This is what it’s like to be me.
If you want to know what it’s like, read along and take a little journey. I’m not after sympathy. I don’t expect many to understand. I only wrote it for me but I do feel led to share it. If it helps even one person then it’s probably worth the angst it might cause.
It’s 5am. You’ve been up with the baby most of the night, as usual. You’re tired. More tired than you ever felt was possible. But yet you keep going because you’ve been tired for as long as you can remember. You’ve been either pregnant for breastfeeding for the last 4 years 11 months. Why does being tired still come as a surprise to you?
The difference this time is the pain in your biceps. You picked up your four year old on Saturday night and you’re still paying for it. Your body is not your own and so it takes so long to heal. You spent yesterday carrying the baby around, as you often do, grinning and bearing the pain.
You figured you would get rest at night. But you accidentally fell asleep sitting up in the chair feeding and so your pain is worse than ever. Then again you’re now glad you got some sleep sitting up coz your baby was so congested she probably couldn’t sleep lying down anyway.
It isn’t fair your baby is all snotty. You do everything in your power to keep her well. You regularly offend people by asking sick people to stay away and insisting people wash their hands before they hold her… But you also have a two year old and you NEED him to go to daycare two days a week and he brings all sorts of bugs home.
You’re sick of breastfeeding. You never get an hour to yourself. You don’t get regular sleep. Nobody can really help with the baby coz she just wants you. Constantly. But you keep feeding because you have a dual immunology and biochemistry major and you believe in the benefits of breast milk. That and you get lumps in your breasts whenever you go a couple of hours between feeds and you will not get mastitis again.
You love this baby to bits even though it wasn’t your plan to have her. You don’t resent her because you know she’s just a baby. She’s just doing what babies do. You know God is using her to make you stronger, kinder, gentler, more patient. You know that your life was not complete until you had her and you would give anything for her. But you do wish others would understand.
There are people in your life that just do not get it and they never will. They offer to help but then they throw it back in your face as the worst possible times. They think they’re more important than you and expect you to drop everything for them. Because they drop everything for you. But just because they do something for you does not mean you owe them. You cannot. It’s not that you don’t want to, it’s just that you’re tired. They’re sick of hearing that you’re tired. You’ve been tired your whole entire adult life. Before you were a mum you were a shift worker. Nobody gets it unless they’ve been there before.
You have to opt out of certain events. You can’t help it. You need to do this in order to survive. You need to take care of yourself. You’ve battled depression and anxiety for so long it’s become the norm. Years of therapy and experimenting with medication and you can kind of function “like a normal person” IF you take care of yourself. The problem is that choosing to take care of yourself means clinging to routine, which results in others getting offended, putting you down, borderline abusing you when they don’t get their own way. You try to help them understand but they don’t want to.
It cuts like a knife. Straight to your heart. You didn’t choose this and you just want them to accept you. You always suggest more suitable alternatives if you can’t make something but it doesn’t make any difference. There are people that just want what they want the way they want it and they don’t care about why you said no they are just deeply wounded that you had the audacity to turn them down.
You’ve cried about it for an entire weekend. You tried to explain, reason, justify. The verbal abuse kept coming. Profanities, character assassination, you can’t get them to stop. You cannot take it. There comes a time when enough is enough.
You have to cut them off. You don’t have a choice. It won’t be a popular decision but you need to survive. You need to realise you have three children who need you and you have a whole gang of other people who love you. You need to learn to stop the negativity of a few from robbing you of the joy in life. You need to be free to allow others to help you without fearing that they’re just going to throw it back at you next time they don’t get what they want.
Think about who you do have.
Your husband is very supportive this time around but he wasn’t always in the past. You try to remember he’s got your back and he’s here to help and he’s pretty damn awesome. But you’re tired and sometimes you forget. You don’t like to ask for help and he isn’t going to read your mind. He’s good, but he’s not psychic.
Your parents are very supportive but they’re extremely busy with their own lives. They help whenever they can and you’re thankful for it. Your mother-in-law is great to talk to on the phone when you need to whinge, and she’s great with the kids too. You have a supportive church where the ladies are trying to reach out to you and get to know you. Don’t push them away.
You have one good friend who’s stuck by you over the years and keeps you from drowning. Yes she’s always late and it drives you crazy but nobody is perfect. You certainly aren’t. You don’t know why she keeps coming back to spend time with you other than it’s her gift from God. And your baby is cute. But she usually gets stuck with your two year old. But she seems to like it. Don’t push her away. Keep accepting her friendship. You know you’ll have to pay her back one day but you know you’ll be happy to do it. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BE STUCK THIS WAY FOREVER.
It’s now nearly 6am and you still haven’t slept. Your choice to blog instead of sleeping will not be received well. But sometimes you need to get things written down so that you can have more space in your head. You couldn’t really sleep with the baby jabbering away beside you anyway. At least you have had a lie down.
Baby is fussing now. The big kids will be up soon. Might be time to get up. You can’t even contemplate getting up. You can’t move your legs. You’re gonna have to move your legs. You need to pee again. What a predicament you’re in.
Your life is good. This stage will pass. All too soon you’ll miss it.
Pick up the baby and give her a cuddle. Feel her warmth. Fall in love for the millionth time. Soak it all in. Including the vomit you didn’t realise she was covered in. Time to change the sheets AGAIN. Get up idiot. You can’t. You really need to stop over feeding her. Use the pump occasionally so you can get a break. You bought one yesterday, that’s a start.
Baby’s asleep on your face. You still need to pee. You can’t move. You’re trapped.
She’s so beautiful. Your life is beautiful. It’s a disaster, but it is, like the Kelly Clarkson song, a Beautiful Disaster.