Ugh. Last night was rough. And I mean ROUGH. There was a lot of crying (both me and the baby), and very little sleeping (both me and the baby AND my poor mother-in-law, who was "on duty"). Even now we have no idea what was wrong with him and why he just would not sleep. But now that he has stopped screaming and is napping peacefully again, here are some lessons I have learned/need to learn from this experience about parenting an infant:
1. Caring for an infant is not predictable. Just because something worked/happened yesterday, it might not today. That's just how it is. Everybody is still adjusting to this new life.
2. You just have to roll with the punches. Not everything is cause for an emotional breakdown. Nothing about our situation is permanent... If it's bad today, it'll probably be better tomorrow. Everybody is still adjusting to this new life.
3. When the baby cries, it is not a personal indictment against me as a mother. Yes, he's upset and I don't know what to do about it. That does not make me unfit for motherhood. Everybody is still adjusting to this new life.
4. When the baby cries, he is not doing it to personally spite me, so getting angry at him is not a reasonable response. He's crying because he has some kind of need, and we just don't know what that is. That is ok. Everybody is still adjusting to this new life.
5. It is ok to accept help. I feel absolutely terrible about the night my mother-in-law had last night. She was just as frazzled and bewildered at Eli's behavior as I was, but she handled it with MUCH more grace than I did. She definitely saw one of the worst sides of me last night. But there is no way that Eli and I would've survived the night without her, and she was perfectly willing and able to help. So even though it meant she had a terrible night inflicted upon her, I am thankful for her help and will accept it again. These bad nights won't last forever... Everybody is still adjusting to this new life.
So the theme of this post is that I need to chill out and give us time to adjust. Although last night it felt like Eli would be screaming forever, really it was only about 12 hours. And he was so wide awake from the screaming that he ate GREAT at every feeding. So there was a silver lining even to that cloud. The time in our lives that we'll be having nights like this is very short, and so I just need to relax and accept them with grace. God is still present even in the tough nights, and He is carrying us and providing for us all that we need.