New mom: I want to yank my hair out!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a piece about jealousy and how I loved that my baby girl liked being in my arms best. Yeah, I’m over it. She hit two months and, almost to the day, is virtually inconsolable with anyone but me. While that is totes adorbz for all of five minutes, a complete inability to do anything that requires two hands is killing me. As is my back. It’s like being permanently attached to a screaming, 12-lb shake weight that spits up a lot. I would officially give anything to be able to put her down or hand her off to someone for 10 minutes so I can eat/change clothes/shower/breathe without being yelled at.

Of course, even typing that last paragraph brings almost unbearable guilt. I have no interest in letting her cry till she can’t breathe. I don’t want to put her down if she’s going to be that upset, but I also can’t stand around with my back at a 120-degree angle all day long. Actually, she isn’t even satisfied with standing. I have to be walking at all times. Up and down, all bloody day long. Evidently my kid is really concerned with the size of my ass.

Everyone tells me to just put her down and let her cry it out. Take care of yourself, they say, it’s just a stage. I’m not sure what that means because every time she gets into the swing of that really wretched cry, my insides turn upside down. No way can I leave her and take care of myself when all it does is damage my calm. She may be just upset that mommy has left her (and may never come back!)—which would explain why she cries when she can’t see or hear me, but it doesn’t explain why she bawls even when she can.

Somewhere in the haze of feeding, burping, walking, yelling, diapers, spit-up, feeding again, and so on, I try to force myself to get out once a day. Thankfully, I have a friend with a baby in the neighbourhood who I can talk to and go out with, otherwise I would have gone completely bonkers. I’ve even dropped in at her house on more than one occasion, just to plonk my baby down in her kid’s swing, which is the only one she will sit quietly in. I have three different swings at my house, but not one of those will do. It has to be the swing in someone else’s house. So I go over, luckily they are generous with the intrusion despite my coming by during family time. I’m too tired for boundaries.

I’m told this phase lasts till she’s about four months old. She’s two months and one week. I’m not sure how I’m going to make it. It’s days like these when I honestly wonder whether I’ll last the whole year worth of maternity leave. It’s wonderful that we have the option in Canada, but I have to admit that I miss work at least once a day. Does that make me a bad mother? Maybe. At least at work, I didn’t get yelled at all day long and spend little to no time covered in poop. Great, now I feel guilty again.

Days stretch into nights and I swear there are times when I want to yank my hair out. Luckily, in the lovely post-pregnancy stage, it’s falling out all on its own. Today, out of sheer frustration, I yelled at the home alarm panel for two solid minutes as I mashed keys at random. I’m neglecting the poor cat, I haven’t had dinner before 10 p.m. in two weeks and every shirt has some form of spit-up on it.

And then she smiles. And my heart feels full, and everything is wonderful.

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