Monday, March 3, 2008

The smell of burning martyr

Eve had a bad night last night, lots of wind, awake a lot, and I only got a couple of hours sleep. For the first time in a good few weeks I started to find myself losing the plot a bit about the lack of sleep. This was in part due to the fact that Eve has been sleeping much better lately, 3 or 4 hours between feeds overnight, and also because in my hazy, sleepy state I figured out that it has been 60 days since I had a semi decent nights sleep. That is only 20 days less than Mr Fogg took to go the whole sodding way around the world. This morning I was tired, feeling a bit shitty about both lack of sleep and the complete unfairness that I have a great baby except her digestion is screwed up.

However, I am a bit unusual it would seem, in HK, in that I do overnight myself. I was at lunch with colleagues yesterday and I found out that I am a bit of a novelty in not only breastfeeding overnight, but doing everything it myself. One colleague, whose wife is pregnant with the second child, has hired a maternity nurse to look after the new baby 24 hours a day for the first month. It is costing him an arm and a leg but they have decided that it is too hard to do it all themselves. Another colleague, who grew up in the Philippines thought it was strange I was waking up at all and I should be getting the nanny to do it - she described her family approach to new babies as one of "delegation".

I believe that you get no points for doing things the hard way so I find myself wondering why I continue to do the nights myself, and during the week when I let the Boy sleep, entirely on my own.

Perhaps this stems from the example of my own mother and sister who both did/do everything themselves. I feel I would be something of a fraud if they managed it and I didn't. I also want to spend as much time with Eve as I can before I head back to work and the nights are a lovely quiet time for the two of us to be together. I also feel that having a baby is not supposed to be easy, that sleepless nights are part of the deal and so I should go through it.

However, what this ends up with me being is something of a martyr about all this. It is the "no, I will do it" attitude but of course I will make sure that everyone knows I have made a big sacrifice/it is really hard. At baby group today we were even discussing the fact that we sometimes won't let our partners carry the bag/baby/push the buggy because we quite like being the "I do everything all the time and isn't it hard" wife. There is always a distinct smell of burning martyr at these times.

Is this a bad thing? On balance probably not. I could possibly do things with a bit more grace and stop complaining as much but it is tough, I am exhausted, and I really don't care who knows.

However, the Boy needs to be ready with the fire extinguisher.

1 comment:

Sabina said...

Ok - here's one to make you feel better again (I hope): when I was pregnant with Finn I attended what must be the best ante-natal classes ever. They were (and still are) run by Christine Hill, and were recommended to me by a very good friend (the same one who introduced me to Tim, so if all fails, I will blame her...). She in turn had been recommended to attend, and likewise I passed on the word to other expectant mothers (Luby being one of them) afterwards.
Anyway, to the point: all the ladies that attended were older (35+ with one exception, but that's a whole other story), intelligent, professional women. Amongst my group of 12 was a well-known newsreader and also one of the most famous women in modeling (think blonde, German, you know who I mean, and am sure I have told you before).
When Christine went round the group one session asking every one of us who we had lined up to help post-birth and what provisions we had made the answers varied from 'nanny' to 'doula' to 'maternity-nurse'... until she came to me. "Errrmmm..." I replied, " just me?!?"
You could have heard a pin drop! But I did do it on my own, like you, and Tim has been great (but like the Boy seems to have very selective hearing at night). And it all goes so fast that in the grander scale of things sacrifices like sleep and me-time really do not matter that much.
Especially when you have little cherubs that love you unconditionally! S xx