Friday, July 24, 2009

Drowning

Posted by Anonymous.

They’re destroying us.. At nine months and 3 yrs, the children are ruining our marriage. I have been patient, thinking it will get better when they’re older, but how do we make it until then?

Nursing has completely killed my sex drive. I used to be the one who lustily drove our lovemaking and now I just don’t care. At all. My husband is actually pawing at me in desperation for the first time in our relationship. I have no interest, and am slowly realizing that my sense of myself as a sexual being and attractive and vital is deeply connected to certain hormones that seem to be on vacation. I am a shell of my former self. Everything is blah. Stop nursing? I could, but I like it for all the reasons women like nursing—the health benefits, the attachment, etc.

The preschooler won’t allow us to have a conversation. STOP TALKING!! He screams whenever my husband and I try to speak to one another. We spend all our time engaging him or disciplining him. Yesterday I spent most of the day with him yelling NO at me, kicking me, or throwing things at the baby. I feel like a closet abuse case.

Both children have always been terrible sleepers and now, to get any sleep at all, my husband and I sleep separately: one of us with each child. So we don’t even get to touch bodies in the night. Change things around? We’ll have to try because even sitting next to him and talking briefly about the day before we turn off the light is the *least* we can do to keep the relationship alive, right? But I’ve been sleep deprived for over three years now and the idea of getting even less sleep to train the kids makes me want to stick pencils in my eyes. I never bargained for how alternating angry, psycho, weepy, and passive sleep deprivation would make me. I hate myself for the way I can feel, then I hate the kids, then I feel guilty.

Sometimes I lay awake at night and a total panic overcomes me: the state in which we live, both physically and mentally is entirely due to the children. And I miss my old life SO much I could cry for days. I love them, but I am overwhelmed, exhausted, and I miss my husband terribly. Please assure me that it gets better. I am drowning in regrets, in guilt, in sadness.


35 comments:

Anonymous said...

i have a friend, she suffered from same problems....

she went and saw her doctor and is now on an anti-depressant - very low dose. she sleeps at night & has more patience and loves life again. loves her kids, her husband, and herself.

its a thought???

i wish you the absolute best. kids are hard. some are harder than others.

Anonymous said...

ditto with above. see someone quickly before it gets worse. at least you know you love your children and your husband. its hard but with work it will get better.

Ariel said...

I agree- get help- and I know you love nursing- I did too- but YOUR health is suffering... Somewhere what is best for you needs to be taken into account.
Best wishes :)
Its tough.

Anonymous said...

Is there any way that you can get a sitter, for even a few hours? I have been there. Definately talk to your Dr. about depression, and determine if meds will help. Go through the pain of getting the kids to sleep without you - and in their own beds --I know sleeping wiht them is easier, but you need YOUR sleep. I used to get a friend to swap kids --I would take hers for 2 hours, and then she would take mine --and during those 2 hours, I would NAP. You need to work on getting yourself healthy or you can't work on your relationship or help your kids. I have been in your shoes....it won't get better until you're feeling better.

Anonymous said...

I've been there as well. My daughter is 9 months and my son is 3 1/2. Ditto the above commenter who suggested a sitter. Or a vacation without the kids. My husband and I took a long weekend in May and left the kids with grandma for this exact reason.

These ages are hard. It will get better. As far as your three year old goes? I have one that sounds pretty similar to yours. He requires attention pretty much all the time. We have begun strongly focusing on teaching him not to interrupt. It's slowly helping - at least we get a few uninterrupted sentences in here and there.

Definitely get the sleep situation under control as well. Yes, the short term always seems more important.. but once you get them both sleeping on their own you will have long stretches of peaceful nights which will refresh you so much more.

Good luck.

Mrs P said...

Sleep is important. Do what it takes to get some. I think it will improve your state of mind to get to a point where you are sleeping in the same bed with your husband. And I'm an advocate of self soothing for the kids. Night time means sleep, and even though re-training them might be stressful, you will be so grateful you did it. Kids will adjust and they will eventually be okay, I don't know if you can say the same for your marriage after a few more nights in the arrangement you have now...
Do you have family around that can help you out? Also, don't rule out meds. Talk to your doctor and be honest about how you are feeling.

bovinesituation said...

Whoa! Did I write this?

I have a 2 year old and a 4 month old. DH sleeps with the 2 yo and I sleep on the couch with the baby in her pack and play. He and ds get decent-ish sleep. I am up 2-6 times a night with her. I don't breastfeed, but it's still pretty awful. I am effing exhausted but we've tried getting the kids to sleep in their rooms so we could sleep together (it's been almost a year) but then no one gets any sleep.

I swear, some days it takes all I have not to end up on the evening news.

