The last week has been a hard one. I’m not sure exactly why, which made me feel even worse whenever I sagged onto the edge of the bed crying.
Surely my low mood stems from the confluence of many factors. We returned from a wonderful vacation full of vitamin D and family and friends who helped with Edie. I have been racing against a deadline for a writing assignment. It’s been a struggle to arrange interviews around Eric’s work and Edie’s naps. And Edie’s sleeping schedule is still confused after our switch in time zones, which means I’m up with her more often. Two nights ago, for example, I wadded up a bath towel and used it as a pillow on the floor of the nursery as she babbled and played with her feet at 3am.
Then yesterday afternoon, as we drove from Portland to Eugene for Thanksgiving, Edie melted down in the car. Repetitions of the ABC Song, peek-a-boo, swooshing her blanket over her face, the white noise app on my phone, sucking on my finger and on Sophie and on the blanket, pumping her arms up and down like the pistons on a choo-choo train, blowing air in her face: Nothing consoled her.
We arrived at my parents’ house stressed and frazzled. After they said hello to Edie, I whisked her upstairs, into her swaddle and onto my boob. Almost instantly, her breath evened and she grew still. A little more slowly, I followed suit. As I swayed her in the dark, my heart rate calmed.
In that quiet space, I noticed how she blows tiny, soft puffs of breath on my skin as she nurses. I forgot her crying spell as I marveled at my luck. No one else in the world gets to experience this, I thought.
There are times when I want to cry uncle and hide under the covers. Sometimes motherhood feels too difficult and I want to say, enough. Sometimes I long for the freedom of not being responsible for anyone. But other times, like when a swaddled caterpillar of a baby is softly breathing on me, I am so grateful that I can provide for this little one’s needs.