It’s 2 a.m. and the sound of the baby crying startles you awake.
With a groan of despair, you roll over in bed and stare at the white bassinet beside you. Tiny fists punch the air and little legs kick frantically as your daughter wails in infant fury.
Her cries get louder but you can’t seem to move.
Why? Why won’t she sleep?
People keep saying that infants are supposed to sleep a lot, but not yours. She wakes up crying four, five, six times a night. She barely sleeps during the day.
Your husband said he’d rather go to the bar than put up with “that kid” crying all night.
No big loss. He never helped much anyway. Now he mostly just passes out on the couch and stumbles off to work in the morning, muttering about how a good mom would be able to keep the kid quiet.
So it’s all on you. It’s always on you.
And right now, you’re so tired you can barely lift your head from the pillow. And she just won’t stop crying.
She’s had two bottles and a fresh diaper.
What else can she want?
Tears sting the back of your eyes as you lie there feeling worthless and frustrated. Maybe you’re just not cut out for motherhood.
Maybe your husband is right – if you were a good mom, your baby would sleep and wouldn’t cry so much.
The other moms, the ones you see at the doctor’s office and in the grocery store, they look like they know what they’re doing. Their babies aren’t always crying.
Caught between desperation, grief and anger, you yank the pillow from under your head and pull it over your face to drown out her cries.
You just need one minute of silence and maybe a few hours of sound sleep. You just need time to think!
Why won’t she stop crying! Doesn’t she know you’re doing your best?
You sit up in bed and stare at the bassinet, a wash of irrational anger coming over you. You don’t want to feel angry – she’s just a baby. Your baby.
But it’s like she’s doing this to you on purpose. The guilt and the anger war inside you as you clench the sheets in your fists.
Stop crying! Stop!
Please, please Lord make her stop crying. . .
In these moments of despair, there is hope.
Human Support Services, a private nonprofit based in Monroe County, can help parents and families before a crisis emerges.
Caring for a small child is difficult and stressful, even in the best of circumstances.
The sleepless nights, the sense of helplessness – it’s all a part of new parenthood most of us can relate to.
But when you factor in other stressors – mental health concerns, physical illness, financial burdens and strained adult relationships – a night such as this can be a terrifying breaking point.
An exhausted parent with no support system, crippled by extreme emotional duress, can make a decision that could endanger themselves or their child.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and we believe education, intervention and support are crucial factors in helping prevent child abuse and neglect.
Human Support Services is here to help parents get the resources they need before they reach that breaking point.
We offer counseling for mothers battling postpartum depression, parents facing mental and behavioral health concerns, and families struggling to manage outside stress.
We also provide a variety of other services aimed at building stronger, healthier families.
Our staff teaches coping mechanisms, parenting skills, self-esteem building techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy and other evidence-based therapeutic interventions to help parents address their concerns and find positive outcomes.
We’re here to show new parents they are not alone, and to provide them with the resources, tools and self-confidence to be the best parents they can be.
If you or someone you know could benefit from individual, family or child services, contact HSS at 618-939-4444.