Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Overwhelmed

I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed today. The lead up to the anniversary of Owen's death and his birthday is always really bad.

And I'm just feeling so.... bah... I'm just overwhelmed and crazy feeling.

This new aspect of my life, being the mom of a living baby, and grieving my babies in Heaven is taking its toll. I feel guilty even writing that. I feel guilty that I can't keep it all together. I feel guilty that I don't always know what I'm doing, but I feel like I should.

Mommy guilt is a terrible, terrible thing. I hate the days when I feel like I'm messing everything up. Like I can't do anything right.

I'm not great with schedules or strict with naptimes/bedtime. I must be a horrible mom. I just started solids and I hate it. Well, hate is a strong word. But I don't like it. It's so confusing and complicated. All the information I'm getting is making me feel like if I don't do homemade, organic baby food then I must be a terrible mom. It's hard starting something new and my personality feels like I must find the best/perfect way to do it and then do it perfectly.

Until recently, I didn't really worry about Hannah's bedtime. She went to bed when she started acting sleepy/fussy. I just went with the flow and followed her cues. But now, all of a sudden, I'm comparing Hannah to all the babies around here (there are ALOT) and I feel guilty that I can't get her to sleep before 9:30-10pm. Our upstairs neighbor puts all 3 kids to bed at 7:30 (the youngest was born around Hannah's due date). Seriously, she puts them to bed and they all just go to sleep.
So, last night, after a bath and some cuddling, I put her down to bed at 8pm. And she cried... and cried and cried... for 2 hours. I let her cry for seriously 30 seconds before picking her back up again, but I think the whole thing was just so different for her (I always put her down after she's asleep) and it made her angry. I rocked and walked and cuddled and tried to nurse her but everything just made her angry. Finally after crying with her, I put her in her exersaucer and let her play for a few minutes. She calmed down (probably b/c she got what she wanted), and then 10 minutes later fussed for milk and then promptly fell asleep. At 10pm.
Like usual.

argh.

I don't know what I'm doing and I'm afraid that I'm parenting her out of guilt and fear and worry. I'm fearful she'll die, so I try to enjoy and cherish each moment I have with her. But seriously, who can do that ALL the time, so I end up feeling guilty because I get short tempered with her. I worry about her safety and development and well being and health and happiness so much, ALL the time, that I forget to enjoy her. I'm afraid I'm making decisions from the wrong place.
I feel guilty that she has to have this basket case of a mom, so I compensate by letting her do what she wants (i.e. not a strict bedtime or naptimes, not letting her cry or fuss hardly at all- unless I can help it, letting her nap on me).

Maybe that's a big part of it- I feel bad that she has to grow up with a basket case for a mom. I really hate that I can't be a normal mom for her. There is so much fear and anxiety that have come from burying my firstborn. I look at everything differently. I see the worst case scenario in every situation.


Wow. This is such a horrible post.
But it's the truth. This is where I am right now. This is where I am, 3 years after my little boy died.


Every night, when I put Hannah down in her bed, I pray for her safety and health, that she'll live a long, healthy, happy, God glorifying life. That she'll come to know Jesus.
And that Jesus would help me trust Him with her life.

16 comments:

Mandi @ Life...Your Way said...

I can't speak to the parenting out of guilt or fear. Yes, I think you need to work through that, but I'm not sure how to help you do that.

As to the bedtime, don't let that be one more thing that makes you guilty. I have four little girls 6 and under. The three oldest go to bed every night by 8pm, earlier in the winter.

My youngest, however, is 14 months old, and she's only been going to bed early (and sleeping through the night, to be honest) for a month or so.

I say nurse her to sleep, rock her and enjoy these days as much as you want. She'll learn to go to sleep on her own in her own good time, and you don't want to miss out on those days in the meantime!

I still regret forcing my oldest to sleep through the night as a baby, and all of them are great sleepers now.

