To the mothers: In a sleep-deprived haze, you might be reading this letter. It may be midnight, or three o’clock, but it doesn’t matter the hour. It doesn’t matter the time of day. What matters is you’re awake. You’re sitting alone in your rocker, bed, chair, or sofa … and in the dark.
It’s an understatement to say you’re tired. Burning your breasts. Your body’s sore, and it all feels heavy. You feel sluggish, feverish and flu-like.
Your mind is stupid. Things blur together— this article’s words may blur together— and you’re forgetful. You may not be able to remember the name or your own of your newborn baby. And you’re overdriving your feelings.
To the mothers: Don’t be sad
You might be pleased and depressed at the same time. I get it because I’m you, and I understand how you’re feeling. It’s about two o’clock. The roads are quiet. My house is dark, and the only thing that stirs is my 16-week-old kid. He sleeps against my chest, sucking so lightly at my breast.
while the years go by quickly— before I realize it, my baby kid will walk, talk and run away from his childhood and me— these evenings are not going to happen. They’re tough. It’s painful, and it’s long. Very long, very long. And I find it hard to make it to the morning sometimes.
I’m going to dark places when I’m up in the wee hours of the night, tending towards a fussy child, a starving child, or a weeping child.
I am short-tempered, irritable, angry— with God, with my partner, and with my life. I’m getting terribly nervous. Every whimpering, cooing, or crying brings me on edge, and I wonder if I made a mistake.
I’m wondering if I’m a Bad Mother.
So while I’m not going to say you “it’s getting better,” I’m going to inform you: it’s all right to be sad — and mad. It’s all right to feel afraid, lost, disoriented, and dismayed, and feeling frustrated and angry is all right. These thoughts don’t make you a bad person or parent. They’re not making you an inept parent, and they’re not making you a “bad mother.”
So how are you going to do that?
How are you going to push through? By having a love for yourself. By pardoning yourself. Everything is normal by remembering yourself. Newborn babies have no nighttime sleep. And remembering the grace’s significance.
So take a nap, even though it’s mid-day. Let the sink fill in and overflow the laundry basket. Buy paper plates and cups because they’re simple and inexpensive — and you need to be simple right now. Purchase order, delivery and/or GrubHub. Cry when you’re going to. Scream when you need it and ask for help from friends, neighbors, and family because you can’t do it all. You don’t have to do it all. In fact, everything you need to take care of your baby, body, and mind.
That’s it, you can wait for the remainder.
So, nice mom, hang in there. The days (and nights) are about to pass: a second, a minute, and an hour at a time.