Anyway, I don't have any advice but can comiserate. I just started a blog (free therapy, I say) bovinesituation.wordpress.com you can find my contact info there.

Oh, the only time I get to talk to dh is online.

Vicky said...

I am like the commenter at 10:04. I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old, my husband sleeps with the 4 year old and I sleep with the 2 year old. The youngest likes to be back in her room at about 6:30 every night and I get home at 5:30 so I get one hour a night to try and talk to my husband. And then after 6:30 we talk online. It isn't the best situation but it works for us, we know that in the long run what we are doing is for the benefit of our children and we are BOTH on the same page.

Talk to your husband, it might not be upsetting him as much as you think and if that is the case maybe it won't upset you as much. That is definetly the case for us, once we talked about it and were on the same page it took a lot of stress out of the situation.

If you agree to sleeptrain great if you agree to keep the situation as it is great the important part is just to agree.

Hope things get better, I know I was feeling the same when my youngest was 9 mo as well.

Anonymous said...

I also could totally relate to your post although my kids are now a bit older. It does get better, but between now and when it does get better will feel like a very long time so start making some small changes now. For starters, I declared one evening a week my evening to myself. I left as soon as my husband came in the door from work. I would go and sit in a coffee shop with a book, see a movie alone, or just drive around. I made sure I didn't use that time for anything other than just trying to relax and unwind. It did wonders. As for not sleeping..I totally understand what you mean about already feeling so sleep deprived and not wanting to have to put forth any extra effort to correct the probs but you really need to. Why not try correcting the problem over a weekend and have your husband take a couple of vacation days into the next week (so he has a four or five day weekend) and do it then? Just a suggestion, I don't know your circumstances of course but it might help. I've heard of people hiring someone to come and help break their kids of their sleeping probs!!! Don't worry about the sex part of things, worry mostly about your own sanity and take care of your issues first. The rest will hopefully follow or can be dealt with later on. Good luck...it's def a work in progress...I know that first hand.

Anonymous said...

For God's sake, stop breastfeeding. It's the least you can do for yourself. Your baby will survive and will be fine.

Also? Three years of age is HORRIBLE. My son was a BEAST and at that point I had a newborn, so it was much worse. At the very least, know that it's a difficult age and he/she won't be this way forever. In fact, he/she might get better soon.

I think first you should wean the baby and then you and your husband should try to work on sleep training. One thing at a time though. It's good that you and your husband love each other so much; don't let that slip away. My husband and I would always say it was us versus the children and we had to stick together to survive it.

My boys are 13 and 10 now and yes, it does get better, but that won't make you feel any better right now.

Hang in there honey, and good luck.

Kay said...

Ditto to most of the comments above.

Breastfeeding is wonderful, but it's part of what's wearing you down and destroying your marriage. And as much as we hate to believe it, our kids pick up on our moods, so they're feeling the tension too.

I know money is tight everywhere (believe me, I know), but if there's any possible way, you need a weekend away, just you and the hubby. I don't care if it's at Motel 6 around the corner, it's uninterrupted sleep, and some alone time. Go ahead and sign up for one of those high pressure time share sales pitches where they give you a free weekend at a resort in exchange for sitting through their whole presentation. Unless you're easy - then don't do that, because you WILL get talked into buying a timeshare that you will never ever ever use.

I promise, it DOES get better as the kids get older. Sleep deprivation is used as a method of torture, and there's a damn good reason for that - it slowly drives you insane.

With the overwhelming stress and exhaustion, an anti depressant might not be a bad idea, just to get you to the point where you feel capable of tackling the "retraining" of the kids.

Sending you a hug (and a glass of virtual wine) because I've been there - and I know how close to the edge you are.

Anonymous said...

It can get better but only if you put in some real work right now.

If you have never watched any episodes of Super Nanny you need to run right out and rent the series. She will quickly teach you how to effectively discipline your toddler as well as how to get your kids to sleep through the night.

Yeah, it may mean you stay up even later for a few days or weeks but in the end isn't it worth it to save your marriage?

Anonymous said...

This is exactly why I don't want kids.

I would try to do a date night at least once a week, and have a grandparent or friend babysit. I'd also stop breastfeeding, and make an effort to get back to normal with my hubby. It doesn't sound to me like you're depressed - just that you have way too much to deal with.

Also? Your 3 year old? Interrupting all the time is not ok. There is typical 3 year old behavior (I work in early education), and then there is what it sounds like your 3 year old is doing. He needs to knock that shit off right now.

Good luck, and I sincerely hope things get better for you.

Hayley said...

I'm not going to give you any advice, because we're in the same boat right now. I'm just going to tell you... I feel you. You're not alone. I have a 2.5 yr old and newborn twins, one of which is in a cast to correct club foot. YEAH. I hope you get what you need to and that things look up soon.

