Quiet is Seldom Discussed

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Everything is loud. Everyone is screaming. Everyone needs something. Everyone needs me. I can't think with all of these sounds and all of these lists and all of these decisions I have to make. Can I borrow your ears? Your organization skills? Your memory?

We talk of the moments, but only those bolded and underlined, notated with red ink. We mark dates on the calendar and double-check them, make plans to fill our days with noise and conversation, push ourselves to take on more, measure our heft by the wake of our ventures but quiet is seldom discussed.

Of course there is chaos and every morning we wake in sinking beds and we must dress, eat, feed, drive... all before the time the bed disappears beneath the floor, its monsters and tube socks revealed.

But what of the reflective pauses? When the music isn't blasting the same songs on repeat. When the children are coloring. And the kitchen is clean. And the babies are finally sleeping. After school drop-off when the car is parked on the driveway and the key has just left the ignition...

When I open the door she is screaming. Every morning she screams. She is afraid of arms that aren't mine. Terrified. So I strap her to my body, tell her over and over that it's okay. The world is safe. You don't need me. Just ask your twin sister. The quiet one who in four months has cried once.

The world is safe.

Hal says the one thing that gives him solace in moments of panic or stress is: "everything is absurd." He tells me to try it sometime so I do and he's right. This sentence is absurd. So is this sentence. And this.

A. It's a wonderful feeing, to be needed.
B. It's a terrifying feeling, to be needed.
C. All of the above

They're not supposed to sleep on their stomachs but there's no other way that they will sleep. They're not supposed to sleep with bumper pads in their cribs but they do that, too. Otherwise they would sleep with their faces against the bars. I am told by reputable sources that I'm putting their lives at risk. I have been told by reputable sources all my life that what I'm doing is wrong because that's how reputable sources work. They are smug in the knowledge they possess after games of telephone. They tag their hypotheses with the names of Ivy League research institutes and we all fall down on our knees out of fear that we know nothing and they know it all. And they do! They know everything. Their voices are loud with wisdom so we musn't trust our own.

I knew a woman once who forgot how to listen to herself, too busy was she listening to voices on headphones telling her how to feel. And then she would cry because the song told her to cry and she would laugh because the studio audience told her to laugh and then she put her babies on their backs because that's just what you do now. That's just what you do. So much noise.

I'm learning to turn down the music. No headphones. No more listening in on the conversations of reality stars with cameras aimed between their eyes. Everything is absurd.

My hair is falling out again. It's falling out like it did when Fable was born and I blamed my IUD. My hair is falling out because of hormones and I'm afraid to have sex because of pregnancy and every time Hal sits next to me on the couch I cross my legs. In the meantime, the shower drain is clogged with hair and the water is rising.

The water is rising and the bed is sinking and the voices in our heads belong to everybody else. We know the words to every song but forget what it was we were saying. We retweet in place of our own thoughts. Repin our fantasy kitchens. Tumble quotes. We tell our children to "be quiet! I can't hear myself think...."

...But of what are we thinking? I know all the lyrics to Baby Got Back. I say "like" too much. I click "like" too much. Nobody "likes" this post. I don't "like" it either.

I bought a brick of Pilates classes last month knowing I would never use them.

Ever.

But everyone is doing it, you know? Everyone ELSE is doing it.

There's always a bra that hangs from the doorknob in the bathroom. It's always damp and it's always there, even when I take it down and slip it through my sleeves at the breakfast table. Somehow, moments later it's back. Another bra, twisted and drying against monogrammed towels. This is what I'm thinking about right now in my quiet moment at my desk with my quiet baby in the other room and the other one in my arms. Quiet is a stretched-out bra with a missing underwire.

Yesterday I started an outline for a new thing. A new story. Three years ago I wrote a short script that got made into a film that I hated so much I never wrote about it. It was bad, that's why. It was bad and I wrote it and it was bad. But, see, someday I'd like to write about someone else's bra straps, a different married couple's vasectomy pamphlets. I did the same thing last January. Started something. Finished it. Hated it. Wrote something else. Liked it okay. Hated it. Wrote something else. Decided it wasn't worth a second draft...

I imagine I'll spend the next forty-something years writing things and throwing them away until one day the muse appears like Mary Poppins with a taped-together manuscript and helps me wrangle decades of dead ends and tangled plotlines. In the meantime, it's easier to start a new story than to edit another draft. This is why they say that half of manuscripts end in divorce.

"I write to quiet the voices," people like to say. Just like we say "shhhh!" to our children for talking too loud in libraries.

There is so much noise. Too much noise. Noise blocking noise but quiet is seldom discussed. Unless of course there is so much quiet. Too much quiet. Quiet blocking quiet until it, too, becomes loud.

The margins of life are thick. Peace exists. (We named our screaming baby after it.) Silence happens. (Even if it's only as we dream.) A song fades out and then, for two or three seconds; quiet.

It's everywhere and it's whispering.

GGC

175 comments:

Elaine | 10:10 AM

Loved this post. It reminded me of the way you wrote in your book which always seemed so different from how you usually wrote here.

If it helps at all my son was just like your screaming twin. He didn't want anyone but me and simply being in the same room as me was never enough. He's still that way sometimes at almost 2 years old. When he's sick or sad he wants me and no one else will do.

I'm due with our second in 6 weeks. We'll see how different this one is from her brother.

Steph(anie) | 10:15 AM

Breathing this in.

Shawna | 10:15 AM

How can you NOT like anything-- EVERYTHING--you write?

There are others that love every word.

emilyG | 10:17 AM

Your writing is so beautiful. You are so beautiful. Even when you're surrounded by stretched-out bras and noise and discarded manuscripts.

Arnebya | 10:20 AM

Screw everyone else with their follow us, hit follow, unfollow. And when it's the right thing you've written, you'll know. That's all I got. That's enough.

Amy G | 10:25 AM

Beautifully written, Rebecca. My now 9-year-old couldn't be put down for the first few years of her life. I resisted all the voices and the research blah blah blah and trudged along with MY gut (slept on her back with blankets, co-slept, never let her cry it out...). She is now the fiercest, most independent and self-assured "big kid" I know. I had to let her find her own security on her timeline and her way and it certainly has paid off in the end. It may have cost me a few more wrinkles and endless nights without great (any!)sleep but I had this overwhelming feeling that this isn't MY show on MY terms (contrary to the expert advice) and that helped me through the rough spots. AND my tub was clogged up with post-partum hair loss and I just donated my set of never-viewed pilates DVDs to Goodwill last week. As for the outside voices, I used to call it my inner FILTER and not my inner voice, because there were times where in the sleep deprivation it seemed like the voices would mix altogether, never in unison, and I had to filter through what I really wanted to hear and what was not going to work for me. Best, Amy

WorkingMom | 10:25 AM

Beautiful post. And I have learned to take the time for the little moments, and to go with my gut that tells me to stop for them.

