Nightmare!

Other than the adjustment of a new baby in the house there is not a whole lot I am nervous about.  I have a wonderful support team for the birth, an awesome family to help at home and zero expectations for the daily aside from coffee, I'll need coffee.  But there is one thing I am so scared of that it gives me the chills even bringing it up.

It's not something that most women even think about when adding a new baby to the family, but it is huge for me, HUGE.  What I am most scared of, terrified really, is that I will get another screamer.  I can't do that again, I can't.  Obviously if I have to I will, but seriously, I can't!

There are not even adequate words in the English language to describe how awful it was listening to a baby scream all day and night.  There are few people who have even experienced it to the same degree and the only other person I know who has is as traumatized about it as I am.  It is just not something you could even try to relate to unless you have been there.  It is brutal, and I don't know if I have it in me to do it again while still nurturing Caches, my former screamer who caused the initial trauma!

I still get flashbacks about it when I hear a baby crying.  My entire body tenses up and I assume the baby is going to scream for hours with no reprieve. All I can think about is the mind numbing, ear piercing, heart shattering screaming!  In the car, at home, walking around the block, at sleep times, at wakeful times, hell,  pretty much ALL THE TIME!  Ryan and I used to joke that if he eyes were open he was crying.  Only it wasn't really a joke because it was true!

The first 9 months of Caches life are such a blur of sleep exhaustion and anxiety.  I was hardly even functioning most days, and although by some miracle I did not develop postpartum depression, I was definitely a shell of my former self.  Slowly but surely I snapped out of it and as Caches grew more content so did I.  With a lot of hard work, trust, and deep breathing I learned to accept my child's upset and let things go.  I practiced being calm every day and not allowing his mood to effect mine so deeply (this has payed of huge in the toddler years, by the way).

But I am afraid that my mind is so pre-programmed to respond to baby crying with extreme anxiety that I am going to give my baby anxiety where there isn't any.  There is a very good chance that she will be "normal" and only cry when there is an unmet need or physical discomfort.  There is a very good chance that she will sleep longer than a 4 hour stretch before her third birthday.  There is a good chance that she will not wake up crying every. single. day of her life for the first 18 or so months.  There is a good chance that she will just be, and I don't want my past experience/trauma to mess things up!

Luckily quite a few of my dear friends have "normal" babies and I have been able to see that they stop crying fairly quickly.  They smile, coo and connect with their caregivers and strangers even!  They allow someone who isn't lactating to hold them every once and a while, and they are fine!  Holy shit, most babies are just fine!

So please, friends of mine with normal babies, remind me often that a little crying is okay, to breathe, to relax, and to allow myself to enjoy it.  And if I get another screamer, I'll see you in about 9 months.  Please send coffee and good wine!



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