It should be known

Some of you saw my last post when I originally posted it.  Before I went back in on my iPhone in the middle of a meeting and marked it as Private instead.  Some of you knew then what was going on in our lives or at least my life.  Then I chickened out.  I decided that the post was too personal and that the words proved that I was a bad parent.  The words and emotions I couldn’t express to my wife in words but can in writing were too much to be held responsible for.

Now the post is back up for everyone to read.

After talking to quite a few people it seems that the feelings I’ve had are quite common.  Pretty much everyone in a similar age range to me (and many not) have experienced the same or worse.  Others have gone through this (obviously) and lived to tell the tale.  Except they don’t tell the tale.  They never tell people how they really feel about parenting a newborn with problems.  They don’t tell a soul because they, like me, felt it would prove they were a bad parent.

But in talking to others it gives them a sort of freedom to tell us that yes, parenting for the first few months (or more depending on the persons) sucks ass.  It’s a miserable, thankless job that people without ever having raised a baby will ever understand.  And it’s apparently something that people feel the need to hide from the next wave or generation of potential parents.  Whether to hide what they feel are weaknesses or from fear of people who don’t understand.

I say to hell with that.  It should be known what it is like to care for a baby.  The reality.

That is why I reposted my previous post.  I’m not going back and editing it.  I’m not even going to re-read it.  What I wrote was a release for me and to change it would be counter-productive.  There is therapy in writing.  There is a catharsis in venting the emotions that I can never seem to properly verbalize.  I felt better after writing that post and marking it private took away from that therapy in some small way.

When Muse and I went through the birthing classes, the nurses who taught the class stressed over and over that you should never shake your child.  They said over and over again that if you get angry that you should put the baby down in a safe place and walk away and call for help.  They preached over and again about the damage that can be done to an infant when shaken violently.  And the wife and I would look at each other and roll our eyes.  We wondered what kind of horrible people could even think of doing something so monstrous?  What kind of pathetic lowlifes would do that to a baby?

Now we understand.  We have not shaken the baby (don’t go calling DFS) but we now have a better understanding of WHY some people are driven to do something like that.  The rage I have felt at something so small and defenseless is a heartbreaking thing that makes me feel like the biggest sack of shit in the universe.  But at least now I know we’re not alone.

I’ve been dealing with the baby much better since those days.  She’s going on seven weeks now and neither of us has done anything more physical than burp her more vigorously than we probably should.  We are still learning to cope but I have to be honest: It’s hard.  It’s really fucking hard.

One thing we’ve both learned is that the less sleep we get, the less stress we can take.  We’ve both experienced it on multiple occasions.  And the crappy thing about it is that sleep is the hardest thing to achieve with a baby in the house.  Sure with two parents it’s possible to take shifts but when I have to go to work and make money to pay for all the bills and formula and diapers that leaves my wife alone to deal with the baby for yet another shift.  I try and take over for her at night but if I don’t get sleep then I’m absolutely useless at work after a while.  If I lose my job then we can’t afford to live much less have a baby.

So how do single parents do it?  I can’t even begin to imagine that.

My point here is not to whine and complain and fish for sympathy comments.  I turned off comments on the previous post because I didn’t want input or sympathy.  That wasn’t the point.  It was therapy.  My point is to let other new parents or people expecting to be new parents soon know that parenting is harder than you think.  It’s much harder than your friends and family have let on.  They think they are doing you or maybe themselves a favor by not telling you the gory details but they aren’t.

I would have been much better off hearing the horror stories from people before I had to experience them first-hand.  I would have known going into those angry moments that I wasn’t alone and that it was perfectly normal.  I would have much rather known ahead of time what to expect.  So that is why I’m writing this post.  Not just for therapy for myself but as a caution to new parents.

Parenting is hard.  Taking care of a baby is unbelievably hard.  You will lose sleep.  You will miss meals.  You will become a recluse in your own home and despise the walls around you.  You will fight with your spouse over the stupidest shit.  And most importantly, you will get angry at your baby – and you will feel like the world’s biggest loser for doing so.  You will get through it.  But never – ever – expect it to be easy.

It should be known that you are not the only one who has felt that way.
That’s the point of my writing.

6 Comments

  • By LR, December 31, 2008 @ 10:58 am

    Other things that are really, really hard: care-giving a person with MR or dementia or advanced MS and CP. What you’re going through will give you insight into more than parenting. I think of your family often.

  • By Michelle, December 31, 2008 @ 9:48 pm

    Vince,
    You sound like you’re gonna be a great dad. Really, just the sheer fact that you are being honest about your feelings puts you far above most people. Kids need to know these things. When your daughter grows up & is expecting her first – she should read this, because even though you are “venting” – there’s a tremendous amount of affection there. As far as the gass, I know some abdominal massage techniques you can do to help her until you get the formula thing straightened out.
    Take a deep breath – you are doing just fine & Muse (when she’s not debilitated by hormones) I’m sure is very happy to have you (and may even consider herself blessed).
    I’d like to say that parenting gets easier, but honestly – the problems just change . . . I have an 11, 7 and 15month old – all intelligent, creative & strong minded girls . . .

  • By Rev Matt, January 1, 2009 @ 8:26 am

    Agreed that parenting doesn’t get ‘easier’, it just gets different. I try to tell any expectant parents as much as I can about how hard our experience was, but I don’t think I gave you the drill as much as I should have.

  • By Heather, January 2, 2009 @ 2:40 pm

    I still have moments when I don’t want to do this, be anyone’s Mother. I want to run away! most days.
    It’s hard…so hard. My mantra…I didn’t sign up for this, or ask for this. 2 sets of twins…still can’t get my mind around that, and they are 5 & 2. When will it get easy??? NEVER is what I hear.
    Now what?
    One day at a time…sometimes the problem is…everyday looks just the same as the day before.
    I’ve been to a very dark place before and it’s scary.
    What makes it even more frightening is feeling alone there.
    When people tell you that it will get easier… they actually mean, Once you are sleeping you can deal with anything and it will feel easier!
    I’m glad you and Muse have each other…it sucks and then it won’t one day! Hang in there!

  • By VegasDad, January 4, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

    I’m glad to see you reposted that emotionally raw and poignant post. Having been through what you’re going through (and going through again now), I understand the challenges and feelings you’ve experienced. I don’t sympathize though. It’s something we all as new parents have to go through. Surviving it makes us stronger. You’ll see.

  • By crockdaddy, January 16, 2009 @ 11:00 pm

    Haha, well I did tell you about this a few times? Not sure if you ever listened to me. I tell all new parents about these feelings. I never really had these feelings so much with Trinity as relatively speaking she was somewhat easy. Brennan, whom cried upwards of 15 hours a day during the first 8 weeks or so until we could get approved for the medicine he so obviously needed was a miserable experience. I did the second shift so to speak for nearly 10 weeks. That was 9:00 to 4:00 AM holding him upright. Then I went to work late, every day. All the while living through my company performing a major outsourcing event. Want to talk about fun? That was not it. When I became sorely frustrated I did just what I say to all new parents. Change them, feed them, burp them, lay them down in a secure location (their bed most preferably) and I walked away to cool off for 30 minutes. Did Brennan cry? Yep. Did he live, yep. Did I shake him or squeeze just a bit too hard, nope. I have always said life is rough for the most part until around 6 months. Then things start to change for the better. Sure there will still be the crazy moments but no where near the same as before. The best thing you can do is continue to become educated as a parent. You will make it bud. I promise. We all do.

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