There have been evenings when all three boys are vying to have my full attention, talking over one another, while their music and computers and the TV are on, and I have been unable to hear anything over everything. And I know why my father wired every room of the house with speakers, and my mother played music through them all the time - we weren't louder than Earth, Wind, and Fire or Chicago's harmonies.

The Bewitching Hour in our house is now filled with music too.

Allen | 10:25 AM

Like. Very much.



worth noting, wv; bless

Melissa | 10:26 AM

On the subject of endless baby advice: I love this blog post (forgive me if you've seen it already.) http://dearmisterbaby.blogspot.com/2011/03/advice-and-plans.html

b. | 10:28 AM

this was amazing. and even, cathartic to read. hope it extended some of that back to you as you wrote it.

Kitty | 10:31 AM

I posted about quiet this week too, but from my later life perspective.

If its any encouragement to you - yes, those bits of stories blend and organize themselves later when you have time and hard-earned perspective. I wish I would have captured more of the bits in real time. They are precious to me now.

Abbey | 10:32 AM

Love it, believe it, am it... so often.

Joanna | 10:33 AM

Berry only ever slept well on her side. Or in the swing. So we did that. She's 4 now. Somehow we all survived.

And...we're supposed to FINISH the plot outlines and drafts we start? Oooh, I missed that class. ;)

Lastly, vasectomies are wonderful.

Nannette Spencer | 10:34 AM

Everything is temporary. Forge ahead.

Anonymous | 10:35 AM

Really just lovely, and moving. My 2nd kiddo could...not...be....put down. I co slept, carried him around, forgot myself and my personal hygiene for years against the advice of everyone. He is such a sweet, sensitive, secure not always crying tough little almost 5 year old now. He is the total peacemaker of our clan. Go with what works- peace be with you and yours.
mary lee

Your Mother | 10:35 AM
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephannie | 10:36 AM

Thank you for the beautiful honesty in your words.
My second son is NOTHING like the first. Not only does he ONLY want me - he. never. sleeps. at. night. Just cries and screams - he's 10 months old - and I'm exhausted, as I'm sure you are.
I don't like this post - I LOVE it.
Oh and he has bumper pads in his crib - those know-it-all-Ivy-Leagers-can-suck-it - otherwise a leg or arm gets stuck between the rungs...

Pepper Blossom | 10:36 AM

beautiful

My Bottle's Up! | 10:36 AM

oh lady, my head aches for you. and my eyes burn for you. are your eyes burning? and your head aching? or are you numbed to the burning ache by now?

sigh. i'm thinking of you, on another coast, but still thinking of you, no less.

so glad you are writing.

Brianne Drlich | 10:37 AM

This is wonderful. You are quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. I appreciate your honesty so much.

Angela | 10:39 AM

Amen. Love this. Love you. Thank you for writing.

Nicolette @ Momnivore's Dilemma | 10:39 AM

Quiet to me, is that blank piece of paper. That blank computer screen.

Unplugging from my blog for a week really helped me return to center.

Too many EMFs I guess.

Anonymous | 10:39 AM

Thank you.

erin | 10:45 AM

Loved this so much. Thank you.

tracy | 10:46 AM

Wow. WOW. Please power through and keep writing, because your words are pretty magical.

Colleen | 10:47 AM

Perfect. Thank you. Honesty is always appreciated.

My Olive is your Boheme. And she slept on her stomach from 3 weeks old. I feel your pain. I felt like the doctor was going to make me sign something that said "I acknowledge my baby will die." Of course they didn't, but the reprimanding and threatening with death was horrible.

Hang in there.

Sizzle | 10:51 AM

So true and honest. Thanks for this.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 10:54 AM

Collen: I lie to my doctor. "Yes. They sleep on their backs," I say. (Sometimes it's easier to lie.)

Love to all for such amazing comments. Thank you.

rainbowmummy | 10:55 AM

wow. just wow.

be ok xxx

Glenda | 10:58 AM

Rebecca, YOU are an amazing writer! I love to read your posts because they are filled with reality. Raw! They make me smile, laugh and cry. Thanks for sharing that with all of us.

And I can relate. Everything has changed so much. My kids always slept on their stomachs, still do!

Listen to your whispers!
PS- have you watch the twin special on OWN (with Lisa Ling) thought of you, R&B when I watched (although they are not identical) :)

Unknown | 10:59 AM

Thank you Rebecca. I was beginning to think you were Super Mom with your Super Kids and Super Family, while I'm here struggling with a 2-year-old and 2-month-old--barely able to get my teeth brushed. Ah well, that's all I have time for--my 2-month-old is crying..."quiet is seldom discussed".

Amy L. | 11:03 AM

Hang in there, mama! You're doing great...and this, too, shall pass. Before you know it, Boheme will have outgrown this crying jag and you'll be listening to all four of your kiddos playing and talking and giggling.

Hugs!!

Annie | 11:05 AM

so good. thank you.

Sara | 11:07 AM

beautiful. honest. true.

(sidebar: the captcha for validating my comment here is "queit" - the perfect anagram)

cora d | 11:10 AM

love. i have another ggc quote to add to my repetoire - this is absurd (my other is this too shall pass). i hope you find time to do more writing like this (if you wish) - you are very talented.

Madeline Wilson | 11:10 AM

This post meant a lot to me today. I have a new son who is just a little younger than your twins and I know this moment, or rather this feeling, all too well. And I only have one child (so far)!

The timing of this was the best part though. I had had a long conversation yesterday with my husband about post partum depression. Being a kind hearted guy who had watched his sister struggle with it twice now, and myself also disappear briefly (we are still not sure if it was that or the Mirena IUD I had taken out after only 6 weeks), he had his own theories where it comes from. Well intentioned thoughts about mothers having to leave their little ones in a way that is far from normal. I thought it was a good start, but having experienced post partum depression myself, I offered up that it has more to do with isolation.

