Monday, December 3, 2012

the gratitude/angst balance

Let me preface this post by recognizing the fact that Jon and I have been blessed with the gift of a child. We did not struggle to conceive, and my heart genuinely goes out to those that do. We also haven't experienced the loss of a child. I can only imagine what either or both of those things must feel like--terrible--and I'm not trying to pretend like I know the heartache those two situations involve. I'm also not trying to discredit said heartache.

But lately I've found myself struggling ever since we became parents when it comes to public acknowledgement of our 'bad days.' In other words, I usually complain and whine and go all 'woe is me' to Jon/close friends and family. Occasionally that will spill over into a blog or Facebook rant (trust me, we tend to have more 'bad days' than you would believe). Any time it reaches that level, I feel guilty for complaining because of the fact that we were able to conceive and have a low-risk pregnancy and a healthy baby boy today. But at the same time, I'm hardly a bottle-it-up-inside type of person, and one of my coping mechanisms with stress is to discuss it: to put it out in the universe so I can acknowledge its presence in my life and begin the steps of fixing it.

Take last night, for instance. We have been blessed with a great sleeper. For over 2 months Elden has slept 8 pm - 6 am (or at least entertained himself somewhat quietly in his crib as he'd wake throughout the night--we'd hear him smashing his feet against his mattress) without a fuss. No crying when we put him down, no crying in the middle of the night, and often times we'd have to wake him at 6 am to nurse. Yesterday while Jon was at work I recognized that I was rapidly coming down with a cold--congestion and a sore throat. I knew that a good night's sleep would likely work wonders on me. Bedtime came and we did the usual bath/nurse/put down routine.

Except, instead of happily laying in his crib, Elden began to cry about 5 minutes after we laid him down. Knowing this is unusual for him, and also that when he cries a particular cry at a particular decibel he won't ultimately cry himself to sleep, we went in and got him. After a few soothings by both of us, he was down by about 8:10. We didn't think much of it... until 9:45 came around and he was crying again. We attempted to soothe but nothing worked until I ended up nursing him in our bed. Once he was out enough, Jon transferred him to his crib. He slept like a baby... until 1:30 am. At this point we were at a loss. I began to think either his teething was reaching its climax or perhaps he had/gave me the cold that was now raging in my head. We attempted to soothe--no dice. I attempted to nurse him in his room--no dice. I brought him back into bed with us and nursed him laying down. It was at this point that I realized this pattern would continue. Exasperated, I broke all of our own beliefs/rules and enacted a cosleeping measure for the night. Jon got out of bed in protest and was awake the rest of the night. I barely slept throughout the night as Elden would wake up every hour or so and fuss so I would re-insert his pacifier (I suddenly despise the thing) and rub his tummy until he fell asleep again. At 6 am, I nursed him and when we changed his diaper he was his usual smiley self. He felt warm so we took his temperature but it was normal. We still don't know what caused it, but we also know he has been hating to nap during the day (yesterday he would only nap in our ERGObaby carrier on my person) and instead of going back to sleep from 6:20-8 like he normally does in the morning, he woke up several times and Jon ultimately got him up at 7. I anticipate a night like last this evening. I'm exhausted. I'm also concerned. Luckily, we have his 4-month appointment tomorrow so I will bring it up to his ped if it happens again tonight.

I genuinely try to remind myself of the abundance of blessings being a parent is. What a joy (usually) a child is. I don't ever want to come off as crotchety about my fate when I know so many others anguish over their desire to become parents but difficulty becoming one. I've seen/heard comments on other blogs and in daily conversation along the lines of "I would give anything to be up every hour throughout the night with my baby" so I try to remember that sentiment any time I display my angst over parenting publicly. But that being said, one can't understand how difficult it can be to be a parent sometimes until you've experienced it. This is just the same as I can't understand how difficult it is to have lost a child, to struggle with infertility, or to have a child with a serious health problem. I try to remind myself that sometimes it's okay to publicly rant about a tough situation but to try to be delicate in the words I use because at the end of the day I wouldn't trade Elden for anything. That balance can be tough though. I hope that if I ever step out of line on Facebook or in my blog about things I'm struggling with/appear to be insensitive or ungrateful, that someone would (lovingly) rebuke me and remind me of my blessings.

1 comment:

  1. Nights like that are ROUGH, especially once you've gotten used to sleeping through the night. It's hard when you don't know what's going on or how to fix it. He's crying, you're tired, you're helpless, you're frustrated, you're TIRED. I'm sorry. And I think it's okay to talk about both - you NEED to talk about both!