman, etc. I love watching her explore the world around her through touch.
- Subway Friends: Sabine LOVES to make new friends on the subway! I have joked more than once that we should just load her up at the top of the 1 train (a few blocks from my house) and ride the 242 blocks all the way to South Ferry and then BACK just for her pleasure. In fact, it is so cold and gross lately that we might just do this! I love watching her lock eyes with the grumpiest looking old guy and watching his face soften as she smiles and flaps her arms in joy.
- Sock Munching: This is a new one for Sabine – SOCK MUNCHING! She will be happily playing with a toy and suddenly spy her sock. With a ravenous eye she grabs her foot, sticks it in her mouth and maws away until her foot is successfully freed from the sock, and the sock is a soggy mess!
I could go on and on. This little person has truly completed my world. She brightens gloomy days and inspires me to be a better woman for her. What are a few of your favorite things? They don’t have to pertain to a child. It can be the furry antics of a pet, your husband, or just the way the wind dances through a particular tree. Share in the comments and encourage us all to have a better day by dwelling on the lovely.
* I am sad that class now gets in the way of our Tuesday and Thursday baths. The Professor is really tall so climbing in the tub with a slippery Bean is hard so I bought a little blue Fisher Price Whale tub for them. I hope she loves it just as much!