Motherhood is complex. I believed I wouldn’t be able to do anything alone ever again. You constantly hear about how you’ll never pee in solitude again, or how it will be practically impossible to have “me time” – especially if you’re exclusively breastfeeding. While those occurrences are inevitably a true part of motherhood, I didn’t realize that in the midst of constant company, how alone I would feel.
I do everything with my daughter. I wake up next to my daughter, I spend all day holding her, playing with her, feeding her, she accompanies me in the bath, and is right outside the tub when I shower. We put her down for bed and it never fails that usually 30 minutes after I lay down, she wakes up and comes to bed with me. I really am never alone, but it sure feels like I am.
My daughter has been sick for 10 days. Which means she’s extra cuddly and sweet. It also means that she’s getting a lot of rest during the day, and that has been eating into our bedtime schedule. She woke up at 2am to feed, stayed awake until 4am fighting sleep. I spent two hours bouncing on a yoga ball with white noise blaring, as I stared at the clock. I couldn’t see the time through the tears from feeling completely alone in this sector of parenting.
This is a normal part of the blessing of Motherhood. I have always known that. I will always be the one who gets up in the middle of the night to rock, bounce, feed, and pacify her. I will always be the one who worries about if I’m permanently damaging her by doing those things with her every night, or if I’m permanently damaging her if I choose to let her cry. I will be the one who lets my husband sleep. I will be the one who fakes alertness to give my daughter the activity she needs during the day. I will be the one who runs on empty. Days run into months where my house is clean, my baby is fed and enthusiastically entertained by a Mom who can’t tell you the last time she showered, and who hasn’t slept longer than 3 hours in a very long time. I will always be the one silently bouncing in the dark, staring at the clock through tears.
This is what I want though. I want to be home with my girl. I want to be the one she sees all day. I want to be the one who teaches her. I just didn’t realize how tough the tough parts would be. I didn’t realize how guilty I would feel for wanting anyone else to take the lonely shift every once in a while.
I know I’m not alone. I know in the midst of silent weariness at 3am, there are not only other Moms who feel the way I do, but there is a merciful father who forgives me in my selfishness for wishing I could just let my baby cry while I get some sleep. He understands the weariness, guilt, anger, sadness, and isolation. He even forgives me when I think to myself “How could you give me the rest I need right now? I am weary and heavy laden, and I am coming to you, but I don’t see any rest. You’re not coming down here to bounce on this ball with this baby while I sleep. Where is the rest you say you give to me?”
The rest is knowing that I can let go of this guilt of failure. When I feel guilty for wanting to make my husband take the night shift, even when he has a full work day ahead of him, I have been given grace and forgiveness. When I feel guilty for being less than enthused about taking care of my girl at night, I have been given grace and forgiveness. When I feel guilty for using nursing as a crutch, or feeling sorry for myself while my daughter is sick, I am given grace and forgiveness. I don’t have to feel guilty, as long as I die to myself and do what I need to do for my daughter’s sake. I am human, I will desire and fight desiring selfish things. I am not made perfect, but I am made forgiven.
If you feel alone in motherhood, I hope you find this truth in your own life. I hope you know you’re not alone, but it’s okay that you feel like you are. I’m praying for you, sister.