It started at night. He was whining. Again. Over and over. And then when I picked him up he didn't stop. He just kept crying in my face. And then when I laid down with him, it continued. He was fidgety, and I knew something was wrong. Because he was moving around all night, with random bouts of waking and screaming, I didn't sleep all night. I couldn't move him to the side of me so that I could rest because then he'd wake up and cry again. Even though I was RIGHT THERE. I was still holding his hand. But it wasn't enough. He wanted to lay right on my chest. He wanted to snuggle. And I didn't. I wanted to be left alone. I wanted to not be needed. I wanted to SLEEP. So there we were, on a Sunday night, fighting for sleep so that I could function the next morning.
My husband woke me up at 5:30 am, just as I had drifted off to sleep. He was getting ready for work and his clothes live in the guest room where the baby and I were sleeping. So I got up, took Henry and snuck back to our bedroom for what I hoped would be a half hour of sleep before my own alarm went off. As soon as our heads hit the pillow, he was awake and screaming again. I didn't know what to do. I was so tired, I couldn't move. Couldn't attempt to comfort him. My husband came into our bedroom and took the baby from me and tried to comfort him. Finally he stopped, and that's when my alarm went off. I refused to get up. Every bone in my body was begging me to stay in bed. But I couldn't. I had to get myself ready. I had to get Henry ready. We had work and daycare to get to.
Eventually I flung the covers off and dropped my feet to the floor. I turned on my closet light and just stood and stared at the clothes hanging there. And that's when my husband came back to our bedroom holding our son, who by now was grinning and happy. Our normal, pleasant baby. Henry reached out to me. I recoiled. He did it again, and once again I moved away. I knew it was mean, I knew he was sad that I wouldn't hold him. But I couldn't. I didn't want to. I did not want to be touched. It was at that moment that the last thing I wanted was to be a mom. And even as I was thinking this, I knew what an asshole I was being. After all, I was used to sleepless nights and it wasn't the first time Henry refused to sleep anywhere but my arms. Not to mention, I knew that something didn't feel good- his ears, his teeth. And that's when I felt like a bad mom. A terrible mom. A person who doesn't deserve to be a mom.
A few minutes later, my husband left for work and it was just Henry and I again. I knew I had to snap out of this mood. And as if on cue, as if he knew exactly what I needed to get there, he walked (walked!) over to me from his position by the bedroom wall, pushed his little body into my arms, and laid his head on my shoulder. I breathed in his scent. Felt the softness of his wispy hair. Hugged him so tightly. And I was back. I was okay.