Being a mother is the most rewarding and isolating thing I have ever experienced. I have never felt so needed, yet I have never felt so alone. People frown at me and my baby on airplanes, in nice restaurants, like were a nuisance. I have to hide it my car to nurse my son. It makes me want to yell at people sometimes. Something like "WHAT THE FUCK? Don't you know this is what it is all about?"

Even more timely though was the fact that I was planning to post on this very subject today on my blog (maddysmomtage.blogspot.com). It was either going to be that or a piece about how my hair is falling out. Ha.

Anonymous | 11:14 AM

Thank you! This is just how I was feeling today with such a need for quiet. Quiet is such a gift that is always taken for granted. I have been crying in the bathroom, hiding from my family only to hear a knock at the door, all because my lack of quiet lately. Let's hang in there.

Aimee | 11:16 AM

Both of my boys slept on their tummies. (as we all did back then!) IMO it seems way more natural with the curvature of the spine and they sleep better. Babies who sleep on they backs get a flat head that may cause brain damage if they don't wear a helmet. How does that seem natural?? Go always with your gut and f*ck the well-meaning advice givers. That's my motto. I do my own research, and come to my own conclusion! I acknowledge there is risk in living!

Unknown | 11:17 AM

All things are temporary. She will continue to scream until one day she doesn't. You'll forget to notice until 3 days later when she isn't screaming and you're dancing.

As hard as right now may be, it will soon pass, and be replaced by something equally as hard, in a completely different way. Absurd, indeed.

Thank you for writing about times that are wonderful, times when you're grateful...and most importantly, times that are hard. Times when you cry, times when things aren't "fine".

With new mothers, especially, there's a lot of pressure found to be happy. Overwhelmingly happy. Some women are, most women aren't. People often forget about how HARD life is in the first year. How TIRED you become, and the shit your body puts your through. It's different for a mother, but only a mother can understand that.

Thank god for the internet, and the support we're able to offer one another. Thank god for you, and your ability to stand up and say "it's not okay, and that's okay." Without you, there's someone out there, struggling, fighting herself, that doesn't know. It's okay, this too shall pass.

Abilew-who | 11:18 AM

Like all the other comments, I thought this was beautifully written. But it made me sad. It reminded me of feelings I had after both my kids that I didn't like; didn't want to remember. Thank you for writing about the less shiney things - but I do hope you can see a light at the end of that tunnel. It's so so so hard. But it's so so so temporary. And then it'll be something else - or someone else. But you'll rock that too.

Christine H | 11:23 AM

Oh girl, I hear you. And I don't have four young kids...twins. Just everything else. And I long for quiet, but I have forgotten how to turn off the noise in my head.

Aimee | 11:24 AM

*"back then" means back in the 70's and 80's when we were babies that was how we slept!

*On "their" backs, apparently I have been talking with my 3yo lately and have forgotten how to write. :-)

*PS I wish I could "like" Colleen's comment and your reply to her. I have felt and done both with our former doc. Now, they just expect it from me as I am the "home birth lady!"

C. | 11:26 AM

This was so hard and awesome to read all at once. You got really mad at me once for being anti-crib bumpers and expressing that alternate view, so I'm sorry if by commenting I contributed to that noise. We all measure risks differently, and my baby sleeps on her tummy too.

Bo is such a doll in all your pictures that it's hard to imagine her being sad or clingy!

My husband also cites the fear of another pregnancy for evading sex right now. It's very hard for me, and alienating. I hope we all get back to doing "stuff" soon because I really believe it greases the wheels of a marriage when babies + other children demand so much. Plus, it beats bickering.

Jessie | 11:30 AM

Hi there....I'm new to reading your blog, and once I started I couldn't stop! (I totally spent a whole afternoon reading old posts to catch up)

I love your brutal honesty and your way with words, and non-traditional ways. I really love this post. It so poignantly puts into words what so many of us feel too often. And girl - next time you get the urge to pay for some Pilates you won't use, go spend that money on an awesome new bra! :-)

Little Red Dog Studios | 11:31 AM

This is a wonderful post. I like Hal's quote on how to quiet the voices. Mine is "Don't think." I focus on my other senses and just do. Speaking of outside influences: I started reading "the Power of Now" which talks about how to quiet the thoughts, how by doing so connects us to a greater intention that allows for creativity to flow. Your writing is fabulous but I totally understand how critical we can be of our own work.

Krista | 11:32 AM

This is just what I needed to read, right in this very moment. Thank you for that.

Mama Smith | 11:34 AM

So beautifully written. Believe it or not I miss those early clingy days... My now one year old is becoming a little person and hearing you talk about always carrying your baby makes me long for those wild infant times. As you know it all passes and changes so fast. Thank you!

Julie | 11:34 AM

Christ, you're an amazing writer. Posts like these cut so close to the bone. Like everyone, I forget the first 8 months of colic, screams, aching arms, searching for the nonexistent answer, surrender, surrender, surrender, resentment, surrender, etc. You bring those moments back to me with such crystal clarity that I feel the acid in my throat from lack of sleep. Or lack of faith in the fact that life will go on.

MJ | 11:35 AM

Mine slept on his tummy, too. It was the only way. I lied to my doctor at 2 months, but told the truth at 4, and she looked at my calmly and said, "that's how mine slept best, too." No judgment, no lecture.

In my professional field, we like to call babies like Bo "high needs"...they often turn into sensitive children, very tuned to their emotions. Babies cry because they don't know any other way to relieve stress. They smell their mamas and it's instant stress-reduction. Thank god for baby wearing.

Stephanie | 11:38 AM

We lie to our doctor too. "No, we don't cosleep," but it is the only way to sleep and hear ourselves trying to give the other the lost binky when he wakes up.

Beautiful post.

Jennifer | 11:39 AM

I LOVE this post. There are parts of it I want to write in large bold letters across my bedroom wall. Thank you.

Anonymous | 11:48 AM

Hey, you know maybe someone saw that film you wrote and loved it! You never know...

Melody | 11:49 AM

I’ve been meaning to comment since the girls were born and this finally pulled me out. I have twin girls who are now 7. They’re fraternal and one is blonde and blue-eyed and one is brunette with brown eyes. People are always amazed that they are sisters much less twins. Your girls remind me so much of them when they were babies. I showed my husband a pic of Bo and Rev and he was even amazed at the similarities. Of course, this was after he asked me and how do you know this person again? He doesn’t quite get the blog thing just yet.

