Luca will be four months old tomorrow. While some things have gotten better since the first two months, others are still a struggle. Yes, he may smile more, sleep more, and interact more but he’s still a tiny little person, who is utterly dependent upon me. There are still nights that require more energy than I would prefer (last night being one of them) and there are still times when he cries and I have no idea why. But mostly, the hardest part of motherhood has been the fleeting feelings of desperate loneliness.
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3am is a wretched hour. God should just erase 3am, it has no purpose but to prolong the arrival of 4am. Why my son feels 3am is a great time to grunt or squeal or be fed (even if he was just fed an hour previously) is beyond me. Even if he doesn’t wake-up, I do. I inevitably wake-up thirsty, or to go to the bathroom, or because I had a bad dream. I will be honest and say that when I look over at my husband and he is sleeping peacefully, I feel bitterness well up within me. It’s lonely at 3am.
Those who know my husband know that he is incredibly supportive, probably more than most. Yet, despite his willingness to help he can never take away the burden of being a mother. There is a heavy weight that lies upon all of us as moms. It’s revealed in little ways. When my husband and I are watching our favorite show, who is the first to react when our baby cries? It’s by no fault of men, we are literally wired differently. We are wired to care about nothing more than the well-being of our offspring. But it’s exhausting.
Today, through tears, I told Caleb the feelings of loneliness I have been having, especially at night. He said that he’s saddened to hear me say that but confessed that he’s not surprised. As much as we all hate to admit it (dare I admit it?), our sweet little bundles of joy are sometimes more like big packages of frustration. Caleb admitted that parenthood has revealed his own selfishness and that there is a part of him that doesn’t always want to help. I can’t blame him, I get it. There’s a part of me that doesn’t always want to step-up to the plate either… but as the mom, I feel I have no choice. That is what makes motherhood feel so isolating. The buck stops with me.
I’m not going to end this post with reassurance that babies are wonderful and motherhood is beautiful. You all know that I speak of another side of this journey that is spoken of too little. There’s plenty of Chicken-Soup-for-the-Soul-type poetry to make us feel good about motherhood. I guess this is more like an enema for the soul. It’s cleansing, freeing to write honestly about the darker side of motherhood. I am hoping that it’s freeing for you other moms to know that you are not alone or faulty for having these feelings too. How could we not? We have a new precious life in our hands. Our wants and desires are no longer priority. Our lives are not our own. So, of course. Of course we will feel resentful and lonely at times, there’s really no way around it.
**Five months have passed since I wrote this post and it has remained in the number one position since it was published. I wish I could say that the loneliness has subsided, but it remains. In fact, ironically, Caleb and I just had another conversation about it last night. While some things look different (like almost everything) ultimately, I still feel the heavy burden of being the primary caregiver. Caleb and I have had to work very hard to not let this burden evolve into contempt within our marriage (I’ll be writing more about that soon…). We can’t be mad at Luca, right? But the anger and frustration has to go somewhere… unfortunately, our spouses are often the first target we see.
The only band-aid (not cure) I’ve found for the loneliness thus far has been to be very open and honest about it. I share these feelings with my husband. That’s very difficult for both of us. It takes strength for me to share without attacking and strength for him to listen without defending. I also share these feelings with my Mama Tribe. If you don’t have one yet, go find one. They get my pain. It’s powerful to feel understood.
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this again or for the first time! If you know of any new moms who might benefit from hearing some truth, send it their way!
Thanks for reading,
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