I didn’t have the energy to stop myself from sobbing long enough to effectively convince my husband that I was doing fine on my own.
He had been back to work for a few days and I wanted him to think I was okay. The baby was crying and our sobs blended into one pathetic melody of exhaustion and frustration. It had been over five weeks since I had slept for more than an hour or two at a time.
I finally, completely lost it.
My son had been diagnosed with acid reflux and would spend hours at a time wailing at night. He would never stay asleep for more than an hour. He looked miserable constantly. Well-intentioned folks told me he would outgrow this colicky phase.
But, when my husband and I took turns bouncing our son all night long, I began to believe it would never get better.
The night I lost it, my husband carefully took the baby from my tired arms. I told him I couldn’t do it anymore. I felt like I was failing as a mother and I was finally ready to accept defeat. That night I emailed my birth doula and told her how lost I was and that I didn’t know what to do. She gave me the best advice I had received thus far: hire a postpartum doula.
In other words, get help.
Until then I had no idea what a postpartum doula was or what they did.
The folowing night a sweet, older Swedish woman appeared at my door with a calm energy, years of experience and a list of homeopathic ways to manage acid reflux. While we talked my son wailed and wailed, as was his custom during the evenings.
The moment she took him in her arms he melted. He fell right asleep. Then she gave me the greatest gift of all: sleep.
I woke up to pump once at 2 a.m. Otherwise I slept like a rock.
We hired her three nights a week for five weeks. She would arrive at 10 p.m. with helpful advice, a plan to help the baby sleep better and words of encouragement.
Every morning she woke me up at 6 a.m. with a gentle knock on my bedroom door, I was finally able to care for my son with my whole self.
She helped me to be a better mom and was worth every cent.