Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Guilt, and the Worry, and the Worry, and the Guilt ...

I didn't expect to be a bigtime WorryMama, but oh my goodness. Is this hormonal? Will it go away? Or do I have to have another kid before I can relax already and stop beating myself up?

Yesterday's massage was fan-freaking-tastic. Actually, the bliss started as soon as I walked out of the house and got into my car. After a few blocks I realized I could turn up the music as loud as I wanted. When I got to the massage place and got undressed and lay down on the table, I realized that this was the first time in over five weeks that I knew with 100% certainty that I could lie down for a full hour with no one interrupting me. At that point, I didn't even care if the RMT came in and rubbed my sore muscles - just lying there would have been enough! (She did, though, and it was complete heaven - she gave me such a deep massage that my back and shoulders almost feel bruised today.)

On the way home I realized with some jealousy that Chris gets to do that every day - not get massaged, but leave the house and have interruption-free time. He disagrees, saying that his cell phone is his tool of interruption, but I don't think it's quite the same. His cell phone doesn't chew on his nipples, I'll bet. Nor does it start having a total meltdown if he doesn't pay attention to it within 10 seconds.

Anyway, back to the worry and the guilt. I feel a little guilty that I don't feel too guilty about leaving Gwen yesterday. I feel a little worried that I'm not a good Mom because I didn't worry about her while I was gone. I thought walking out the door would be really hard, but it was the easiest thing in the world. There's totally something wrong with me!

And that's not all. I'm worried that the sleep problems are never going to work themselves out, and that if I don't take charge and fix them we'll still be waking up three times a night when she's 5 years old. I'm worried that if I don't take the exact right approach with fixing them, I'll ruin her life (and ours). I'm worried that it's already too late, as at least one baby book tells me that I should start as I mean to go on and set up a predictable routine (not schedule, but routine) from Day One and since I'm already 40 days overdue, everything is RUINED. (Mind you this same book has a little "what kind of baby do you have" quiz, and I don't know how you could complete that quiz if you were, as instructed, reading that book before baby's birth.)

I feel guilty that I don't enjoy Gwen enough or stimulate her in the right ways because I'm too exhausted to do anything more than count down to her next naptime. I feel guilty because no one at the hospital offered to take her hand or foot prints, and now she's nearly six weeks old and it feels like it's too late to do it and somehow failing to record the size of her feet and hands makes me a bad and unappreciative mother. I feel guilty that I don't force her to do tummy time because she so clearly hates it (but shouldn't she do it more, then, so she gets used to it?) I feel guilty when she screams hysterically in the bath, because it makes me feel like she doesn't trust us to take care of her and keep her safe. I feel guilty that I don't even *know* if she's reaching her milestones because she spends all her time either nursing or sleeping or swaddled. I feel guilty because if she is swaddled so much she might never learn to control her limbs, but it's the only thing that makes her happy during her awake times and makes her fall asleep at bedtime.

The Worry. The Guilt. The Guilt. The Worry. They chase their tails in my brain all day long. Why didn't anyone tell me it would be like this?

3 comments:

treecipitation said...

Oh Laura, I'm sorry you are feeling the Guilt and the Worry. I will leave most of the reassurance to the wise experienced mamas among your readers.
However I can attest my parents never made a hand-or-footprint of me as a baby, or bronzed my first pair of shoes, or saved any significant photographic evidence of my childhood. Well, except for the somewhat creepy mememto of a ponytail of my hair tied with masking tape, from when my mom gave me a haircut at age 6. The lack of these things have never caused me or my mom the least amount of regret.

Hugs! I look forward to hugging you for real, and meeting this adorable Gwen person in a few weekends.

Anonymous said...

Oh honey!
I'm glad your massage was so fantastic. And I'm glad you got out. I know me telling you not to feel guilty isn't going to take it away, but really! Stop that! What use are you to Gwen if you work yourself up and get all stressed from being her servant all the time? She was in good hands and you KNEW that the same way that Chris knows it when he goes to work.

Hold onto your sanity by taking as many of those "turn up the music" breaks as you can. Gwen's not going to forget you're her mom anytime soon, and it's great for her to have other family members involved in her life. You are so blessed to have them nearby and eager. I wish I could be there more often too.

As for "too late", no it's not. It's just that breaking routines is emotionally draining. But seriously, if you made it through the birth process, the noro, the lack of sleep, thrush, and all that, you can change a bedtime. I know you can. (you don't have to like the process though)

And as for tummy time, who cares? If Gwen hates it, and it's not necessary, don't do it. It's not like you don't carry her around or have her on your lap in that position sometimes. I think she's not ready yet, myself. I know most people will look at me as though I have lobsters coming out of my ears, but I think you should lay her on her back, and let her decide when she's ready to lie on her tummy. (I think you'll find it will be several months from now.) That gives her time to discover her world from a comfortable position and slowly build the muscles, co-ordination, and strength (yes, I know, she's surprisingly advanced, and strong already) to sustain such a position.

I got all ranty here. Sorry if it's not helpful. I just think you're so wonderful, and I want to keep you from unpleasant experiences like worrying. You are a super amazing parent. And a super amazing YOU.

Love, J

sarapants said...

I LOVE you! And this post! And everything it stands for!

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