Stomach sleeping, I did that – well my girls did (it was the only way they’d sleep) and I had my ped’s ok so screw your doctor for not at least discussing it with you. Maybe because my ped had twins as well, regardless, it worked for us so if it’s working for you I say go for it and don’t worry about what anyone else says.

The first year with my twins was rough. I tell people that I feel like I have a touch of PTSD from the experience. My girls were IVF babies, much wished for and much wanted so I always felt it was a betrayal to acknowledge how hard it was to deal with their needs and my needs and my god, the sleep deprivation. But we survived and there were certainly beautiful moments mixed in with the hard ones. I just wish I remembered them more (see: sleep deprivation). All of this will pass eventually and then you’ll have one light head and one dark head bent together whispering secrets in the back seat on the way to school.

Katie of Cabbage Ranch | 11:56 AM

This is incredibly validating, and captured with the same kind of rushing pulse I've had those feelings and thoughts. All the positives set aside for a moment, motherhood is just. so. hard. For writing about it? You're pretty great.

lepisosteidae | 11:59 AM

I know it probably doesn't help in the moment, but the post-pregnancy hair loss is normal. (And common to most mammals - my friend's dog, an akita with a fabulously beautiful fluffy coat, lost nearly all of her fur while she was nursing her puppies. She looked comical.) It will eventually grow back!

And in other news: cut yourself some slack. Your life changed, massively. You're dealing with a tremendous amount of stress (finding a house, parenting four kids, probably dealing with changes in your marriage as you adapt to this new landscape, getting back to work, trying to find balance) on very little sleep and what's probably an enormous surge of hormones. Stop, breathe, carve out some time for yourself if you need it, and remember that you have a support network. Ask people for help.

Anonymous | 12:05 PM

I have a 4 year old and a 20 month old. My 4 year old was your crying baby. The first 6 months of his life were, frankly, awful. I loved him so much and I was so happy to be a mommy, but, but but....

Both my boys are Mommy Stalkers. All day they want me to sit with them, play with them, carry them, never go more than 3 feet away from them. I sit down on the couch to rest for a few minutes and the both of them are climbing over me, fighting over who gets to sit in my lap. Sometime I just want to sit and drink a cup of coffee and be able to relax, have some space. I was thinking this morning, talking myself down, reminding myself that in 10 years they will be busy in their lives and I'll miss this.

I joined the YMCA recently. We maybe can't afford it, but I needed something for me and me only. The boys love the childcare center. I drop them off for an hour, they play, I work out. This is the only time I get to myself just to suck in the quiet. It is keeping me sane.

Anonymous | 12:15 PM

Let me tell you something Miss Number One Blogger. You really deserve that ranking and this post is just more proof. I read several blogs. I read several MOMMY blogs and I do not have kids and I will never have kids. I am a voyeur. The things is, I don't even like most of these bloggers. They are not good writers. They are narcissists (Katie AG) or they project phony perfect lives or they are horrible, mean people like Jessica G. But you are actually likeable. You know why? Because you are not afraid to be real. You are a talented writer. You have depth. You have joy. You're blessed with physical beauty but you are humble. You recommended Beginners which made me cry.

You sound really stressed and who wouldn't be with new twins? But we're here for you, out in the ethers. Your readers who like you and think you are a good writer. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

PS: All creative people love/hate/doubt their work on a daily basis.

Vanessa | 12:23 PM

Oh, your writing is so melodic. I am sure you are all but losing it right now, but you sharing it with others helps so much.

Awesome Mom | 12:23 PM

I love your tummy sleeping comment. My baby girl was born the same day as yours and she is a hard core tummy sleeper too. I tried swaddling her but she hated having her hands bound (she wants to suck her thumb) but she would startle herself awake if she was on her back unswaddled. It is nice to know I am not the only one with a tummy sleeper that laughs at the back to sleep recommendations. P.S. She is also a momma's girl and will not let anyone else hold her for very long before she starts freaking out.

SUPAHMAMA! | 12:41 PM

In a response to one of your earlier comments, I lied to their doctors too... about EVERYTHING. Yes they sleep on their backs, OF COURSE he says a thousand words when he's not in this office, yes she's sleeping in her own bed, blah blah blah.

Gorgeous post, as always.

Siaci | 12:50 PM

Thank you so much for this. For THIS.

Kacey Haffner-Bruce | 12:51 PM

amen!

Adrianne | 12:54 PM

I thought that hair loss happened during pregnancy and was so happy to have avoided that little side effect. Now 4 months postpartum and it's coming out in clumps. Clogged drains indeed.

Last night I was trying to get my little lady to sleep, but she screamed every time I put her down. I was getting so frustrated. In that moment, I reminded myself that this is only temporary, and that all too soon, she will want little to do with my hugs and kisses and snuggles. So I picked her up and held her on my shoulder and soaked in the sweetness of the moment.

Of course I'm not supposed to pick her up because then she'll learn to expect that and I need to just let her cry it out because that's what THEY say and I've probably done permanent damage to her and she'll never sleep normally and blah, blah, blah...She still fussed when I put her down, but eventually it got quiet and I went to check on her. And there she was asleep....on her belly. We actually flipped her over (risking waking her up, OMG, nooo!) because the fear of tummy sleeping is so ingrained.

So sorry for the long and rambling post! All that to say I hear you, you're doing great, this too shall pass, and don't ever think for a second that your writing isn't perfect.

jessicapea | 1:00 PM

Like - this is so what four months feels like. Like things should be better now, and they are are, but there not quite there yet. My boy needed me to sleep until 6 months, he would sleep only in my arms until I learned to ignore the advice and place him on his side with a warm wheat bag along his back. And then I lied, yes he sleeps on his back... no I don't feed/rock him to sleep... no he has nothing in his cot apart from safe bedding... on an on

writermom | 1:00 PM

And suddenly I'm reminded of how I spent most of the first year of my third child's life, holding her close and bouncing on an exercise ball. We bounced a million miles. Keep bouncing, dear lady.

Anonymous | 1:06 PM

Thank you. Thank you SO much for writing this. I've missed this way of writing from you. It's this kind of writing that made me start reading your blog in the first place. You are incredible. Absolutely incredible.

Chelsea | 1:10 PM

this also reminded me of girls gone child. I friggin' LOVED that book when I was pregnant and bought copies for all of my girlfriends, pregnant or not because It spoke to me so deeply!

