A bit more anxiety, and talking myself down 

I have been feeling really overwhelmed lately. I think a big part of it it is due to being solely responsible for the baby for the majority of the time. My wife is only home for 3 hours before going to sleep on weekdays – she leaves at 5:30am and gets home around 7 or 7:30pm every day. Last Friday she didn’t get home until midnight. And because of her hours, she doesn’t wake up with the baby at all through the night. It’s all on me.

We knew her job was not going to be conducive to family life, but she said she was going to quit before the baby was born. Then she said she would quit during her two weeks off after the baby arrived. Now we are 7 weeks into life with a baby and there is no end in sight. She feels she can’t leave her job, and quite frankly doesn’t have time to look for another job with the hours she works. So I feel like a single parent through the week.

And I feel overwhelmed.

I already wrote about my anxiety with leaving the house. But I’m also easily stressed when the baby fusses at home. I spend my time worrying that I won’t be able to soothe her. Even when she is sleeping peacefully, I am worrying about being unable to fulfill her needs when she wakes.

So I need to take stock of how well things are going and really focus on the positives.

  1. She naps through the day which gives me time to rest and recuperate, even if I am pinned underneath her (like I am while I write this).
  2. Evenings and overnights are on a two steps forward one step back trend, so I know I can look forward to fewer Witching Hours and longer sleep stretches, even if they aren’t predictable night after night.
  3. She is healthy. We even got rid of her diaper rash which she had from one week to six weeks old. I cut out dairy and she is considerably less gassy. So I should gain confidence from the fact that I have been able to cure her rash and soothe her upset stomach.
  4. I produce enough milk for her to feed every hour some days and she feels full and is gaining weight like a champ. When nothing else will soothe her, I can always offer her a comfort nurse which works without fail. My body is equipped to provide all that my baby needs.
  5. She is developing her communication skills more and more everyday. Her coos are becoming more complex and we even get some back-and-forth going on. So I know that eventually she will be able to tell me what she needs and I won’t have to worry that I’m missing a cue anymore.
  6. I don’t have anything else to worry about. The baby may be solely my responsibility all week, but the baby is my sole responsibility. I don’t have to worry about work until January and I just extended my leave from my not-for-profit by another month. I don’t need to leave the house so I don’t need to worry about my hygiene. My to-do list of necessary things is really short: feed baby, change baby, cuddle baby. 3 things. I can do 3 things. Anything else is a cherry on top.
  7. This too shall pass. Babies grow up fast. Too fast, in hindsight. Her difficult phases only seem to last a week or two, so whenever I start to feel overwhelmed by something in particular, like the evening Witching Hour or clingyness that prevents me from showering for 4 days, I just have to remind myself that there are probably only a few days left of this behaviour and then we’ll be on to all new behaviours.
  8. My wife may not be home much, but she loves us and she shares the baby responsibility on the weekends. She also makes sure we are fed and clothed. I have a supportive partner.

I’m sure I will gain confidence as time goes on. I know I will always worry about my daughter, but hopefully I will one day feel like I can handle more than those 3 things (feed baby, change baby, cuddle baby).

11 thoughts on “A bit more anxiety, and talking myself down ”

  1. Being the parent-on-point 24/7 is DAMN hard work. Keep breathing, and if you find yourself unable to do that, do you have someone you can talk to? A friend, midwife, doula, doctor? It does get easier, and better, but it’s also good to be aware of when it’s not getting better yet. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks 🙂 I have a friend who has offered to come and help me take care of the baby, even if it involves rocking her vigorously until she calms down. Maybe I should take her up on that offer once in a while.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s SO HARD to take people up on their offers of help, particularly when you’re feeling anxious already. If you can, do it. It can make a huge difference. And if you do, try to take at least some of that time to do something good for yourself. A shower, a walk, a hot cup of your favorite drink. You’re doing great!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Being home alone with a baby all day is really hard and can be very isolating. I used to have panic attacks as the sun was setting because it meant that soon, we were going to go to bed and when we woke up, I’d be all alone with Charlotte again. I feel like 3/4 months was a turning point for me. Basically, I started to feel like I was really getting the hang of the whole baby thing right as I had to go back to work! Bottom line is that it gets easier. It gets so much easier. Motherhood is always going to be hard for one reason or another, but the challenges you’re having today will become second nature in the coming weeks. You’ve got this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gosh I could have written this. Well done for taking stock of the good things. I started keeping a gratitude diary and write 3 things I’m grateful for every night. It really helps. You’re doing a wonderful job. Your baby is fed, warm, loved. They don’t need real entertainment at that age. My son only just started realising what a toy is. Even then he cries if I told it in front of him too long. We just cuddle and watch tv lol xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks 🙂 At my family Thanksgiving dinner last weekend some people tried to tell me I shouldn’t be cuddling her all the time cuz I was going to spoil her. I had to leave the room in a rage because they just didn’t get it… At this age sometime cuddling them all day is all you can do! And there’s nothing wrong with that! Thanks for backing me up 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Our experience has been that baby becomes a MUCH better communicator around the 3-month mark. She gives much clearer signals of what she wants/needs, and we probably got better at interpreting them. That makes it much easier. I 100% understand the anxiety. I had to give myself a pep talk that it was OKAY to just sit around with the baby – I was constantly thinking of errands I had to run or chores that needed to be finished, and that wasn’t facilitating bonding. We do much better when I slow down and just hold her or try to read to her.

    Also, we have a few made-up “coping” songs for when she is fussy or in the car. The classic “We are allllmoooost there, we are almost, almost there…” or “I love you so much it hurts. Please don’t cry, please don’t cry, I love you so much it hurts.” They get us through the tough times…even if it’s just me they help!

    Boy do I know watching that clock at 5:15, 6:05, 6:40…when will wife get home!?!? It’s emotionally exhausting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, yesterday I tried slowing it down and just sitting around with her and it did help. It’s also getting more rewarding now that she is doing cute things like facial expressions and making sounds.
      I have a made up song too for when she’s crying and it’s very similar! “I love you so much, please don’t cry, please don’t cry…” I find it extra difficult to remember actual lullaby lyrics when I’m stressed! Haha

      Like

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