Just 10 Minutes

The day was sunny and full of whatever I filled it with having an infant and almost 3-year old.  I don’t remember exactly how we spent our morning, I do remember longing for naptime to come quickly.

And by quickly I mean like yesterday quick.

The infant and I had not gotten off to the best of starts. First, I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted another baby, but Mr. FullCup is a man of action, not words.  By the time labor and delivery was upon me, I had come to terms with the knowledge that our family of 3, would be a family of 4.

I was okay with that.  I had my normal adding-a-new-baby jitters, especially when my oldest child still cried when I left her in the nursery every. single. time.  I bribed her with her french fries after AWANA so she wouldn’t cry when I left her at Cubbies.

How on earth would she react to a new baby in the house? How would she fare when my attention was at best divided?

She was a trooper.  The Sunday before her sister was born was the last Sunday she cried in Sunday school.

She lulled Mr. FullCup and I into a false sense of security. She was a very easy baby, slept through the night at 8 days. She was easy and sweet.  How hard could another one possibly be? I mean really. If anyone was meant to be parents it was us. Right?

Enter baby #2.

From the moment of birth she wanted nothing to do with anyone except me. When Mr. FullCup held her she screamed bloody murder until I took her back. My first venture out of the house alone, I was gone exactly one hour. To. The. Minute. (How I remember that I don’t know.) As soon as I pulled into the driveway I heard her screaming, and I asked Mr. FullCup how long she’d been like that. His response?

Since you walked out the door.

She didn’t sleep. She screamed. If I held her, she was quiet. If I nursed her, she was quiet. If I put her down, she cried. If Mr. FullCup held her, she cried. If she was in the bassinet she cried.

The only place she slept was in church. You have no idea how many times I was severely tempted to move us into the church building.  I could even put her one of the cribs in the nursery and she would stay asleep.

Most of her first year is a complete blur. I remember parts of it. And yes, one part of it is the topic of this post. Why? Why share it now? Why share it at all?

Because it’s time. Because I’m done hiding it. Because maybe someone else is where I was. Because maybe someone will be encouraged and helped by my sharing.

That day, the day I don’t remember what we did except I longed for naptime because I was so very tired. Naptime finally came. The oldest went down easy, because she was an easy child and she loved naps.  I remember praying as I prepared to put the baby down that she would sleep.

I prayed for 10 minutes. Just 10 minutes of peace and quiet so I could lie down and close my eyes.

I put the baby in her crib, turned on her cd of baby songs softly, and slowly walked out of the room. I made my way through the kitchen, down the hall, praying all the while for just 10 minutes.

I had no more than laid down on my bed, when she started screaming. I prayed again for 10 minutes. I tried to just stay there for 10 minutes.

But with every second she screamed, my blood pressure rose, my anger built. Until finally I couldn’t take it another nano-second. I bolted from my room, flew down the hall, burst into her room, and scooped her from the crib intending to take her to my room so I could at least still rest.

As I pivoted around with her still screaming, my eyes saw the corner of her bedroom and my mind said, “If you throw her in the corner the crying will stop.”

“If you throw her in the corner the crying will stop.”

I thought that. I thought of throwing my own child, my own flesh and blood in the corner so the crying would stop.

I was not depressed. I was extremely sleep-deprived and at that moment more than a little angry.

Instead of throwing her in the corner, my brain reacted in horror at the thought and I gently placed her on the floor and walked out of her room.

I closed the door, gently and walked through my house to her screams. I went outside and walked to the farthest part of my yard and I still heard her.  I prayed like I have never prayed before.

I was horrified that I would think such a thing. Horrified that someone would find out.

I was in dire need of help, and had no idea how to ask for it. I didn’t know where to turn. I couldn’t tell Mr. FullCup because he had enough on his plate and couldn’t worry about me at the same time.

“What kind of mother thinks to kill her child? What kind of mother? Because obviously I am that mother.”

The responsibility for my actions is completely mine.  However, I had tried, in vain, to tell people how it was with her. I tried to tell some about the screaming, the lack of sleep.  Almost without exception I heard (from those living close enough to help) that I shouldn’t talk about it. I was exaggerating.

I felt alone.

I repeat I was not depressed. I was sleep deprived. I failed every test for depression available at that time. I knew, and still know, in my heart of hearts that all I really needed was one good night’s sleep.

I’m not blaming those around me. I could have tried more. I could have insisted. But I didn’t.  I could have pushed to find a safe place to be real, to find comfort, to get help.  I could have. But I didn’t.

I want to be that real place, that place of comfort for anyone. I know the only way that can happen is to be real.

I wish I could say that day miraculously changed everything. That she fell asleep on her bedroom floor while I lost myself in the back yard. I wish I could say that she started sleeping that night.

I wish. But I can’t.  The sad fact is, I had many, many more months of sleepless in the days to come.

However, I can say, I never again had a thought like that. Instead, I had grace for the moment.  I had a great big God I could push into and hide.

In case you’re wondering, a few years ago I told Mr. FullCup this story, until today he was the only one who knew. He told me he was constantly afraid of something like that happening, without the good outcome. He knew how tired I was. And he prayed.

That child is now almost 12 years old. She dances ballet. Has an incredibly tender heart to anyone hurting. She loves to read, giggle and make others laugh. I can’t imagine my life without her.

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2 thoughts on “Just 10 Minutes

  1. Brutally and beautifully honest. You are a strong woman, raising strong women. I pray that this post reaches and touches another young mother struggling with the reality of tiny children.

    ((((HUGS))))

    I’ve been thinking of you a lot lately, I’m hoping to get up for a visit, but maybe I’ll talk you into coming this way instead (just because I’m having a hard time finding someone to watch the animals while we’re gone).let’s talk soon…

  2. God will use your vulnerability to assist others. He does that kind of thing with us, keeping us humble. I pray that even one mom or dad out there can find peace in what you have openly shared. I would have been so blessed to have read this over 38 years ago. Thank you!

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