I don’t know where to begin…

Thank you for all the encouragement and the urging to put it all out here. There are a few factors at play for why I have not been writing openly. The biggest being that I really just don’t usually have the energy to sit and write. And secondly, the confusion, sadness, and frustration have been a relatively new thing. Most of it appeared when Mr. E was about six months old. A and I have been through multiple major life transitions since he was born and continue to live in transition as we try to build a new life in our new home (she finished grad school, I left my career, we moved, I started staying home, she’s working on getting established in her career and works two jobs, we are living with my parents while we get on our feet in this very-expensive-place-to-live). It’s all very overwhelming and it can be hard to pin point the stress source.

Aside from the new mom stress stuff, I am overwhelmed with trying to put our new life together. I am the type of person who can ‘put the blinders on’ in order to get through a hard patch when I know there is hope and it’s just going to take a little work to get there. And that’s what I’ve been trying to do.

When we first moved A had a crappy summer job and I worked 20 hours a week. Between the two of us we could manage our schedules so Mr. E was with one of us all the time. It sucked, A worked weekends, but I’d tell myself, Mr. E is home with his moms and that’s what really matters to us now.  The sucky job was over quickly when she got a better job, but she still worked Saturdays and I was available to work fewer hours. It was a steady job that could have carried us if she didn’t get a teaching job for the fall.

In the meantime, we live in a state where we are required to have health insurance. It would have cost $1,600 per month for me to continue our benefits through COBRA. Clearly not a choice for us. So we looked into the plans that individuals can buy through the state. Turned out, we were eligible for assistance in paying for our insurance since we make so little money. I spent most of May and June battling the most incompetent State agency, but now we have insurance. There was exactly one pedi and one PCP accepting new patients. Luckily they are both in neighboring towns. We are slowly warming up to the pedi but dream of the day when we’ll be able to have a choice about the doctor providing medical care to our son.

The insurance requires a lot of upkeep. I send monthly payments. I am always on time, but if someone where not, they’d be kicked off and then go through the whole mind numbing rigmarole of gaining benefits.  Every time we have an income change we have to report it. And they send us paperwork every other day. And every time we receive mail from them, I am always convinced our benefits are about to be cut (and they will if MA passes Question 1) or the premium has been raised to an unaffordable rate. You would think after receiving their junk mail for nearly six months, this fear would dissipate, but it only grows stronger. And I am a person who, while rarely needs medical attention, is terrified not to have insurance.

As the school year drew closer it seemed as though A was not going to working in education this year and she’d have to keep her other job and try to substitute teach in order to ‘get known’ because that’s how it works here. But, the tide turned and she did get two part time teaching jobs. We were so happy and it is really wonderful that she’s doing what she loves and is beginning the networking process, yadayadayada. But… it also means she leaves the house at 6:30 in the morning to go to her first job and then wolfs down her lunch in the car on her way to her other job and gets home at 6:00 at night.

Since this is my blog, I’ll say that having her gone all day sucks. It is so hard to be with a clingy baby for all but one of his waking hours. Of course it’s hard for A to be away from him all day, but I’ll leave that for her to write about, if she ever writes in her blog again… I have the best intentions of working from home while Mr. E is napping. In fact I have a project in front of me right now. But I never do. I need the nap times to shower, eat, and spend a little bit of time centering myself. Which leads me to be stressed because I am not getting paid for the hours I am not working. And there is work not getting done. And some days I think I will just explode because I feel like I can’t do anything fully.

Mr. E was such an easy baby. And he still is pretty low key. He just requires a lot of holding and has pretty much reverted back to breastfeeding for all his nourishment. He is not sleeping through the night. And I’ve recently started co-sleeping with him again out of necessity. My milk production has spiked back up and any freedom I had to leave the pump at home or leave him with solid food instead of breast milk has disappeared. It’s like he’s two months old again and nursing every 2 – 3 hours. Some of this I know is just me setting up bad habits. For example, there is no way, NO WAY that he needs to eat every hour and 45 minutes at night. But he sure loves to suck. And since it’s the quickest and sometimes only way to get him back to sleep with out crying, I give in. We’ve tried having A go into him when he cries and he looks to the door and jumps while whining, as if to say, “where is she? Where are the boobs?” And when she brings him to me, he laughs with excitement and nuzzles in. I want A to help at night, but if he won’t let her, then what’s the point of making her get up? And now that she gets up at 5:30 I feel a little less able to ask her to get up, so I’ve taken to sleeping with him, in his room.

Many of you commented about my writing about feeling ungrateful when complaining about the challenges of motherhood. I know this is my issue and I need to deal, but I can’t forget how hard it was for me through our entire ttc journey. I honestly felt at times that I would never get pregnant. And some of the women who began the journey with me have not. Even after greater interventions than I had. I know that one’s ease or challenge in getting pregnant shouldn’t matter at this stage, and that motherhood is hard for everyone. But I am just so grateful for my son; I love him more than I thought was possible that it’s hard to let myself feel the stress and the frustration. It’s crazy thinking but I don’t feel justified in feeling this way because we tried so hard for so long and I should just be happy to have a baby. I still talk about #2 in ‘ifs’. I was thinking about it yesterday and I finally said to myself, ‘you got pregnant once, you can do it again.’ But usually, when I think about it, I just get sad and bogged down in the first journey.

I know Mr. E is bound to wake up soon and I don’t want to end this the way most posts end these days – with me running off to get him and not closing or by saving and then never getting back to finish… So I am just going to stop writing now. Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. The love, support, and validation was much needed.

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