Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Longest Month

You know how, when a new baby is born, everyone really rallies and takes care of the new mama for a few weeks? Cooks for her, brings her treats, calls to ask how things are going, comes over and holds the baby and listens to her incoherent, sleep-deprived ramblings about nursing and diapers and spit-up? Rightly so, of course, since the time just after childbirth, though wonderful in some ways, is also just incredibly hard.

But I've always felt that, at about three months, and then again at about six, mothers really need that kind of support again--just when everyone's moved on and forgotten about the whole new-baby thing. Because, come on, mothers out there: don't you kind of hit a new (second) low right about now? Hasn't your adrenaline failed you? Isn't NOW really the time when a hot meal delivered to your door would send you to your knees in gratitude?

Genevieve's 5-1/2 months old, and she's been putting me through the wringer big-time. She's nursing more than ever, and I'm getting no sleep. Last night she woke up crying at 9:15 and refused to go back to sleep for five hours. Today, after all that, she napped for just 45 minutes. I think I would do just about anything for just one full night of sleep; actually, are you kidding? even just four or five uninterrupted hours would be a dream come true.

And please don't tell me I CAN have that if I just let Genevieve cry it out at night instead of nursing her when she wakes up, because guess what, I tried that last night and she cried for FIVE HOURS. That whole crying it out thing? DOESN'T ALWAYS WORK.

Unfortunately, chronic exhaustion and baby-crying-induced frustration (combined with severe mouse-related anxiety) are taxing my coping skills in a big way. I can't seem to muster the energy to exercise (hmmm, dying of tiredness: should I do a half-hour on the elliptical or lie on the couch with a magazine, barely breathing?), and the only thing that seems able to calm my nerves and give me the energy necessary to get through each day is a prodigious amount of my favorite wonder-drug, chocolate. (Actually, caffeine is my favorite wonder-drug, but I've been off that for four months now.) And I can't be worried about it right now. I'm normally quite health-conscious--mostly vegetarian, lover of vegetables, legumes, and all things soy, inveterate runner, fast-food averse....but right now, it's all out the window, people. I'm lucky if I get my vitamin each day, and nine times out of ten I'll take a PB&J over any meal that requires advance preparation.

It all feels very just-barely-getting-through. And I remember feeling the same way when Julia was Genevieve's age. I know it got better; I just don't remember when.

1 comment:

squab said...

Poor Shanny! That sounds sucky. I loved the 5-6 month period, myself, because that's when I started getting some sleep and the baby started getting more fun - I hope that time comes soon for you!