Pause for breath…

black and whiteIt’s 2013 and as I can cope with about the next 5 minutes at the moment it’s been hard to write anything here. It’s a weird world this place of new parenthood. It’s an unbelievably hard world and it’s a world where it is as tempting as ever to compare with others in the same boat, to find myself lacking and wonder each moment if I am doing the right thing for sonface (well he needed a nickname here right?). Once more I am faced with my perfectionist tendencies. Once more I feel like I have failed because I am unable to get my boy to nap on his own, to sleep through the night or to soothe himself when he wakes. Nevermind that whenever I smile at him he gives me big fat toothless grins, nevermind when he’s awake and not overtired he’s the most delightful small bundle of need I’ve ever come across. Nevermind the fact that we are all still alive, he’s healthy and engaged with the world around him. No, I look at what we have failed to achieve in 11 weeks and sigh. Nevermind that he’s really only 11 weeks old and can’t process this world around him fast enough. Nevermind that he has no idea what it really means to be tired, in pain, hungry and happy and really has only one way of telling me what’s going on for him.

It’s difficult to admit the hard stuff in this world. It’s hard to describe the all consuming landscape of this world. It’s hard to describe that the only conversation I seem to be able to have revolves around this small bundle of need who will not leave our lives. It’s hard to describe the crazy instinct that gets me out of bed each night when all I want to do is throw the covers back over my head and ignore him.

I once more find myself in a place of vulnerability and knowing the only way through that place is by admitting I need help. Once more I have trouble with that, we’re told over and over again that the best state of life for us is as independent people, the ultimate goal is to be self sufficient. I have no idea why this message is SO strong in my brain. I have no idea why I think I should be able to cope on my own all the time and if I can’t I have failed. Our sonface is after all part of a community here, I want to let others in and accept the help they want to give.  I want to relinquish control, I want to know that my worth comes from a deeper source than whether I have helped our boy be happy and sleep well for an entire day. I want to know that it’s a good thing to accept help and that my identity is not found in how well I can help others. Watching Brene Brown’s excellent TED talk on vulnerability reminds me again that I need the courage to be vulnerable and not to be ashamed of all these crazy feelings inside me.

My Spiritual Director would look at me now and ask where is God in all of this? Right now I’m not sure. I am angry that this is so hard, I am fearful that others will think less of me if I can’t cope with this world. I am frightened that we’ve made a silly mistake and I am scared of the future. Partly these feelings are healed by our boy drinking deep from me and gazing with joy into my eyes. Partly I know that this too will pass. Partly I know that I need to ask God for help, rather than get angry because he doesn’t seem to install a magic sleep button on my boy. (seriously, what’s the point of an all powerful God if he can’t do this?)  My worth comes from a much much deeper place than my assessment of how I’m doing (I’m always a harder taskmaster on me than anyone else). My worth comes from a God who loves me deep, long and wide. Who never gives up on me and who loves and provides for me when I am just a screaming bundle of need.

Once more I find myself in the needing help vulnerable corner of this life. It’s not a pleasant place to be as my pride hates asking for help. I hate the feeling of not being able to cope but somewhere in me I know it is a Good Thing as it leads to letting others help and give to me. This place is a raw place where I learn again that identity, worth and value come not from what I do or achieve but from the One who loves me with an everlasting love.

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9 Responses to Pause for breath…

  1. Janice says:

    Yes, yes, yes to EVERY word of this. My oldest is now six but I remember your exact thoughts when he was 11 weeks old.

    And three kids later its still the same fears and insecurities and questions. I’m working hard on trying to look at my mothering in a balanced way. Giving the smiles and kisses the same weight as the cries and NOT SLEEPING. But it’s a constant struggle.

    It does, of course, get better, But you already know that and it doesn’t really help to hear it, does it?

    I’ll pray for you though!

    And OH FOR A MAGIC SLEEP BUTTON!!!! It would be a purpose for the belly button after birth instead of just making it a useless nub.

  2. Mia says:

    Dear Kath
    I think you should follow your heart when you raise your sonface! My first one I also started of with the books, but threw it all away … neither him nor me were able to do what they said. And we turned out quite okay!
    Hugs XX

  3. Kath, big big hugs. You know we have two boys who didn’t and still don’t do it the way the books say they should, who have never simply drifted off to sleep on their own. It took 3 years before eldest could do that at night. And to be honest while I wish msot days for sleep buttons i look at them and see them thriving and growing up with their own character and not text book formulaic boys. They have their own ideas and thoughts and while at times they clash with mine that doesn’t mean we are getting it wrong. It just means we are two, three, four people working out how to live together as individuals. And right now a lack of sleep is throwing perspective for you. Let those of us around you say that you are not failing when you ask for help and that anyone needs to take on glance at your bundle of life and they will know that he is thriving and doing all an 11 week old should. Its hard I know only too well how hard it is, to ask for help but it takes a village to raise a child so let the village raise your bundle with you. To be the best that you can for him you need sleep so at times others need to take him so that you can breathe, have a nap, have a shower, sit, drink a cup of HOT tea from beginning to end, read a chapter not simply a sentence of a book, ready to hold that boy again when he comes home. Lots of love and hope of sleep tonight.

  4. Chris B says:

    No answers, just lots of love. Wish we were nearer so I could take a turn at letting you sleep…..

  5. Roz says:

    I am very moved (as ever) by your blog: your honesty and listened to the clip too. Mum read it too 🙂 Lots of love, praying for sleep from a fellow (better now) insomniac… 🙂 Roz

  6. emmascriv says:

    Love you. Thanks for your honesty and courage xx

  7. Circus Queen says:

    Kath, it sounds like you’re doing really well, opening up like this. Any new parent can identify with what you’ve written here. The fact that you’re contemplating bigger issues in your life like vulnerability and community is amazing. Sonface sounds like a normal 11-week-old. If he was napping well, sleeping through and self-settling, I’d be giving you the stink eye. Seriously, though, praying for you. Your son is very very blessed to have such a wise and loving mum. x

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