Sunday, May 18, 2008

Where in the world is Claire?

I have asked myself that same question several times over that past few weeks . . .

Yes, it has been ages since I posted, and no one has died, but it has taken me longer than I thought to get back on my feet.

The first week I was home, everything was such a blur and I was so tired, that I just tried to get though it one day at a time. Then the German was off for two weeks for Easter and I was not home alone. That was lovely . . . then the German went back to work. The first few weeks of April (which is when I stopped writing) I got a little post-partum-ish.

Those days were long and seemed like they would never end. Life was a boring hum of feedings and diaper changes. All of my concentration was focused on the Dude, which was not necessarily a good thing. I started to loose contact with the outside world. Some days I would start crying and wonder if I really had gone to university for so long and worked so hard just to become a professional diaper changer. Then there were the days that I would not talk to another person except for the German. One Thursday afternoon he called at 4pm to tell me he was on his way home. I wailed into the phone, "You are the first person I have talked to all day." It was hard. I started walking up to the supermarket every day just so that I could be around people. The worst part was sometimes looking in the mirror and not knowing who I was. I would stare and think, "I am a Mom." I like to say that the Dude sent an earthquake through my reality and I still have not fully recovered.

Things have gotten better over the past few weeks. I joined a couple of Mommy-and-Me classes. The Dude likes the contact with other people, but I think I enjoy it more. I also started teaching some evening classes and gradually going out more. However, my days always end early. I put the Dude to bed around 8:30pm and I am in bed by 10pm. I usually have to get up a few times in the night to give him his pacifier and he gets a bottle at 5am, so I try to get as much sleep as possible.

Unfortunately for financial reasons, I am going to have to quit my business. I will still teach in the evenings, but child care is just too expensive to work full-time. This has also been a hard pill to swallow.

Sleep is something I obsess about most these days; even more than poop. Is he sleeping enough? Why doesn't he take regular naps? Do I keep him up too long? Seriously, the kid is 12 weeks old, I should probably give him a break and just go with the flow. Yeah . . . go with the flow . . . that was never something I was good at.

Yesterday was a pivotal moment. The Dude spent the night at his Grandparents house for the first time! Watching him drive away was hard! Then I went into the house and did not know what to do with myself. Some friends invited us out to dinner. When I actually got to the restaurant and had a glass of wine, I started to relax. However, I did call the in-laws twice to make sure that he was okay. At 11:30pm, I said to the German that I wanted to go home and get some sleep. Everyone else was moving on to the local festival. "Just half an hour," he said. We got home at 2am. We are both pretty slow moving today.

I want to go get my son. I have stopped worrying about him . . . now I miss him. I want to see his smile and smell his head (seriously, when he isn't pooping, he smells heavenly). And with a face like this, who could blame me.


J said...

Very sorry to hear that you'll have to give up the business. I know it means a lot to you. I think that getting back to teaching will do you a lot of good - as far as outside contact goes.

Maria said...

I wish I could give you a hug. I had a lot of the same feelings in the beginning. I think it is more common than people think. And Dude is cute as a button. :)

hexe said...

Claire, I can so relate. I cried a lot during the first three months of KK's life and the loss of control I felt was overwhelming. For God sakes, I had put myself through law school, passed four bar exam, had a case load of all child sex cases while training and supervising an entire unit, and now I was a basket case over an infant. I tried part-time and a different career. Now another child later, I have stopped "working" altogether. Not easy, but it is what is best for my kids for now.

I have no great advice about how it gets easier. Some days I am very grateful to be able to give my kids this time, but some days I am resentful of all I have given up. You are not alone in this struggle to figure out what is right for you. Give yourself time because right now lack of sleep is a major factor. Feel free to email me ( - even just to say that things suck. I had someone who just allowed me to vent that first year and it did help.

It does get better and little Dude is beautiful. Adjustment - even good ones - take time.

Rebecca said...

My child is now 5, but I remember back to those days of her infancy. I think that I never felt lonelier in my life. Plus I still had all those raging hormones which made those emotions all the harder to deal with.

These feelings are very common to first time moms, especially those who are career-minded and really must give up a lot in order to be a mom.

Find a support group of other moms!! Despite not wanting to be a "typical mom", I joined a moms group and it saved my life. I attended play groups, birthday parties, moms night outs and book clubs. We also have a message board where I could post a question and get a response from more experienced moms. These ladies are so supportive of each other and have become my friends. I think I benefitted so much more from the moms group than my daughter did, but she enjoyed the socialization and has made lots of friends too.

You'll make it through! The early days of being a mom are so hard.

Carol said...

I feel the same way, Claire -- except for me it's nothing as wonderful as a new baby. It's a new job that's sucking the life outta me and keeping me from posting... or having much of a life.

Yours is one of the few blogs I've kept up with (meaning that I look forward to your posts!). I know how life-altering it is when kids appear on the scene! I'm going through the transition on the opposite end -- watching them fly from the coop. :-/

Sorry about the business... but you know it will be there for you after the Dude is older. I promise! You're a wonderful mom; enjoy the time. The days may be long, but oh my goodness, how short the YEARS are!


G in Berlin said...

I felt the same way, but even more out of control, perhaps, as my first had colic. I would hold her with the tears pouring down my face as she would just keep crying. Add that to a supply problem, it being the first time I was not working in 19 years, being in a strange new place and Thing 1 going from colic to "high need" (we carried her to sleep for the first 11 months, and I was a wreck. You are way ahead of me- if I had joined a mommy and me I would have been a lot better off. I was just reading an article that said kindergarten/krebble schul spots were in short supply outside Berlin- I am sorry that it has forced you to give up a business you were enjoying.

Christina G said...

Sorry to hear you have to give up your business. I know that was a tough decision to have to make. It's funny, I feel opposite to you on the work thing, but I also feel bad about it. I absolutely love being a mom, I can't imagine anything better, but then I think about all the years I spent in school and there are all the people asking me when I'm going to start working again and it makes me feel like I should go back to work, and feel guilty that I don't really want to. I think we all put a lot of pressure on ourselves about being the person we always thought we'd be before the kid(s) came along.

I hope that makes sense, I'm sleep deprived too - Oliver is going through separation anxiety now and wakes up to nurse 4-5 times a night!

Anyways, I hope things start looking up (I think the mommy and me classes are a great idea). You should come to the Regensburg meetup and hang with a bunch of expats if you're free too.

Diane Mandy said...

You sound so much like a friend of mine, who recently had a baby, too. And by judging from the comments, your feelings are not uncommon. I'm sorry you had to give up your business. I appreciate your posts (as I am also contemplating motherhood) and hope you'll keep them coming.

Carrie said...

You def. need a vacation girlie- You know me, I'm always going to suggest that. Of course, I can't go a month without a vacation of some sort. I was so worried you might find it hard to keep the business going and have a family. I know if anyone could do it you can, but it is a lot of time for both b/c running a business is like having a baby. That's why we have a dog- at least we can crate him if we need to. Babies, not so easy to crate. If you were stateside I'd come kidnap you. CALL ME IF YOU NEED/WANT TO- MY DIME!!! I'll 3way Janea and we'll have a sisterhood pow-wow.