I kind of think that ANYTHING you write or do people will love because of who you are! ;)

I'm totally right there with you. this post describes my life right now in a similar way.

ps, my baby is 5 months old and sleeps on her stomach AND sleeps with the bumper in her crib too. *GASP!* who cares. let them have their opinions. they'll be fine.

LindseyA | 1:12 PM

Gorgeous post. You are a mother of four. You know more about them than anyone. Never forget that. My son has slept on his tummy since he was two months old. He is also formula fed, as was his sister. "He is gaining weight too fast" they said. "I am overfeeding him" they said. "He shouldn't sleep on his tummy" they said. So I gave him less, put him on his back and he cried a cry like I have never heard before. A cry so loud it shocked me back into reality. My reality....where he eats until he is full and sleeps through the night, on his tummy, at five months old. Your doing everything right

margosita | 1:12 PM

No time spent writing is wasted. No matter how you feel about the draft at the end of it.

I believe this and I have to try really hard to believe it and remind myself over and over and over. But sometimes believing is the only thing that keeps me in the chair.

Natalie | 1:19 PM

As always, thank you for writing so honestly. I've visited your blog every day for the past 4 years because I know that I can always expect to find something unexpected.

It feels ridiculous to say I can relate, because I have two little ones instead of four, but I can. I'm an army wife with a 3 year old and a 10-month old. It's all me, all the time. Sometimes the only thing I want is silence. Like you, I got married and became a mother unexpectedly. It has been life-changing and beautiful, but most of all, overwhelming. I am constantly terrified by how much love and attention are demanded from me- and according to the professionals, I shouldnt feel this way at all. Instead I should feel blissed out of my mind on all occasions, or at least savvy enough to fake it when I'm feeling on the edge. Truth is, I revel in quiet. I'm a very shy person who enjoys being alone, being able to think freely without interruption. At times it can be so difficult to remember that I'm supposed to be enjoying this, that one day I'm going to miss these loud moments, but I know that I do and I will.

On the practical side, one thing I can share, that I recently stumbled upon, is noise-cancelling headphones. Music is the ultimate weapon against stress and anxiety for me. When my little guy is refusing to sleep and wants nothing but to be held, I slip on my headphones, rock him back and forth in the only way that will soothe him, and sing some of my favorite songs. The headphones block out his crying/screaming and my singing (although terrible) soothes him after 1-2 songs. If nothing else it makes me feel more relaxed and in control of my emotions.

Hope you are able to quiet the outside voices and find some inner peace soon.

Heathrow's World | 1:20 PM

All you need to do is trust yourself. Thats it.

robyn L. | 1:38 PM

You're awesome, Rebecca. I love how you write.

Side note: My 17-month-old daughter kept taking your book off my shelf. She'd see the picture on the binding, exclaim, "Baby!", and snatch the book for herself. So, you're popular among at least two demographics in my home. ;)

Tanya | 1:41 PM

Thank you for this. Maybe that's strange to say, but thank you.

Tanya | 1:41 PM
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather Bauer | 1:43 PM

Beautiful post! Seriously...I might read this everyday.

Thank you for having the courage to type "my babies sleep on their tummies". This is the only way my six-week-old will sleep and I'm terrified of admitting it to anyone for fear of reprimand. You've given me more courage. Thank you!

flyrish | 1:52 PM

As I was reading this, I could hear my 3 year old playing in his crib (yes, still in a crib; f@#$ the parenting police) when he's supposed to be napping. I feel like I'm always waiting for the quiet. Thank you for so eloquently voicing what many of us are feeling as moms. I'm a big fan of your writing, regardless of how much unfinished work you have.

Anonymous | 1:53 PM

I think we are encouraged to always have our heads and our minds filled with noise so that we never discover the peace that can be found in silence. That is where the divine resides for me--in the silence.

About your hair: I have a daughter (she's 20) whose hair started coming out in globs over the summer. We were able to turn things around by supplementing her diet with iron, biotin and I bought her biotin shampoo and conditioner from GNC. It took a couple of months of taking supplements religiously, but her hair stopped falling out and is now as thick as ever. I've also heard that MSM is good for hair, so you might want to look into that as well.

I love your blog and your children are delightful. I recognize in your writing the fatigue of having lots of little kids all at the same time and I know how difficult it is. And even though I am sure you have heard this a million times before (just as I had), there will come a time when you will not believe where the time went. I wish I had lived more in the moment when my children were little. That's my one big regret. It's all we really have but I did not know that at the time.

Karen

Mary O | 1:58 PM

My dirty little secret is that all three of my kids (ages 2,4,6) slept on their tummies from about 3 weeks on. And I lied about it to the dr. too. The fact of the matter is that most babies just sleep better on their tummies. I hate all the shame around it.

I had three babies (singletons) in 3 1/2 years and there were times that I thought I was in hell. Because it seemed like they were always crying, always needing something from me RIGHT NOW. But it got better for me, and it will for you too.

evejolie | 2:01 PM

thank you for writing this.

I have a three year old daughter and twins baby girls who are 5 months. I feel like I'm drowning a lot. Reading this made me feel a bit better in this moment.

tlh | 2:10 PM

i just love u so much. i think one of the many reasons u are so loved on this blog and have so many followers is bc ur the best friend everyone wants so bad. at least i do. i love ur honesty the most. i love that u write what so many of us are thinking. love love love.

Kris | 2:13 PM

You will be okay. Just remember to keep breathing, keep moving, keep living.

And stop worrying about what "they" say, especially when it comes to your children. Everyone reads so much into the so-called parenting experts, that they've completely lost their maternal instincts. I so agree with you. Turn down the noise.

Anonymous | 2:16 PM

I would give almost anything to be where you are now-my youngest is 18 and her brother and sister are 22 and 20-it is so quiet now I can barely stand it.

samantha | 3:11 PM

Thank you for posting this.

Thank you for having the courage to tell the internets and EVERYONE that your kids sleep on their tummies. So did mine, from almost the beginning. I was always told to let my babes do what they will, that it would be better in the long run. I did, and it has been.