Anonymous said...

Ditto to Hayley's comment above. I'm in the same boat (methinks we are all in the same HUGE EFFING BOAT. LOTSA COMPANY!) with a 5 month old, a 2.5 year old, and a marriage that is an empty shell of what it once was. It makes me so sad.

Most of the time, I feel like a piece of old furniture in my husband's life. Like he really wants to get rid of me (and the kids), but keeps me around just because I've become part of the landscape.

You're not alone. Really. Hugs.

Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel, in terms of exhaustion and the toll that it takes on marriage. I want to, however, disagree with the posters who recommend weaning your baby. I mean, by all means wean her if you feel like that's what you should do! You know best! But if you're wavering, I'd re-consider. It seems like the sleeping is a bigger issue that the BF - you and your hubby need to be sleeping in the same bed at night, through (most of) the night. I'd recommend sleep training for both kids. For the baby, be a bit gentler, but I'd definitely stop night nursing the baby, if you still are nursing her at night. Sometimes that's all it takes for the little ones to sleep through the night (worked like a charm for my little boy at the same age). Once you & your husband are better rested and have regained the intimacy of shared bed/sleep the rest (ie sex drive) will come back!

Lippy said...

First of all 3 year olds suck. Whoever coined the phrase terrible twos must have killed their kid before they turned 3. We are in an epic battle with our 3 year old. It looks like you have gotten about all the advice I would give. I know the sleep training sucks, but it will be worth it in the long run. Good luck

Anonymous said...

I have to agree; a 3 year old and a newborn is very hard. You are describing exactly how I felt, except that I was not able to nurse. Countless nights I was up every hour of so with the baby. Then she would hit her solid sleep cycle at about 5 a.m. But by 7 a.m. her big brother was up.

I slept in the living room with her in a bassinet because I did not want her to wake up my 3 year old. Hubby worked a lot of nights so it was all me.

I spent a year on Zoloft and it helped a lot.

It does get better. My daughter slept through the night at 3 months, but fromn ages 18 months till nearly 3 she woke often at night. That's when I went on Zoloft.

Now they are 8 and 5, and rarely is my sleep at night get interrupted. The days are still pretty tiring, but nights are better.

Also, have you considered a preschool or mother's day out for your 3 yr old? That is the only thing that gave me any down time. Well, as much as you can have with an infant at home....

LegalMist said...

It does get better, I promise.

I echo many of the thoughts written above. Your kids are at the two most difficult stages of young childhood - still a baby (hasn't learned to sleep properly yet) and three (stubborn, defiant, challenging everything in a quest for new independence).

Hormones and depression can make it worse. Talk to your doctor to see if there is medication that could help.

Talk to your friends to see if someone can stay with the kids for a night while you and your husband get a hotel room and sleep the whole night through, next to each other, then get up in the morning and arrange for a late check out and get your groove on before you head home.

Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

you may be suffering from PPD on top of the sleeplessness. get some meds and rest and you'll get back on track.

Anonymous said...

Let them cry. It seems heartless, but they need to learn how to soothe themselves. How will they learn if you and your husband do it for them? It doesn't take that long once you start and stay consistant. Once you're sleeping in your own bed again, you can tackle everything else.
And the sex drive will come back. Been there, done that.

Anonymous said...

Stop breastfeeding, find a sitter or swap sitting time with another family, and see your doctor about antidepressants. And get the kids out of your rooms no matter what it takes. Consult a child sleep expert if you have to to do it, especially for the 3 year old as a 3 year old should be able to sleep alone through the night-- he's playing you and you're letting him. Ditto for his obnoxious behavior, get professional help if you need it.

Anonymous said...

Who is the parent? You or your 3 year old brat? Seriously - YOU shut YOUR child up. He has NO RIGHT to interrupt your conversation with your husband.
Instead of yelling, put on your best smile and tell him to not interrupt.After the third time, he goes in his room, with the door closed. No amount of screaming lets him out, Mom. None.
I'll BET YOU in 2-3 days that whining shit will STOP.
And yeah, quit the boob, k? What does the baby have if it doesn't have YOU? You're #1 - your health.

Sue said...

You can keep breastfeeding, but ONLY DURING THE DAY, and only 3-4 times per day. Night time - boobs are off limits.

I've had three. After the nightmare of the first "attachment parenting" child, I trained the rest to sleep alone. It's hard when they cry. But it's the best thing I ever did.

You can do it.

Kandeezie said...

Why is the first commenter always recommending drugs? Do you work for a drug company? Can they cure sleep deprivation and parenting small children?

