Make The Pain Play Fair

Sometimes everything is horrible.

Sometimes you are holding your 14 week old son who you love more than your own life and all you can see are unending nights of no sleep stretching out in front of you like the dashes on the highway and you hate his father for being able to sleep as long as he wants and you hate your life and you hate everything that isn't this tiny baby who WILL NOT SLEEP and nothing makes any sense and you just cry. You jiggle and you put the pacifier in his mouth, and he spits it out and starts to fuss and you put it back in and he spits it out and all of a sudden it is light in the room and you glance at the clock and two hours have gone by. He probably slept at some point, but you missed it because you were just sitting in a well of pain and fatigue that simply cannot be understood. Adam comes out of the bedroom and says good morning and tries to stroke your hair but you shrink away - ignoring the hurt and confusion on his face. He offers to take the baby and you are mute because if you open your mouth you will scream at him. You will fling the most hurtful words you can find and you will drag him down into your hell with you. Or maybe you say, "If you want to"and just sit there while he takes the baby out of your arms. You look at the baby shaped hole in your life now and then you are moving. Still in your pajamas you put on sneakers and your raincoat and tell him you have to go for a while. Halfway down the driveway you turn around and go back for your cell phone because you don't actually get to run away - love has imprisoned you and that is the worst part. Really.

No way to make the pain play fair, 

it doesn't disappear just because you say it isn't there, 

so when they ask why'd you go, 

you can say life in Eden changed

I generally sleep from 10-1 and then from 2-4. Sometimes I get to sleep again from 5-7, but that is rare. So I'm operating on about five hours of sleep, 1/2 caff coffee and Zoloft. I don't want to hear about how your kid sleeps from 6 pm until 7am. I don't care about the book you read or the 15 million kids you've raised. I am dealing with a fatigue so intense and long lasting that it can only release itself in irrational anger and continuous tears. If I try to sleep when he naps during the day I feel worse and nothing gets done and that makes me crazy. So I just keep going. We try the later bedtime, we try the early bedtime. It makes no difference. We have a routine. We have aromatherapy. We have swaddle blankets. It doesn't matter.

He asked me yesterday, as I was cleaning or vacuuming or sweeping something, "Is there anything I can do to help?" I wanted to punch him in the face. I have never actually wanted to punch someone so much in my entire life. It was a physical craving - that is the only word I can use for it. I just said no and asked him to please stop asking me that.

WHY WOULD YOU ASK ME THAT??? I'm vacuuming the floor and you ask. What, am I supposed to stop and hand you the vacuum and go sit and eat bon bons? (ps - what the hell are bon bons? I've never known.) Could you not see that the floor needed to be vacuumed BEFORE I started to do it? Could you not just come home and do it? Or sweep the floor, or clean the bathroom, or the kitchen, or do laundry or dust, or sweep the front walk, or wash the windows or plan dinner for the week or research developmental milestones and the best way to help the baby reach them or any other of the millions of things I do or worry about doing every day. I don't ask you what I should be doing, I just do it. It isn't that complicated. I tell you that I'm dividing up days and trying to do a couple chores a day to keep the house from complete chaos and you tell me you could never follow a routine that strict. Ok, fine. Then just do some random shit please. Anything. Or at the very least please do not ask me what you can do. I am not your mother - you are a grown ass man who knows what a dirty floor looks like and where the fucking swiffer is.

He tells me that he'll stay up late so I can sleep. What that means is that he'll stay up until the 1 am feeding and then maybe sleep or maybe keep playing video games until the 2 or 4 am feeding (6 am at the latest) before falling asleep until noon or one. I still have to get up for an hour a 1 am and at 5am to pump so how exactly does this help? I have tried to explain this. If you want to help get up at 5 and let me go to bed. Let me abdicate responsibility for 6 or 8 hours once a week.  Make my sleep a priority the way I make your sleep a priority.

I love Adam. I love him so much that it hurts. He is the sweetest man in the universe and I know that if I could make him understand any of this he would try to help. It isn't his fault that I can't get the words out. That the needing any of this makes me feel horrible. I can't find any way to say these things that isn't incredibly bitchy, so I just keep my mouth shut and slog from day to day.

I make menus each week and clip coupons and plan so that we save as much as possible because I know he worries about money. I try to make sure that we get out for a little while at least once each week because I know he wants time with me away from the baby. I try to make sure that he has time with his friends without either of us at least every other week so that he can keep as much of his old life as possible. I don't wake him up on the weekends because he works all week and stays up late and needs his rest. I try to split bath and bedtime with him each night because doing both hurts his back. I'm looking for a new rocking chair because he's too tall to fit comfortably into the one we have. I do our laundry every Thursday and the baby's laundry every Tuesday. I vacuum on Mondays and Fridays. Something gets cleaned every day. I work on the website and on the rental house to try and start bringing in money to help out. I study for my real estate license exam so that I can bring in more. I walk with the baby in his carrier every day for at least an hour to try and start losing the weight and to get him some fresh air. We do tummy time and listen to music, he loves when I sing the ABC song and when I read any of the Pooh books. I do it all with sore breasts and an aching back, a knee that tells me when it's going to rain, a randomly leaky bladder and a mind misted from lack of sleep and PPD.

I don't want to stop doing any of those things. I want to take care of my family and my home. I want to find the satisfaction and joy. Sometimes there are glimmers. Right now glimmers are not enough. I'm sitting on the screened in porch typing this and crying. Then I'll get some paperwork done for one job and do the menu and shopping list for the week and study for a couple hours. Adam will take care of my sweet baby while I have a day off. It's already 1pm and there is so much to get done before bath time rolls around. There is never enough time. And today is one of those days when the crying doesn't stop.

Graeme Seabrook