Motherhood hasn't been easy for me - and I know that's not really "easy" for anyone - but for me, it has been a soul-suck. Both of my pregnancies were accidental (despite precautions), and to say that I was unprepared would be a huge understatement. I try to find the joy in the moment, and the quiet, too, but that's hard. Since mine are 6 and 3, they've begun spending more time together, and less wrapped around my legs and I'm able to steal some moments here and there. Now that they are older, I can ask for quiet time and usually I'll get it. Because it's so hard for me, I try to see my blessings daily and to be intentional about a lot of things - patience, mostly. I have these kids for a reason, so I should probably start living up to those expectations, regardless of how I feel about parenthood.
You have great parenting skills (Archer and Fable are definitely proof of that), so listen to your own instincts and disregard the experts. I'm sure that our parents and grandparents did their own thing, and we've all managed to turn out fine. I refuse to allow society to dictate how I'm gonna rear my babies-to-kids-to-teens-to-adults. The world is scary enough to navigate.

And in regards to your writing, it is emotional and heart-wrenching and thought provoking every.single.time. You are amazing, seriously. I have read your book so many times that the bindings are coming undone. "Dog-eared" is a bit of an understatement.

Thank you, again, for posting this. The quiet will come when you least expect it.

Abbey | 3:13 PM

My son wasn't put down for nearly a year. He hated the carseat, the swing, the bouncy chair, the pacifier...everything a baby is "supposed" to like, he hated. I am not exaggerating when I say the constant noise and sleep deprivation caused some form of post-traumatic stress disorder. Every time he cries I still have a small moment of panic that constricts my chest. But it did get better and he's now a very independent 2 year old, and his cries were replaced with nearly constant words. My life is now narrated by this peculiar and repetitive preschool language, which is both precious and weird to hear ("Mommy go potty, Mommy drive car, Mommy clean dishes..." it's just wacky to have a narrator for your every move, especially a 2 year old narrator). His 5 week old sister is so quiet (by comparison) that I always check her car seat ten times to make sure I haven't forgotten her. You'd think that pregnancy is the biggest thing to compromise your autonomy, but a baby, especially a baby that needs to be held at all times, makes pregnancy seem like a solo vacation.
It took me a long time and a lot of tears to learn that babies are humans, not machines for which one algorithm will work for them all. I'm happy you seem to have learned that earlier than I did.

Anonymous | 3:17 PM

Best post you've ever written.
- M

Katie Richins | 3:25 PM

THIS is writing. This is real. Nothing more to say than that.

McConnels | 3:32 PM

I loved this. I feel like this so often. Kids are noisy. Husbands, sometimes noisier. I am the wierd one because I have to ask to just turn everything off.

Little Gray Pixel | 3:38 PM

Yep. Love this post. Love the sentiments. Love the Kerouac-ian stream-of-consciousness.

Molly | 3:59 PM

I love this post. Keep writing.

MSH | 4:06 PM

Wow, this is so good. Thank you.

Ahhh Mom | 4:28 PM

I'm a new reader. This ... was ... beautiful...

Anonymous | 4:32 PM

Oddly, while reading this my house hushed. The baby slept (on his tummy), the older two played peacefully together, the phone didn't ring.
Thank you for this rare moment of silence with reflection.

Anonymous | 4:49 PM

You rock. My four year old was so hard and only I soothed him. It was so awful and beautiful. You are a great writer and fantastic mom. Hang in there. You are #1 for a very good reason.

Anonymous | 4:53 PM

I don't have any children and the world is still too loud for me... it's as though others equate breathing with talking/bellowing.

I silently nod a thank you for your lovely post.

Karen

Kim | 4:55 PM

Oh, my God, you are my brain.

Be proud you wrote this down. I have the thoughs and think them and say them and never write them. Or I start to write them and then do laundry, or the bed calls. You WROTE A SCRIPT AND also GOT. IT. MADE. Who cares how they f*ed it up? You did all this BEFORE YOU WERE 30!!!!!!!!!!!

Be proud of every word. Every step takes you forward.

You are brave. So. Brave.

Angela | 4:56 PM

Rebecca, i just wanted to let you know that i like you, I really really like you. We are nothing alike, but i can relate to way too many of your posts. I know you are in the trenches of motherhood, but at least your children are close in age and one day sooner than you think you might even be able to go out on a date with your husband. I'm 41 and my five children range from 8 months to 21. Uhh, yeah.

Emily Frame | 4:58 PM

move over allen ginsberg - rebecca woolf is here.

my 6 month old is a stomach sleeper and always has been. you know what? he sleeps like a log and he's got the strongest back and neck you've ever seen and he'll probably crawl before all y'all. (what i tell my friends when they look at me terrifiedly.)

Brianne | 5:05 PM

Noticeable hair loss between 4 and 5 months pp both times for me, and I have a lot of hair. It will pass, as will, I'm sure, B's wanting only you. But I know. It's hard. It's still hard.. and I only have two, ages almost 4 and 15 months. The almost 4 year old was by far the more difficult, 'needier' infant, but now I see that responding to that difficulty may be paying off in other ways, vs. the 15 month old, who was a quieter, sleepier, infant, who I fear will give us a run for our money once she reaches 2. (At which point hubby will be deployed and it will be just me, ta-dah!) So, you know, I think often it's all about trade-offs. Like you said. Everything is temporary.

Gina | 5:58 PM

Beautiful

Lindsay Kavet | 6:13 PM

I'm in a similar boat, maybe we all are. I don't think we have evolved enough as humans to keep up with this frantic pace of life. Driving all over with kids. It's too much and we are so isolated. Not living by our mothers, unable to pay for help or too riddled with guilt/ego to pay for help. I think in 30 years or so we will look back with clarity and see how it was just all too much. LA is so frantic on its own. I hear ya sister.

sslicka | 6:22 PM

dont really know what to say but this meant alot to me!! Thanks youxoxo

Kyra | 6:26 PM

I needed this post. So much. Just now. Perfect timing. I don't have a screaming baby. I don't have twins. I only have one child, a toddler. And I needed to read this so much. It made me cry. Thank you.

Anonymous | 6:33 PM

I remember too well the feelings you're describing. My son never slept--NEVER--the entire first two years of his life unless he was in my arms. We co-slept because it was the only way any of us got any rest, and then we paid for the co-sleeping with a miserable three months when it was time for him to sleep in his own bed. But it passed. It all passed. He's five now, and tonight I read to him, put him into bed, gave him his flashlight and a book, and left the room. When I went back to check on him in fifteen minutes, he was asleep with the book open over his chest. If only I could have seen tonight's vision of him during those long nights when he was an infant... As it was, there were times when I thought I'd never sleep more than an hour at a stretch again, I'd never feel like a clear-headed person again. But it passed. Everything does. And I think there's some comfort in that.

