Several months ago my friend took me to a wonderful play called "Expressing Motherhood", which featured 13 women talking about the trials and triumphs of motherhood. The show was amazingly raw and powerful. I was excited when I met one of the moms at the park a few weeks ago. We immediately connected and she sent me this story. Even if you're not a mom, Nicole strikes a nerve. Sometimes life presents challenges, and it can feel like your world is unraveling. Use humor and look for those little glimmers of light, it's right there in front of you. By the way, Nicole's a comedian and she has a show coming up November 1st. Proceeds go to the Be Aware Foundation to fight breast cancer. Enjoy Nicole's voice.
Nights and Daze
By Nicole Blaine
I swear to God I am going to throw this baby off the balcony.
Okay, I’m not Michael Jackson. I love my child. The moment the Nurse laid her on my chest, she looked into my eyes, and I fell in love. And then... she screamed. FOREVER.
They call it colic. No one warns you about colic. Why? No one knows what colic means. For me, it meant months of sleep deprivation. So I had to create a very detailed, extremely precise, yet ever-changing method to turn her off at three in the morning.
You start with the swaddling, which is like making a little baby burrito. Swaddling is meant to recreate the feeling of security in the womb. Next you play the white noise to mimic the sounds of the womb. Then comes the movement. What started as gentle rocking, soon turned into bouncing on an exercise ball, which morphed into lunges. It's 3:12 in the middle of the night, and sweat is pouring off me as I'm thrusting forward, legs burning, arms like jello, lost in a sea of deafening white noise. This is what my womb was like?
My husband, of course, is asleep. God, I hate him. I couldn't believe this was our life. We had been together for twelve years. We were madly in love, and we were best friends. I used to tell people our life was like a never-ending slumber party. Now everything he said bore through my skin, ripped into my muscles, and got on my very last nerve. Everything he did with the baby he did absolutely wrong. Eat, poop, sleep: That’s all babies do. He sucked at getting her to sleep, he went into gagging convulsions around a poopy diaper, and he never lactated!
He tried. He bought her stuff. We have a mantle of 82 different rubber duckies. As soon as she showed slight interest (a “smile” not a gas bubble) he went to the store and cleared the shelves.
“Are you kidding me? I’m on maternity leave, we can’t afford all these stupid rubber duckies! She also likes rolling over, and that doesn’t cost anything! I understand you want to make her happy, but you don’t earn enough money to make her happy.” Some of it may have been the hormones.
I mean, I hated everyone – everyone who still went on dates, who still loved their partners, who still had a life, who still slept. I hated all my friends who didn't make the fatal mistake of having a baby. And I hated all my friends with babies. They all had babies that slept. All the time, everywhere. They slept in their cribs. They slept in the car. They slept in the stroller. They slept in a sling. The slept in a tuba in the middle of a marching band! I hated everyone. I hated you.
Why is my baby like this? What did I do? I was too stressed out during the pregnancy. I should have quit work sooner. I didn't take enough vitamins. I took too many vitamins. I slept the wrong way. On my stomach. On my back. On my right side. She practically died inside me every night. No, wait, it's his fault. He must have some crazy genes that snuck their way into my uterus. I should have known his family tree bore nothing but crazy fruit. God, I hate him.
Then one day he grabbed me. He threw me down on the bed. And then… he tickled me. I laughed. We laughed. We laughed until I cried, until I peed my pants, until I punched him in the face just to get him to stop tickling me. And I missed him. I missed us. Everything that was great about us came back with that rush of laughter. How could I have forgotten him? He’s my BFF. We can still have a slumber party, we just can’t sleep anymore.
And when our daughter said her first word I cried tears of joy. Who knew the word “duck” would make me love my husband even more? She’s 3 ½ years old now, and she is perfect.
There’s this old wives tale about colic: it will magically disappear around three months. That we never believed. It didn’t seem possible, but abra cadabra: she fell asleep. She stopped screaming. Our house calmed down. We all fell in love with each other, and I realized something: We would never be a couple again, we were now a family.
**Nicole Blaine currently resides in her hometown, Santa Monica, CA, where she met her husband. You can see her headlining in an all female stand up comedy show on November 1st. The cover charge is $10 and all proceeds go to the Be Aware Foundation to fight Breast Cancer, held at The Varsity Sports Grill Los Angeles 6311 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90048 from 6:30-9:30pm.