Erika said...

ebe, you are a GREAT mom. don't compare yourself to other moms- they don't have it as together as they pretend. my youngest just started going to bed at a reasonable hour (9pm) and she is 16 months old. she is still nursing and wakes up during the night. i know about parenting from that place...feeling like you have to make every moment special because you didn't get to raise the ones in Heaven. but the thing about hannah mae is that she will understand and grow deeper in compassion and empathy because of owen. i read kristy bolte's blog and one thing she talks about is how the best mom is the one who is THERE. her mom committed suicide and struggled with perfectionism before she died. whenever i think about how imperfect i am as a parent, i remember that lesson- that the most important thing is being present and parenting out of love.

Open Air said...

First of all, you are an AWESOME mom! And I'm writing that in caps because you can't hear the strong inflection in my voice. :)

In fact, I think so highly of you, and who you are, that it makes me a little ticked to think of other moms guilting you up there.
I know they're not trying to, but I hear a lot of moms go on about organic baby food and natural childbirth, and how they're going to do this parenting thing so perfectly, and it honestly makes me a little bit crazy. Because nowhere in their perfect, veggie pureeing plan does burying babies fit in.
And I think we're blessed, you know? Because even if you feel like a basket case, you are SO far from it. You are a mom who has endured excruciating pain and survived to bring glory to God. You pushed past fear of loss to bring a beautiful baby girl into this world.
And you know what? At the end of the day, Gerber or organic, strict bedtime or not, I know she's going to be a healthy, God-glorifying, amazing person because she has you for a mom.
Forget "normal" moms. You're a better mom because of what you've been through. You have more compassion, more love, more perspective, and you cherish her beyond measure.
If she had a choice between you and a million other moms, I'm sure she'd choose you. And her life is going to be amazing. I just know it.
Love,
Beverly

Freya said...

Ebe,
This whole life is about walking into the unknown (by faith) and not the known. It's no different for any other Christian regardless of whether they are grieving or not--but the difference is you've known what a lot of people haven't with Owen. For the other people, they have some other great difficulty in their lives--and they don't worry about their kids because the main struggle God has given them is in regard to something else. For you, though, (forgive me for speaking so plainly), this seems like the main struggle of your life right now, it's your full-time job alongside being a wife & mother. So feel free to deal with it, and deal with in full, the more you deal with it, the healthier you and your family will be--and the more you pray that God help you mother Hannah Mae IN LIGHT of what you've been through, the more you will grow into the mom you are supposed to be who has had some really hard experiences with her firstborn and her two other children but who hasn't had some other excruciating hardship.
Also, I would say, be free regarding Hannah Mae to do what is best for your family. Don't try to make her do something based on what you see someone else doing, do what works best for y'all, because you know your baby best & they know theirs best. If it's better for you to have extra time with your husband at night then you might figure out a way to get her to bed earlier, but if you guys love the time with her and don't mind, let her stay up!
Take care, Ebe. I definitely understand where you are coming from. You're going to make it though, God has promised you that: "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Phil. 1:6

~Freya

Devon said...

parenting after loss is so very hard...i honestly struggle daily. you are loving hannah with your whole heart....loving her deeply, holding her loosely. its a very delicate balance....try not to compare yourself to other moms and babies...we all have our own issues - seriously!

practically speaking, about bedtime....my girls both go to bed at a decent hour. how that happened? i am not entirely sure but if you want some real life tips, here is what i got......if you want her to go to bed earlier, just start putting her down 10 minutes earlier each night until you get to the time you want....and maybe with daylight savings coming it will be even easier? routinue always helps too.....bath, jammies, a book, nurse, rocking, bed time....whatever works for you.

botom line, follow your heart. you are an AMAZING mom! ((hugs)) to you!

Tara said...

Be patient with yourself. You are a great momma to Hannah and Owen.

Regarding the bedtime thing...try adjusting more slowly if you want to try that, like 10-15 minutes.

Baby steps :-)

Kelly said...