NoTrustFund | 6:50 PM

I had baby girl #2 right around when your twins were born. It's so great to read about everything you are going through- the post partum body, the post partum hair loss, the post partum beautiful baby. Thank you!

Kelly | 6:53 PM

As a mom of seven-month-old triplets, I hear you. All I have to offer is this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVa9uLodTtQ

I cry every time I hear it but in a good way.

BLH | 7:00 PM

This is truly the best blog post I have ever read.

Cat | 7:34 PM

Keep whispering, girlfriend. It turns into some beautiful prose, I loved this post.

Anonymous | 7:35 PM

I have a Baby Bo too (in temperament, not in name). Your blog posts comfort me b/c Bo is a twin and she experienced the same first environment Rev did and yet came to a different conclusion. Maybe my Baby Bo's temperament is not somehow my fault. Maybe it'll all be okay. Thank you for being so candid and such a wonderful mother and writer. :)

Samantha | 8:08 PM

Holy shit, Rebecca. This is an incredible piece. The soul-sucking of twin newborns (plus the others) is so intense. Keep noticing the quiet, it will keep you sane. And your hair will be fine, too, once your hormones stabilize.

Kerry | 8:10 PM

Vasectomies are the best inventions ever. The second best invention is the Angel Care baby monitor: it sits under the crib mattress and monitors the baby's movement. An alarm goes off if the sensor doesn't sense the baby moving. I know this would mean that you'd have to put the babies to sleep in separate spaces, but maybe it would be some peace of mind?

Jaim | 8:25 PM

Hang in there mama! Amazing thoughts and lovely writing, as always.

Dahnks | 8:26 PM

my favorite post of yours yet... poetic.

bbgHappY1 | 8:36 PM

I will pass on this famous quote heard over and over again in our household,

"this too shall pass"

- words that my family and I live by.

KateFitz | 9:07 PM

sigh...pretty and timely. I needed this sitting here pregnant with my toddler both of us having colds. He's wanted to be held all day...both of us achy and miserable. I thought I was going to scream it was so claustrophobic. But he was just wanting his Mama to help him...same way I wanted my Mama to sweep in and take care of me today.

Ack..my hormones are making me tear up thinking about all the mothering love it takes to care for these little lives. Alright I'm gonna research baby names and shot gun this OJ.

Anonymous | 9:38 PM

That was truly a stunningly written post. Gorgeous. As for content, you are the definition of grace under fire. Truly, I've never witnessed someone parent so effortlessly.

katsalem | 9:46 PM

Even though I only have 2 boys, I can SO relate to this post. My 20 month old still wants to be carried almost everywhere and under no circumstances am I to leave his sight, under threat of a massive tantrum. Music seems to work to calm everyone's nerves most of the time, and when it doesn't I either lose it and scream at the top of MY lungs (great release, not so great leading-by-example) or completely zone out. Like many commenters here, I have to keep reminding myself that this too shall pass.

Also, I'm 100% in camp vasectomy. My mom made my dad get one after having six kids, saying it was his turn to take on some of the bc responsibility. Could not agree more.

Lastly, I have to tell you how much I admire you, flaws and all--you are not a robot(!)--for all you've accomplished thus far. I'm 31 and haven't done half of what I set out to do ten years ago. So bravo for having the cajones and determination to just go for it!
xoxo,
long-time reader, some-time commenter

p.s.
I also agree with Lindsay, who said we haven't evolved quite as fast as the world around us. I would give anything to have my family less than a 24 hr drive away. Independence and self-reliance, when you become a mother, are not all they're cracked up to be.

Anonymous | 3:11 AM

Bec,This IS your story.

Your words happen while your busy thinking about writing other words.

treefrog | 4:05 AM

I really liked this post. I feel like this a lot when I'm in the city or go out in town somewhere and all the radios, televisions, karaokes, etcetera are just all too loud. I want to be able to hear things not just within my heart and beneath the sand or sprawling grasslands. Sometimes I wonder why society is set up in a way that people all try to shut off the quiet. We need the peace so we can go within and also just enjoy things we wouldn't ever be able to enjoy if we were too focused on the outside. Let's not be afraid to go against the odds. :)

erin | 4:17 AM

in the noise or in the silence i hope you hear us: you are incredible and talented and the universe is more beautiful because of your words and your children. thank you.

Maille K | 5:06 AM

When all the babies are asleep, and no one is screaming, and no broadcasts of any kind are assaulting your attention: lock yourself for ten minutes in any room of the house with, 'I'm going away for ten minutes'. Then, get into child pose. breathe in as much as you can, all crunched up like that, like you always are, all the time. Stay there, don't move, don't think. Just go back to the purest form of yourself you can remember, and hang out there for awhile.

Wendy Turner | 5:18 AM

Rebecca I love your blog - everything you write is so refreshing and honest and beautiful.

I just finished reading your book and absolutely devoured it.

Thank you so much for sharing your life with us.

Kate of zmombie.com | 5:32 AM

That was so moving. Thank you.

Anonymous | 5:37 AM

Bec-
I have been reading you for years and this may be the 1st comment i have left. I love your writing, no matter what you have to say. This post left me worried for you. Can your mom come back and stay with you for a while? Yes, this time in your life is temporary, but it is hard to see that and feel it while you are in it. I wish I were as eloquent as you, but to put it simply, you need a break, girl.

Tami in NY | 6:13 AM

Wow!

The Cribkeeper | 6:26 AM

I can totally relate to this post. After the birth of my 3rd daughter a year ago, everything just kind of got to be too much, too loud, too....everything. Some days, with everyone yelling and needing things all at once, when we're at the grocery and I just need to get one more thing, but the older girls are running around and touching everything and arguing about what side of the cart they're going to stand on and the baby won't stop throwing her shoes or her pacifier while she screams and screams....I feel this little fire in my chest, and my head feels tight inside, like a trapped scream. But we don't scream, we just go on with it, don't we? Because that's just what you have to do. My Rachel is like your Bo. She must be carried at all times and when I do put her down, she crawls after me and tugs at my pant legs, crying. So I quiet her with piles of Cheerios. I'm afraid she might weigh 300 lbs. by the time she's 3. Thank God she's not gluten intolerant. Anyway....thanks for this post. Good to know someone else feels the noise and the needing is just too much sometimes.

p.s. my hair just started growing back, after an entire year. and now I have a mustache. bonus! thank you, fucked up hormones!

