That Sunday Night Feeling

You know what’s worse than Monday morning?  Sunday night.

Monday morning is never all that bad.  When I used to work early or have early class on Mondays, I’d look a bit disheveled, tired-eyed, and nod empathetically when someone said “Mondays, right?” but it was all a bit of a sham.  I actually kind of like Monday mornings.  Sure, I’m tired, but I’m not as burned-out as I was on Thursday.

But on Sunday, you know your me-time is almost over.  You know you’re facing another week, and you’re trying to gear up for it, but can’t really do anything yet.  Andreas gets pretty mopey on Sunday nights.  It’s tough, because I want us to enjoy all the time we have together, but there’s just this mood hanging over our little apartment on Sunday nights, and it’s hard to shake.

Yesterday was Andreas’s first day back at work since he left in October, and boy was it a doozy.  Not the actual first day of work, but that Sunday night.

Andreas was bummed, and I was nervous.  Suddenly, after weeks of having help, really whenever I needed it, I’d be on my own.  On my sleepy own with this little guy who, recently, has wanted my full attention 100% of the time he’s awake (and who hasn’t been a huge fan of being asleep).  It just got worse and worse, and I don’t know if Theo picked up on it, or if he had a belly-ache (as his machine-gun farts pointed to), but he was not having a good evening.  We tried to put him down, and he woke with a shriek after half an hour.  He would cry and cry and fought any of our attempts to help him get back to sleep.  And when we finally succeeded (three seperate times) he woke 15 minutes later, just as unhappy as he was before he fell asleep.

It was rough.  I was tired, anxious, and feeling seriously depressed.  I tried to stay present, but I was forced inside myself, and couldn’t even be there for Andreas.  We both had full-on break-downs.  It was basically the worst.  And I only write this because if someone else happens upon this blog at some point, and sees our cute pictures, and my posts about how much I love my family, my husband, my husband’s family, my new life, etc…I also want them to see this.  That there are moments were I so, so don’t love it all.  Where I feel like I’m not only not the best mom I can be, but am an awful mom.  I felt like I did not deserve my little Theo–like I never should’ve even thought about having babies.

I don’t think that now, of course.  I don’t think it when I’m lucid and it’s daytime, and my baby isn’t screaming.  I know it’s not true.  But in the dark hours, I think it, and I believe it.

So today, when Theo was napping, I thought I’d write in my journal.  I picked it up and realized I haven’t written in it since nine days before Theo was born.  I started writing, and figured out some stuff along the way.  First of all, I know that if I didn’t have Theo, I’d have hours even darker than those the other night, wishing I had Theo.  And second of all, just because I’m doing my best, doesn’t mean that I can’t do even better tomorrow.  I can’t do any better than my best, but I can hope that tomorrow, my best will be better than my best was today.

It’s not all peachy and baby giggles and belly noms.  Not even close.  But it’s good, and it is what I always wanted, and what I want now.  And it’s okay to have moments when you forget that, but it’s important that you remember again the next day, and hopefully make your best better.

The first weeks

I said in my last post that I would update as nap times allowed. And I have. In short, my newborn hates to sleep. He’s typically awake for a good 7 to 8 hour stretch daily (between 7 pm and 3 am, unfortunately) and it’s really killing me. I feel a strange smouldering rage towards whoever it was that made it common knowledge that newborns sleep an average of 16 to 20 hours a day, because to that, I say: Pa-hah!

It’s rare that I have the use of both hands, which is why my posting and writing back to people is severely limited. Even now, Theo has one of my arms trapped under his huge head, but with a strategically placed Kindle, I’m able to update.

There’s another reason I wasn’t so eager to write, and that is, plain and simple, because I’m having a hard time. A really hard time. It started with the crazy blood loss and consequent weakness, then rolled into ravaged nipples which made nursing a nightmare, then a breast infection, followed by low supply and a consequently hungry, screaming baby. Things are more ”normal” now, though Theo is really quite fussy, especially late at night when it’s hardest to handle.

