“Just go. Go home and sleep,” my well-intentioned husband told me. He and the in-laws would watch the kids. I could get a very-much-needed 40 winks. Or even 60 winks. Or check my e-mail. Or eat something. Or just be.
I drove away crying.
Mommyhood is hard. And – something friends and baby books don’t tell you – it can be isolating too. I went from socializing, working full-time, living an engaged life on a Tuesday, to sitting up at night, under newborn house arrest on a Thursday.
New moms spend a lot of time alone with a teeny, needy new human being. They spend lonely nights, creeping around the house, sitting, nursing, trying to soothe a little one, and make sure the rest of the household can stay sleeping. People don’t want to call in fear of waking the baby. People don’t want to stop by, for fear of imposing, or butting in on the special new baby/mama time. People are, like my husband, well-intentioned. They are trying to make a new mom’s life easier.
But this new mom’s life didn’t feel easier. It felt harder. It felt entirely disconnected. The sleeplessness added to the isolation made me feel like I was living in some strange sort of twilight zone.
I didn’t want to leave my kids at my in-laws house to go sit by myself or take a nap. I knew the day would come when I did want those things, but in the week after Plum Bee’s birth, I wanted to be with other people. Sure, I’d love it if someone else was doing the baby-holding, baby-feeding, toddler-chasing, etc. But I wanted to be in the company of others, the company of adults. I wanted to have a two-way conversation. 40 winks ranked a distant second in my needs.
So I turned the car around, and went back to the in-laws. I let them do the wrangling/rocking and I sat, sipped an iced tea, and enjoyed their company. It was much more restorative than 40 minutes of sleep. I felt calmer, more supported, and more connected. And when mama’s happy… well, you know the story…