I’m seriously sleep-deprived today. I’m twenty-two weeks pregnant and starting to get round. My husband was in and out of sleep all night with a fever and when he was actually sleeping, he was snoring or grunting uncomfortably. My four year old was having a restless night and came in nearly every hour. I know I slept once, for a few minutes, maybe, only because I woke up mumbling something about a train and my daughter said “what train?” I didn’t know. Probably my getaway train.
My body is wrecked. My head hurts. Everyone is home today and I just want to run away to the place where sleep is. But days like this are inevitable. It’s par for the course and I know that. I’ve almost come to terms with it, almost. Still, I can’t help being mildly bitter at my husband, even though I know it’s unfair. It’s not his fault he’s sick and helpless. It’s not his fault he kept me up all night. It’s not his fault he’s in bed and I’m down here listening to the pulse in my brain and wondering how it’s only 10 am and I’m already checked out.
But I’m still mad. I’m mad that I was sick as a dog for three months and still had to go on with my days with no one to help me while he was at work and I was throwing up or so fatigued I thought I would die. Some days my daughter got so angry at me for being sick she’d hit me or throw herself on the ground and all I could do what cry and throw up again. I’m mad that I’m pregnant and tired and have a sick husband and a cranky child who’s likely on the verge of being sick, too and home for the rest of the week. I’m just mad.
Days like this make me terrified for my second child to come. This exhaustion is so familiar, not that I’ve ever been too far from it. My daughter still wakes several times most nights, either to potty or to snuggle or sometimes just to cry for no reason. But those early breastfeeding days are not far off now. And what will I do with two children who are crying in the night and swinging open doors? Hope tells me I’ll roll with it. Fear tells me I’ll lose my shit.
It’s not just the exhaustion I’m afraid of. It’s the shifting of everything that’s bound to happen once again and this time I’m not the only one has to adjust. I decided to have a second baby because I wanted a family of four. I didn’t think our family was quite done and I wanted one more child. But more than any of it, I wanted my daughter to have a sibling. Now, I’m terrified of what she’ll truly feel once it all comes. Will she feel love instantly or will she be completely beside herself with jealousy? Will she be angry and hate me for nursing the baby all the time and expecting more independence from the child who was just my baby seconds ago? Will she cry when I can’t get down and play and will I be so overwhelmed with nursing and sleepless nights and an angry child that I just can’t take it?
Am I completely alone in these fears or are they typical of adding babies to your brood? I don’t know. Somebody please tell me. Everyone says it’ll be fine. It’ll be great, she’ll adjust, don’t worry. And then parents tell me that it’s a fucking mountain and I believe them. They tell me I have no idea, that it’s so much harder than one child in every way and I believe them.
Most days I’m happy to accept it all. Roll with the punches. Whatever will be will be, ya know. But not today. Today I’m hoping for the best and fearing the worst. I’m hoping for one of those magic sleeping babies that I never understood. I’m hoping for flawless breastfeeding, easy latching, superior production, all that. I’m hoping for a joyous daughter and an easy going son who laughs a lot. I’m hoping for new opportunities for my husband, ones that mean he’s home more and I get to work sometimes. And all the while I know I’m hoping for too much and fearing too much at the same time.
But today the mountain seems too big and I’m too small. Too small and too tired and too pregnant.
And there’s no one else. It’s just me.