Sleep deprived and struggling

Joey Garcia

I’ve ruined my perfect life! I married the man I always dreamed of (or so I thought), and after much effort (and the assistance of modern medicine), I became pregnant and had a baby boy. My life is hell. This baby cries all the time and does not sleep. Ever. Breastfeeding is impossible. I am totally exhausted, and my husband has suddenly become a total idiot. He cannot do anything right, no matter how much instruction I give. So, I’m doing everything. I can’t handle it, and sometimes I think about just walking out. Don’t tell me to talk to friends or family. My two sisters had babies within the last two years and seem to handle it all with such ease. I am too exhausted for conversation with my husband, and sex is completely out of the question. Please help me.

It’s a magnificent lie that mothering an infant is just like playing with a baby doll. Few women admit to each other that the truth about those first few months is far more complex. Though many infants are easy, and though some women are adept at handling even those infants who are not, some women really suffer. New mothers endure the same level of sleep deprivation as soldiers in the trenches do. With so little rest, it’s no surprise that your irritability would be off the scale. Perhaps sleep deprivation also explains your (ahem!) fantasies about abandoning your family.

You need a break, not a breakup. Ask a family member to play slumber party at your house either overnight or for a weekend. While you slumber, your family member can party with your little one. If you get enough rest (you may need to wear earplugs), consider going on a short date with your husband. Take a walk, get a latte or just sit on the porch holding hands and staring at the moon. Do anything that will remind you of why you fell in the love in the first place. This may inspire your heart to shift into appreciating your husband’s help as being good enough.

How do you know if you married the right person? My husband and I get along well, but there are no sparks in our five-year marriage. I find myself fantasizing about the boyfriend I had in high school. Although we were quite young and fought frequently, our relationship was passionate and exciting. I long for those feelings again. My problem is that my high-school reunion is next year, and my husband wants to go with me. He wants to see where I grew up (it’s out of state). How do I explain to him that I need to go alone? I think it’s important for me to determine whether my former boyfriend is my true soul mate, but I don’t want to rouse my husband’s suspicions.

Nostalgic for the emotional rollercoaster? Your desire may harbor a deeper secret: an addiction to drama. Every relationship has periods of struggle as a couple negotiates boundaries and expectations. But ultimately, the intensity and frequency of drama dissipates because genuine love is consistent and reliable, not a twisting ride that causes your stomach to sink and spin daily. If you favor drama, or if your psychological orientation inspires it, a peaceful marriage might seem boring to you.

Consider this: If your high-school sweetheart is your soul mate, he would be single and available (and so would you), so your interaction would not harm someone who loves you. If your husband is your soul mate, you would appreciate the serenity of your marriage and gladly share your hometown with him.

Meditation of the week
“In the presence of evil, silence makes you an accomplice,” wrote William Butler Yeats. When your neurotic ego makes demands on you and others, what does your conscience say?

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