I don't have much to offer other than to try to reassure you that what you're feeling, although painful and incredibly difficult, is all normal. Please try not to be so hard on yourself. (((HUGS)))

Susan said...

I just wanted to stop in and tell you that none of my babies has ever gone to bed earlier than 9:30 or 10 before they started crawling/walking. I also never let my babies cry (toddlers...on occasion, babies never.)

At 3.5 years & 2 years my boys are AWESOME sleepers... I nursed them to sleep well past a year old.

So you are NOT a terrible mom. You are doing what is best for your family and that is what is important. Do what you are comfortable with & what works!

Google "Attachment Parenting." I think you will be happy what you find!

(((HUGS)))

Mother's guilt is awful. And we all have it.

Tonya said...

Sweet Ebe. You are not a terrible mom. You may feel like a basket case but I guarantee you are the most wonderful person in Hannah's eyes. I never let Jessica or Emma Grace cry it out. I just couldn't. They both got rocked to sleep. And I don't regret one minute of it. I miss it, in fact. I'm not to the point with Matthew yet to see how his sleep will play out.

If it makes you feel better, I'm afraid he is going to die too. And I fear the same for Jessica and Emma Grace. I think it just comes with losing a child. I pray for them every day, and I try to soak them up as much as I can. Some days are better than others.

I've been thinking about you and praying for you as Owen's heaven day is coming. Wish you were here so I could see you and hug you. Call me anytime if you want to talk. I will listen to it all...good and bad! Love and miss you lots! (((HUGS)))

Tonya

knittinghenfibers said...

Ebe don't be too hard on yourself. This month is harder on you & Chris than most and I see you in these pictures and you are a terrific mom! Look at how happy you all are!! You are NOT a basket case. You went through something horrible with sweet baby Owen and that is not something you can just get over and those of us that know and love you and Chris understand and support you even if we are hundreds of miles away from you.

Keep going with Hannah's flow. Asa has started changing lately too. He cried the other night like that when I put him down at his normal time and since we don't cry it out either I picked him up and all he needed was to wind down for about 30 more minutes with me and J holding him and that is probably what she needed.

Keep reading her cues~remember when she cries she is trying to tell you something like an alarm not to manipulate you. She is way too young for that!! And don't worry about what others are doing. My nieces never went to bed before 10pm until they were 3 and had run around all day.

Mrs. MK said...

Ebe, the only thing I want to say is that you are not alone in this. Grieving has changed me so much, and my children are affected. It breaks my heart, but I am learning to release it to God. I have to trust that He knows what He's doing, having our family walk THIS road together.

There are many days when I let things slide that I know I shouldn't....parenting and homeschooling 3 boys ages 3-8 is hard enough under normal circumstances. So I try to cut some slack, but it is hard. We are supposed to be the adults here, right?

Anyway, just want to let you know that your feelings are shared. Don't compare yourself to anyone else....they don't have your life. God has made YOU Hannah's mother, and for a beautiful purpose. Love you!

dorothe said...

I am thinking of you. Much love from Athens.

elfinwynter said...

Hey girl.

I can't add to much that hasn't already been expressed very well in previous posts. Being perfection driven is hard (I know full well) and adding guilt and fear into the mix has got to be nerve-wracking for you. And that natural perfectionism makes us so vulnerable to constant comparisons and we tend so often to judge ourselves harshly and unfairly.

But you know what? From the sweet, happy, peaceful smiles and happiness I see in that precious baby's face...YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB!!

As long as that baby feels the peace and security in her home, parents and life that she can be so happy and content, then I don't think you are failing her in ANY way! You love her. You enjoy her. You are there for her. You are protecting her. AND SHE KNOWS IT. That, I think is the most precious gift - beyond daily pointing her the the One who created her - that any mother can give.

Our thoughts are with you (as always) over the next few days as Owen's Heaven Day and Birthday approach.

Sara said...

