Haven't posted or checked the forums in over a month now. DS is just over 4 months old and this past month has been full of changes. He has definitely exited the fourth trimester stage and everything is in constant flux. It's amazing and heartwarming to witness my baby boy growing and developing before my eyes but I've gotten to a point this week where I am just totally overwhelmed.
In the beginning, I would get stressed because I had to hold him and nurse him constantly and I wasn't getting any housework done. Now it's totally different. There is so much to do with and for him that I can't fit it all in. I want to be able to nurture all his new skills - rolling over, new sounds/faces, trying to crawl, oral development. I also want to encourage new ones and do good things for him like reading and socializing. Of course, there are things I want to do for myself, too, like yoga, walking, strength training (all of which I am sure I can do in a way that baby will enjoy, if only I could find time) as well as my own socializing. I would say at least 50% of the time, we don't interact with anyone during the day except my DH when he gets home at night.
Right now, my biggest goals are sleep related. DS was an excellent sleeper in the early weeks, but not so much now. His naps are touch and go and he wakes every 2-3 hours at night. 95% of the time, he only falls asleep by nursing at the breast. So, when he doesn't sleep, neither do I, and that makes the daytime tasks even harder to accomplish. I have tried a variety of things and am trying to be patient as I continue to try more and more. I know sleep is a complicated and controversial issue with many schools of thought and I am doing my best to try and figure out what works for us.
I have returned to reading parenting/baby books in an attempt to figure out what we "should" be doing throughout the day for his development, as well as for sleep. I find that instead of helping, they often make me feel even more guilty, like I am screwing everything up. I constantly find myself faced with questions. How much structure is best during the day? Is it better to hold him as much as possible even if I'm not doing anything, or should I let him try to crawl and play with toys on the floor? The list goes on and on.
I have very little support in my friends and family. DS was unplanned and I was never a kid person before so I haven't kept in touch with many of my friends with small children and I am getting my karma for it now. I have tried a mom's group, but now with this sleep thing I am finding that our best nap times are also the times that most groups meet - 1030 am and 130 pm, so I am torn on how to handle that. My DH is probably better than many, but I often feel like his is completely incompetent and I have given up on relying on him to provide me with the support I need. My jaw is sore from clenching it in frustration so often. Our marriage wasn't perfect when we accidentally got pregnant, so having a baby is a major strain on our relationship. Not to mention the fact that our main social activities all consisted of drinking, and we can no longer do that as a couple. With no support, also comes no time alone, no date nights, etc. just the 3 of us which often means DS and I doing our usual thing while DH does his or a complete break in our usual routine.
I could babble on and on. Essentially I just don't know how to do this without support. I don't know how to take care of the baby + myself so it's always one or the other. I always feel like I'm doing everything wrong. I have nobody to talk to and when I do, it's always all about the baby. I miss my old life. I also love my baby so much it hurts and my perfectionism is telling me I'm not good enough. I'm broke. I'm lonely. I'm tired. I'm sure this is the same old song of every new mom but GEEZ, it's killing me.