The truth is, that none of this is how I ever pictured it. I find myself jealous of Andreas, who gets to play his video games and live a lot of his life like he did before. I find myself doing one of four things at any given moment: feeding the baby, trapped under a sleeping baby, trying desperately to sleep while the baby sleeps, or taking a really fast shower and praying that the baby doesn’t wake up while I’m in there.

There are good moments, of course, and I love our little Theo, but this is harder than I ever imagined. It’s hard not to get run down and depressed. It’s hard to not freak out when I realize that Andreas is going back to work next week. I’m not so much worried about being alone during the day, but of having to spend the dark hours between 11pm and 3 am alone. I’m having trouble seeing through the newborn fog to a time when things are better.

This is all incredibly hard to admit to, and if it wasn’t half past midnight, I probably wouldn’t have the courage to post it, but I want to remember this for myself, to look back on and remind myself that it did get better (hopefully) but also to share with someone else who maybe isn’t having the easiest time in these fast few weeks when we’re supposed to be falling madly in love with our precious babies, but we’re instead just longing for a bit of rest and an escape from the guilt of not feeling like everything is perfect and life is now complete.

I can’t do the whole picture thing on the Kindle, so instead of cute pictures (I know, I know, that’s why you’re here in the first place. I’ll get around to it soon.) I’ll end on a positive note. When I lay in bed in the early morning, after laying Theo down between Andreas and me after he eats, I just stare at the two of them, thinking, in those few seconds before I black out into that deep, sleep-deprived sleep, how lucky I am to have them both, and how Theo has his eyes.

Bona Fide Culture Shock

I realize that I recently wrote a post on how I was not experiencing culture shock, but for the first time today I had a literally jaw-dropping moment of it.

It actually came from reading a few blogs here.  I’ve recently mentioned that people here tend to use baby carriages more often than strollers, and while I think this is adorable (and practical) there’s something I missed.  Apparently, mothers here will leave these carriages outside (winter and summer) while they go in to say, have a coffee with some friends, or do a little shopping.  To me, a dumbfounded American, leaving a baby unsupervised, outside, in the cold, with other people roaming around is against every motherly instinct (of which I have many), but here, it’s just a way of life. It’s not only permissible here, but promoted!

While reading up on happy Danes, one really good point was how trusting, and trustworthy Danes are.  I’ve noticed this time and time again in my own personal Dane, and until now, I never thought of it being a national phenomenon.  When I first came to visit here and went to the neighborhood Netto with Andreas, he was inclined to lay down our hand-basket full of groceries (and sometimes my purse!) in an empty aisle and go off on a hunt for ham salad.  I would nervously hover around the basket, bouncing between him and our groceries until we were ready to leave.  Now, I’ve become a bit more used to it, and can generally submit to leaving our unattended groceries around, but…a baby?

Maybe it will come with time.  Maybe by the time I have a baby, I’ll be grateful for the chance to leave it outside to nap in the “fresh air” while I go get coffee with the friends that I will hopefully have made by the time I have a baby.  Maybe.

Lag of Jet

Oof.

I have unofficially expatted.  My plane left Minneapolis on Monday night, and as I was getting my boarding passes printed, I was informed that because I don’t have a return ticket, or any specific visa, I could be denied entry into Denmark.  That *would’ve* been the perfect start to my trip if I had wanted to spend the entire time nervous, anxious, upset, and fully expecting to turn around at the end of it and come right back.

Those 8 hours stuck in limbo on a plane over the Atlantic, with no choice but to “live in the moment” were quite an experience, but one that I’m still processing.

In other news, I’m badly jet-lagged.  Up to now I’ve usually been pretty good at adjusting to the time zone, and generally my stomach is more jet lagged than my sleep cycle, but this time, I can’t seem to be able to sleep past 3 in the morning, or take a nap any shorter than five hours.

I don’t really have anything to do that’s keeping me from just staying up and being a zombie all day until I conk out at night, but…being tired is so unpleasant, and duvets are irresistible.

However, I’m just still so relieved that I am finally, finally with my husband, in Denmark, and on our way to making me a resident in Europe!  And now that it’s 11 am, I’ll be taking a “nap.”