Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Dark Times

I just read a post from a new mom who is beyond tired, breastfeeding nonstop which makes for extra sore nipples, and dealing with a baby that seems to be getting increasingly fussy and hard to put to sleep. Sounds VERY familiar to me. That's where I was a few short months ago. Brings me right back. I could have written that exact post when my son was three weeks old.

Two things struck me as I read her post. Number one, I am SO thankful that we are out of the "dark times." My brutally honest friend coined this phrase after she had her daughter. She is the friend who will always tell you like it is. And boy she held nothing back about motherhood. She talked about pooping during pushing, how bad it hurt to poop the first time after giving birth, how coo-coo crazy she felt from sleep-deprivation, how once she let her baby just scream in her crib for an hour when she couldn't take it anymore, how she had to take a vicodin and drink a half a bottle of wine before she and her husband had their first post-baby sex....all those beautiful stories that back then made me think to myself "I am NOT ready to be a mom." I think it helped prepare me for the dark times. I mean, no one can REALLY be ready for the dark times. Even though someone may have told you all about it you don't really understand how dark it is until you are experiencing it yourself. But I'm glad she told me so I had SOME idea of the suckiness I was in for.

The other thing that struck me as I read this blogger's post was, how come we don't hear more about the "dark times?" Why aren't we more prepared for them? Shouldn't we be more honest with each other? Shouldn't we let people know how hard it is? Are we afraid of sounding ungrateful? Whiny? Wimpy? Like we don't know what we're doing?

The first few months of motherhood were wonderful and amazing and BLAH BLAH BLAH. Of COURSE its wonderful to have a new baby and of COURSE I felt incredibly grateful after all the shit we went through to get here. I would look at my teeny tiny and baby and just smile and feel the deepest sense of happiness I have ever felt. He would yawn in a cute way and I would cry. I took 250 pictures of him a day because he was so friggin cute and I wanted to remember him that small forever. I feel a love for my son that I have never known. Not even close. I love, love, LOVE being a mom. And all the wonderfulness makes the suckiness worth it in the end.

But, let's be honest. There are things about the first few months that fucking SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK. That are unbelievably hard. I now believe that sleep-deprivation is torture. Being that tired is awful. I did not sleep for longer than 3 hours for 3 months. And getting 3 hours was a damn treat. Usually it was in 2 hour increments. I still rarely get more than 3 hours in a row. And breastfeeding does NOT just come naturally to everyone. My nipples hurt so bad I would cry out in pain or quietly cry during an entire feeding so I didn't scare the baby. My nipples didn't stop hurting for over two months. They STILL hurt sometimes. And the crying. Oh sweet Lord, the crying. The crying that is so loud and so shrill and right in your ear and never seems to end? The crying that makes you think to yourself for a second- seriously, I wanted a baby? Or maybe you can't even think because you are in a catatonic state so that you can survive the endless crying. Or maybe the baby is actually asleep but you still hear the crying ringing in your ears? And the not knowing what you're doing. Wondering if your milk supply is good enough. Wondering if the baby is crying because something serious is wrong with him. Wondering why their poop is that color. Wondering if they are still breathing. The endless wondering and not really knowing and googling....

I suppose there are people who find breastfeeding relatively easy, who have babies who "sleep through the night" at 6 weeks, who get back to having sex and it feels GREAT, who take showers and put on makeup every day....I kind of hate those people. But I think that in reality most people go through the "dark times." And I think its okay to talk about them. We SHOULD talk about them. To be honest about how hard it is. Not because complaining is a wonderful thing, but because when things are that sucky and hard you have to be able to talk about to to get through it. Its nice to feel like you are not alone, you are not a moron, you are not crazy and your baby is not some devil-incarnate but actually quite normal.


  1. YES. This is so true--we need more stories about those rough first few months. In fact, when I was going through them a while back, I scoured the internet for other accounts of new mothers feeling the same way I did. Even reading your post brought it all back, but in a good way (like I was nodding my head in agreement and feeling less like a freak because of those first three months). We, too, are in a better place, but it still makes me feel better to know that someone else went through it. Thanks for calling for more stories on the "dark side."

  2. I'm with you that not enough people talk about it. Now when people ask me what it's like, I tell them it's pure hell. That it's 3 months of f*g torture, mixed in with some sappy moments, and then it starts getting better. But that the first 3 months you have to just do whatever it takes to survive, cuz that's what it's all about - surviving.

  3. Thanks Ladies!
    Chicklet - You are one of the few bloggers I read who wrote about the "pure hell" and I really appreciated it. Your son is like a month older than mine and they seem to have similar temperaments so I feel like I can read your blog and prepare myself for what's coming - good or bad.