Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Feeling a Little Blue

Everything is going well. Amelie is waking up to eat more often -- more on that in another post -- and I've been getting a bit more rest.

I was looking forward to my midwife appointment today. She told me it was optional, and that a lot of second time moms skip it, but I wanted to go. Especially since we have had some breastfeeding issues, but also just for another chance to connect emotionally. I spent a lot of time during pregnancy talking to her about my fears and need to feel safe during birth, and it really, really paid off during labor.

So I was surprised when we were talking and everything was going swimmingly until she asked about how things were going with Calliope and suddenly my eyes filled with tears.

Calliope is doing well, overall. She seems genuinely excited about the baby, and is mostly gentle with her. About what you would optimistically expect from a three year old.

But her three year old-ness has been greatly exacerbated by the stress of having a new sibling, of course, when it comes to her behavior with me. And of course, I'm much less tolerant. So instead of being playful and silly when she ignores my request to go to her room and put on her pajamas, I get stern. And she laughs hysterically and jumps behind the couch cushions and I seethe, or get furious.

And for all that I am getting lots of help, still, it's confusing to Calliope to have lots of different people coming through our home. And I can't very well delegate breastfeeding, so Calliope gets "helped," to her annoyance, by lots of different people. Which only makes the acting out worse. Never mind the fact that she has skipped a couple of naps recently, and slept poorly the first three nights Amelie and I were home from the hospital on account of a bad cold and hacking cough.

On top of this is an emotion that I wasn't aware of until today... I want someone to come in and mother me. I don't even know what this would look like. Just that I want someone to walk in and announce, "I got this. I'm in charge. I order you to go lie down."

I know this is especially on my mind because of losing my mother last May. She wasn't the most nurturing mom you'd ever meet, but she was great when I gave birth to Calliope. She sailed in my home and took charge. She changed every diaper and patted out every burp. She then insisted on rescuing me by taking me back to her home in MA.

I'd probably hate this in real life but right now, it sounds heavenly, to have someone else take over the reins of my life. It feels exhausting to be so in charge all the time. And I feel like, rightly or wrongly, that there's more pressure to be on top of everything as an SMC because, you know, I chose this. To do this on my own. My married friends and relations can choose to fall apart for a day because there's someone else to pick up the pieces. But not only do I not have that luxury -- there's no one to pick up the pieces -- I feel an obligation to make this all look easy. That's quite a burden to carry, along with a tantrumy three year old and a mewling newborn.


  1. I'm so sorry you are feeling this way right now. Wish I could help you out somehow. Is it possible to have your nanny come in and help with more rather than other outside people? She has much more experience in your home and with Calliope than any one else other than you. Sending hugs.

  2. Oh boy, do I know that feeling! I remember after Theo was born wishing I could be back in the hospital where it was all about me and I was lovingly waited on and attended to. This single mother stuff is HARD. It would be so great to have someone to lean on sometimes.

  3. Oh, me too! I absolutely GET what you are saying. Fiona did amazingly well with adjusting (at only age 2 I think it's easier) but it quickly became clear that all the evening help - a different person coming in each night - was super stressful for Fiona. As soon as I could (which after a c-section took about 10 days) I stopped having visitors so we could just settle into our routine, the 3 of us. When Carys was a month old I also started to have friends watch her for a couple hours so I could take Fiona on "special, big girl only" dates and that helped SO much. Oh, and I sooo get the feeling of wanting to be taken care of. Having children amplifies the loss of your own mom a lot, and when its so recent, and you have your experience after having Calliope to compare to, I can see how that hurts. I'm sorry, Abby. It is really, really, really hard with two, there's no way around it and yes, as choice moms we just have to buck up and deal with it. I hope you find some solutions that work for you and keep sharing here, because we do truly get it. Hugs.

    1. Oh and one more thought - be sure to still ask friends to bring meals to you, if and when you cut off the in-person help! B/c that's still a big help and helped me feel cared for.

  4. So sorry you are missing your mom. And, like everyone else, I get that desire to feel taken care of. But I think part of it is giving into it. No one can or will take care of you like your mom but you have an amazing network of friends in your life that do want to take care of all 3 of you so let them! I know for me, it is just harder to accept the help when it isn't coming from family.

  5. Oh, yes...I definitely wanted a mother to take care of me after I gave birth. Both times. It didn't happen but I definitely remember how natural, even primal , that longing was. This too shall pass (just like the sweating) but it's nit much fun when you are in the middle of it, I know.

  6. I am sorry you're feeling this way. I so admire you for identifying what it is that you yearn for, even if it would drive you nuts in actuality.

  7. I give you a lot of credit. A ton, really. I'm still in the "thinking" stage of trying for a second, and this post..l scares me. But makes me want to thank you at the same time. I don't know, it's weird. But I like hearing the reality, even if it's tough. I'm just so sorry you're feeling this way. I hope things settle down for calliope, and everything just eases up for you, and soon. Hang in there.

  8. I can understand that feeling of wanting to be ‘mothered’. Being in charge all the time can be very exhausting, especially when you have a lot of things on your plate. Perhaps it would be best to find someone that can handle some of the responsibilities and tasks around the house, so you can focus on the things that require your immediate attention. And that might also help with Calliope’s anxiety with strangers coming into the house, since she will only have to deal with the same person everyday. Anyway, I hope you three are doing well. Stay strong!

    Carlos Strey @ The Bridge Across