Contrary to popular belief, parenting small children does NOT make you happy. Especially when you don't have any support or help from family. I agree with those that say you need a break, vacation, sleep, family support, and tons of understanding. I've been there. Still am there. But they're getting bigger and it's getting better.

Hang in there!

dkaz said...

Ferberize the 3 yr old! www.sleep-baby-sleep.com/ferber-method.htm. Lack of sleep is a killer. I have known SO MANY parents who have allowed this to get out of control, myself included. It seems ludicrous now that I allowed a 3 yr old to have so much control. You will lose sleep for the 1st few night and then he will learn and you will have given HIM the best gift possible - the ability to know that he can comfort himself. Plus - you and your hubby will benefit too. Good luck - it does get better. If your marriage survives, you'll forget how awful this part is.

Anonymous said...

I could have written this word for word about 6 months ago.

I stopped breastfeeding and life got a lot better. i knwo this goes against everything in today's mothering dogma, but it did solve some problems for me.

I also started seeing a mental health therapist for PPD. I did not go on anti-depressants but looked into some "alternative" remedies that have helped me - B complex vitamins and omega 3-6-9. i vowed that if things did not get better i would go on anti-depressants. I still self-check about this all the time.

Please cosnider seeing someone for help. This sounds like PPd to me that is totally made worse by sleep problems, breastfeeding and marital strife. Sometimes just solving or improving one thing can go a long way. Hopefully there are some ways that you and your husband can get out together without kids or at the very least you can get out on your own. Are there some unparented programs (like a preschool) that your 3 year old can join?

Know that you are not alone in feeling like this!!

Anonymous said...

Yozers! I just checked in here and discovered my post was up! Thank you all SO SO much for your advice and support.

Even before children I was low-level depressive, but I resist medication...because I'm an idiot? don't want to be on it forever? don't want to deal with side effects? I don't know.

I work part time, so I do get a mental break from mothering. Regular date nights, night-weaning and getting my husband back in bed with me are steps I am willing to take asap. Like, starting this week.

Kay said...

Anon -
You resist medication because... well, whatever your reason is, it's enough for you. There's no reason not to try all the other steps first, I think most people agree meds shouldn't be the first step!!
It's good to hear that you're taking some of the other steps though, and I really hope they help.
I'd love an update on how you're doing at some point...

Anonymous said...

My oldest as a baby got up 5-6 times a NIGHT for AN HOUR EACH TIME. It was hell and I was so sleep deprived, nothing made sense.

A friend gave us: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.It was Excellent, because it starts from wherever you are with your kid and gives you ways to work with your child to help them learn to sleep. I suspect your oldest is fundamentally sleep-deprived too, which makes them grumpy too.

I really recommend it and understand about not wanting to sleep less for awhile - but it will be so worth it once you start sleeping through the night (and hopefully with your husband!)

Terri said...

This is unhelpful advice, I know, but feel I must say it: It Will Get Better.

It would be best to take steps now to help the situation from getting worse; things like like separating yourselves from the kids at night and taking time to be with each other without the kids is critical.

Plot your course and stick with it, even if it's the toughest things you ever do!

Anonymous said...

Who is the adult here and who is the child?

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

Sweetheart, YOU HAVE POST PARTUM DEPRESSION!!!!

Go see someone and get something prescribed - yes, you will have to quit nursing and THAT'S OKAY!! It will get better, I promise, it will get better!! Kids are hard, but no, it is NOT supposed to be like this.

Go see a doctor!!!! It is very possibly that within two weeks, you will be your old self again. RUN.

Anonymous said...

You don't need drugs. At least, not right now. There are lots of other things you could try. You have breast-fed for 9 months - you've done great! But now, it is probably time to wean. Is your baby better off with divorced parents? I don't think so.

Then you need to start training your 3 year old to be decent and polite human being. He's not a baby anymore. You need rules and structure and he needs limits. It will be easier to get the kids sleeping on their own now than in another 6 months, or a year, or 2 years. It will be hard for a few nights, but the pay-off is so great.

And yes, it does get easier. You'll see huge improvements when you sleep-train your kids, but until the baby is about 2, it's just a tough job. Think of your husband as your partner and ally; think of yourselves as a team, and it will make your whole life seem better.

Don't give up, mama (we've all been there at some point or other).

Anonymous said...

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child saved my life and my marriage. Children can be trained to sleep. They must be. Mine are teens now and fight sleep still, but I know and they know how important sleep is to physical and mental health. Give it a read, if you can.

It does get easier as they get older, and you have to work hard at setting boundaries, teaching kids to self amuse as they get older and you have to learn to go on dates without kids and keep your marriage alive. Parenthood is a tough, relentless job, and the baby years are hard. But they fly by in a blur, so try to find the happy moments to cherish together too. Good luck and get some sleep!