Yesterday I posted this. You may have guessed that it was not a good day. I got a lot of encouragement, however, from your comments. Thank you all very much!
Then I got an e-mail from Jessica, that was wonderful. With her permission, I have reprinted it here.
I started to leave a comment on your blog but it got so long and there was so much I wanted to say so I just decided to e-mail you.
I read your blog tonight and my heart ached. Because I know EXACTLY how you feel. I could have written this. As of today, or last week, or the day after Colt was born! My son, Colt is just a couple weeks younger than Samuel. But I hit this point long before you did. So first, congrats on making it this far without freaking out!
I lost it my first week home alone with Colt. And after a week of feeling unaccomplished, scared, TIRED, and like a terrible mother my husband did something that meant a lot: he lowered my expectations for me. He was shocked that I felt the house had to be cleaned and dinner should be on the table and that everything should be in order. He told me his only expectations were that we had a contented, clean, well-fed child when he got home.
That allowed me to cut myself some slack. And while my clean freak nature still rears it's ugly head, Hubby gives me an hour or two when I need it to just clean. And we eat out...a lot right now! Or have friends bring dinner.
I guess I felt like since I didn't give birth, I'm not recovering physically so I should be able to do all of that and take care of the baby. But guess what? He wants to be held. A lot. He doesn't like his swing, only lays in his crib at night when swaddled, and will not last one minute in a bouncy seat--vibrating or otherwise. When he's in my arms...wow, he's content. Even when he's swinging, he's ok as long as he can see me. Trying to fold laundry out of his sight and he gets fussy.
Since he's adopted, it's even more important that I indulge the holding. Every day he gets more and more connected to me. I realized while I want him to be independent and self-soothing, it's also part of him knowing me and counting on me to be there all the time. So I've tried to not feel guilty when we've sat on the couch all day, watching Law and Order reruns. Maybe we were lazy but there was not one cry!
I do make a point to be showered and dressed (at least in sweats...never pajamas all day) with my makeup on before lunch. That way I can venture out at a moment's notice if needed. Finally this week I've been brave enough to go out on my own and it's made a world of difference in my attitude. And Colt, too. He loves the car rides!
Do you swaddle Samuel? We tried in the beginning but Colt kept getting out (9 lbs, 7 oz at birth makes for a STRONG little man!). So we found the Miracle Blanket. If you don't know what it is, look it up on the Internet and order it. Now. It's worth the money. The minute we wrap Colt in his Miracle Blanket he calms down. Great for when he's so tired he can't sleep (you know that cry) or an upset tummy. And each night his sleeping patterns are predictable because he's sleeping soundly.
Ok...you know all of this, I'm sure. I just wanted you to know that I literally know exactly how you feel. And I'll tell you something that is very hard to admit for someone who went through infertility, long waits, and asked for a lot of prayers: it's ok that you don't LOVE the baby stage. You can still love Samuel and be ready for the smiles and laughs and crawls and words. There are some days that I wish we could skip right on to tee-ball and spelling tests. I love the cuddles an infant brings, but I really don't love the constant dependency. And I felt much better when I admitted that.
I'm praying for you, and if you ever have advice or a revelation to share, I'm in your same boat and would love to know!
P.S.--all this could change when I go back to work in 4 weeks. That will be a HUGE adjustment with daycare schedules and sleeping schedules and sharing Colt all the time. So, please continue to be open and honest with your experience. I'm anxious to hear how successful and easy going back to work will be!! ;)
Thank you very much, Jessica. Please stop by her blog and say hi!