We have two young girls. Our baby (nine months) was the most calm, happy, leaky, sleepy, and easy-going newborn I have ever met. (Don’t believe me? Read this.) After a colicky firstborn, my husband and I were shocked when our new baby hardly cried in the night. She’d just softly whimper after about eight hours of sleep, and I’d take that as my cue to feed her.
But then, a few months ago, something changed.
Baby girl got loud. Really loud. Really loud at two in the morning. And at three. And four. And again at five.
The paci didn’t help. The paci made her mad. We’d try to give her the paci, and she’d swat it away and scream. All she wanted-wait, who am I kidding? All she wants (present tense) is to eat.
What happened?! Is the white noise not white noisy enough? Did she miss the swaddle? Does she have an ear infection? Is the nightlight too bright? Is the nightlight too dark? Is she too hot? Too cold? Is the bed too small? Is she on the brink of a milestone? Does she need more cuddles? Is she teething? Does she need more solid food? Are solid foods upsetting her belly? Does she like having fussy, sleep-deprived parents?!
The other night, I was woken up (yet again) by an inexplicably angry baby. Nate had tried to get her back to sleep–he rocked, shushed, and bounced. He would have danced the freakin’ polka if it cheered her up–but all she wanted was mommy. And all mommy wanted was sleep. Instead of cherishing the extra baby cuddles, I was furious that I had to feed her (again).
And, in my fury, I found myself silently repeating a line from one of my favorite poems: “Babies don’t keep. Babies don’t keep. Babies don’t keep. Babies don’t keep.”
And you know what? It calmed me down.
The next night, I spoke this reminder to myself and my baby: “Any time, day or night, I’m happy to see you.”
And I’m now praying for us this prayer: “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” (Proverbs 3:24)
Moms, when you have moments and seasons like this, know that I sympathize. I know these intensely negative and overwhelming feelings might make you feel inadequate and guilty. You’re not alone. You may not be perfect (ha!), but that doesn’t make you a bad mom.
This too shall pass.
They won’t be little forever.
You’re a better mom than you realize.
Take a breath. Say a prayer. Don’t lose hope.
And, by all means, try to enjoy the extra cuddles.