Ebe, you are a great mama... the perfect mama for Hannah... The mama that God gave her:) She is so blessed to have you. Try not to be too hard on yourself, you are loving her so deeply just as you should. I always pray that God's grace will cover all my mess ups with the kids, because there are plenty...

You have been so on my heart these days... Wow, 3 years... That seems crazy. I remember thinking last year that you missing Owen for 2 years seemed like a long time, and now that has come and gone for me. I am praying for you friend. Praying for the Lord to lead and guide you in raising your sweet Hannah Mae and that He will comfort you in these days!
Love you !
Sara

sjefferson said...

Hi friend! Boy, did I need to hear this post!! Geez. I'm right there with you. Before infertility, I swore "I'd never..." a lot of things as a mom. Now, it seems as though anything goes. I felt guilty not having Grey in organic diapers b/c I read somewhere that it could be a cause for undiagnosed infertility. Putting him in Pampers makes me a wreck. I know it's dumb, but it's true. Oh man. Solids...everyone says NO SOLIDS until they're 6 months. Well I tried and tried to hold Grey off, but darn it, he was starving at 4 1/2 months! So I gave in. Guilt. Three solids a day isn't supposed to begin until 8 mo. Started that today. Guilt. He's full on crawling. He falls and I feel guilty. Bed time and naps. Oh boy. I have done the same thing you have done. I didn't want to be the super strick, live and die by a schedule mom simply b/c I didn't have to be. After all, we're just at home all day. But you get to talking to other mom's and their babies sleep through the night, take two long naps a day, etc. and guilt. Anyway, all this to say -- you are not alone!! I have to daily remind myself that all babies are different. Bedtime is when Grey is tired. He does not sleep through the night and wakes up twice to nurse. He even ends up in the bed with us most nights. GASP! I'm working on not feeling guilty for mothering my child the way that works for us. I just don't want him to cry himself to sleep or want to be with me and not allow him that time. And the fear and anxiety is there with me too. Grey actually likes to sleep face down. As you can imagine, that makes me crazy. I go in and turn his head all the time. Don't even get me started on leaving him! But like you said, this is an area where we need to trust more and understand that we're human and God is well, God! Praise the Lord their wellbeing is not dependant on our perfection!! I know I rambled on... just know I'm there with you and praying for you!

sjefferson said...

Hi friend! Boy, did I need to hear this post!! Geez. I'm right there with you. Before infertility, I swore "I'd never..." a lot of things as a mom. Now, it seems as though anything goes. I felt guilty not having Grey in organic diapers b/c I read somewhere that it could be a cause for undiagnosed infertility. Putting him in Pampers makes me a wreck. I know it's dumb, but it's true. Oh man. Solids...everyone says NO SOLIDS until they're 6 months. Well I tried and tried to hold Grey off, but darn it, he was starving at 4 1/2 months! So I gave in. Guilt. Three solids a day isn't supposed to begin until 8 mo. Started that today. Guilt. He's full on crawling. He falls and I feel guilty. Bed time and naps. Oh boy. I have done the same thing you have done. I didn't want to be the super strick, live and die by a schedule mom simply b/c I didn't have to be. After all, we're just at home all day. But you get to talking to other mom's and their babies sleep through the night, take two long naps a day, etc. and guilt. Anyway, all this to say -- you are not alone!! I have to daily remind myself that all babies are different. Bedtime is when Grey is tired. He does not sleep through the night and wakes up twice to nurse. He even ends up in the bed with us most nights. GASP! I'm working on not feeling guilty for mothering my child the way that works for us. I just don't want him to cry himself to sleep or want to be with me and not allow him that time. And the fear and anxiety is there with me too. Grey actually likes to sleep face down. As you can imagine, that makes me crazy. I go in and turn his head all the time. Don't even get me started on leaving him! But like you said, this is an area where we need to trust more and understand that we're human and God is well, God! Praise the Lord their wellbeing is not dependant on our perfection!! I know I rambled on... just know I'm there with you and praying for you!