“Are you awake?”
That message came to me via text this morning at 5:30am EST. It was sent by my dear friend and new-momma-of-two-days from her home in Colorado. At 3:30am MST.
“What’s up?” I replied, and proceeded to offer council and empathy as she explained the state of her frazzlement.
Every first-time parent has been there at some point (if you haven’t–you’re a lucky duck, and I’d advise keeping your head low around the tired folks.) You’re awake in the wee hours of the morning with a brand-new, unhappy and surprisingly loud infant and you have no idea how the eff you’re going to soothe this little person so you both can get some rest. You didn’t know you could possibly be so damn exhausted and yet somehow, still semi-conscious and quasi-coherent.
The fact that there umpteen parents across the world experiencing the same struggle RIGHT NOW doesn’t even occur to you. Not only that, but there are even MORE who have already been through the same struggle and come out in one piece. You’re incapable of recognizing these facts. Even if you could, it would probably be of no comfort, because that knowledge won’t help to hush that baby.
Welcome to the Parenthood Club. Instead of t-shirts, we wear these dark circles under our eyes.
On the receiving end of that early-morning text message, I couldn’t help but feel glad that I had been contacted. Weird, I know–who really is glad to be woken early when your own baby will be up in an hour or so?–but it was gratifying for me to be able to console her, even if it was via text. I was one of those umpteen sleepless parents (sometimes I still am.) I’ve been there, and don’t worry, I can offer some help. At the very least, I can offer understanding that only a fellow parent can provide.
My new-mom friend said 25 minutes later that her son was quiet and that she was going to try to rest. She thanked me, too.
“Good.” I said. “Any time.”
I’m not sure if anything I had to say was actually helpful for her in those moments. I hope it was, but it’s ok with me if I served only as an understanding exasperation outlet. That’s valuable, too.
I have to admit, this helps me come closer to the decision that I’m ready to have another one. It’s nice to remind myself that I can still call on the tricks and skills I learned while coping as a first-time parent, and that I can do it from a dead sleep at 5:30am.