Alison | 6:29 AM

My twin girls (now age 3) slept on their stomachs from the second I figured out that is the only way they would sleep. When they are playing with their babies, the only way they ever lay the dolls down is on their tummy. You are doing a great job with your beautiful family!

Mar | 7:20 AM

Everyone needs quiet, I think its a requirement for keeping your sanity. Its true, everyone writes about bold, defining moments, sometimes reading about the quiet ones, reminds me that its too loud around me...thanks!

Jennifer L. | 7:48 AM

I love your ability to capture your emotions and leave it all out there for others to identify with. I have these moments daily with my 4 month old son. I am sitting here in my pajamas, my falling out hair twisted into a topknot, wearing the same pajamas for the third day in a row. W are both crying. And he sleeps in bed with my husband and me" in the middle, under covers, head propped on pillow. Bliss.

Anonymous | 8:08 AM

Your writing and photographs are beautiful...

As many previous commenters have said, this will pass. I was you 12 years ago and each life phase is so short (but seems endless at the time) that you will look back on this time and miss it so.

Just remember that medical wisdom changes over time and what is now the "right" way to do something will not be so in the next generation.

You always seem to do the right thing, probably from having such great parents and a great partner, so keep moving on and have that big picture (and your Stephen) in your sites.

Janae | 8:29 AM

I also have bras hanging on the bathroom doorknob (somehow I thought I was the only one who did that?). I, too, also write things and throw them away. Good luck with your babies; they are all really adorable.

Marquesa Jen | 8:44 AM

Thanks for your honestly :)
It is true that we are our own harshest critic and just writing here or anywhere everyday tells me that you are confident, but don't beat yourself up about it. I know it's different, blogging vs. stories, but even if you aren't happy with a story until you're 60, it will be worth it perhaps.

Elizabeth | 8:50 AM

Beautiful. This is why the internet connects people...I never put these thoughts to paper or even voice and yet, here they are, written by a woman I never met in warm California while I feel the same way in cold Minnesota.

Thank you.

wren | 8:56 AM

As a mother of three, including year-old twins, I share so many of these feelings. So thank you for laying them out in the daylight.

But I also admit to feeling a bit concerned, and saddened, by some of the conversation around sleep practices and parents' responses to the 'back to sleep' recommendations.

Pediatricians (& CDC, AAP, etc.) don't advise parents to use safe-sleep practices because they're Ivy League know-it-alls who want to shame parents. They are trying to save kids, and they are succeeding at it.

Before the "back to sleep" campaign, SIDS deaths topped 4,000 children per year. Since the campaign, it's half that, and would likely be lower if safe-sleep practices were more widely followed. That's not Ivy League abstraction. That's 2,000 babies every year who are alive, and loved, and thriving. 2,000 families who are not grieving.

Yes, many babies sleep better on their stomachs, and yes, most babies will be perfectly fine. As we currently understand it, some babies are neurologically at risk for SIDS, and safe-sleep practices help reduce their risk. The key problem is that we can't yet identify who is at increased risk. So pediatricians, I think wisely, recommend safe-sleep practices for all infants.

As parents, we make judgments and risk assessments all the time. This is just one more of those times. Nobody's out to make life harder for your family with some new arbitrary "rule". Pay your pediatrician (and health researchers) the respect of acknowledging the very real outcome of some 40,000 infant lives saved by 'back to sleep'.

And for heaven's sake, don't lie to your pediatricians. They can't properly care for your child if you're not honest with them.

Warrior Woman | 8:56 AM

Did I see the "V" word. Would love to hear more on that.

Erin @ Wild Whispers | 9:15 AM

Beautiful, Rebecca. My husband is taking me for a night away tomorrow. I am so desperate for quiet that I will take it one sixteen hour chunk at a time. It might, with any luck, turn into twenty four. And then I will duck back into the fray and stay firmly rooted in this life I love.

Hang in there. Savor the silence when it comes. And love that little girl to pieces. One day, she will soar and not need you and you will wish she were still beside you. Much love... E

Kim: | 9:31 AM

I didn't click "like," but this might be my favorite of your posts.

Christina @busybmommy | 9:37 AM

I found Anna Quindlen's essay when I was 20 years old and 6 months pregnant with a surprise baby.

I can't find the original source so here it is on someone else's blog:

http://www.thecotas.com/2005/01/on-being-mom-by-anna-quindlen/

(back then I had printed a hard copy. gasp.)

It meant something then...it means something so much more now.

My surprise baby is almost 8. And his brother almost 4.

Everything is absurd. And temporary.

Love to you and yours as you navigate the anxiety and bliss.

Barbara | 9:42 AM

You are doing great. I repeat: you are doing great. My "baby" just turned 13. I now have a 13 year old and an almost 16 year old. I'm sitting in my very quiet home office right now, with my dog at my feet. This afternoon, the "noise" will arrive when the girls come home. But it's happy noise. Inquisitive noise. Frustrated noise. Or, I admit, snippy noise (at each other). But the love you're cultivating now will pay off tremendously. And the chaos will subside... sort of. The worries are different now ~ and, with the benefit of hindsight I now realize, bigger than ever. But we laugh more than ever at our kids' burgeoning wit. We celebrate their occasional spontaneous thoughtfulness. Their generosity. And we share stories of colic and stubbornness and charisma and anxiety and fearlessness from the years they were tiny. These are stories they love... even the ones about imperfection. So rock on. You're doing great.

Bobbie | 10:01 AM

Thank you for this post! This is how I feel almost every evening upon returning home to my family after work. Quiet into chaos. Although some days, I go from chaos into chaos, and that's when the longing for quiet is the strongest. Utter bliss would be two sleeping babies, a sleeping 5-year old, and relaxing in the arms of the man I love while listening to soft, classical music - not dreading going to sleep and waking up to yet another day of chaos. But alas, that is post partum's effect on me - feeling overly needed and completely inadequate at the same time, and yes, my hair is falling out too. I find myself sounding somewhat similar to the Little Engine that Could, "I can do this, I can do this..." The trick is really believing that I can. It's very comforting to know that other mothers out there may be struggling too and that I'm not alone. Thank you for being brave enough to share with us.

Anonymous | 10:19 AM

We have three kids and I'm only 31. I'm in University right now and my husband works and we both feel pushed to the limit trying to be there for the kids we have while keeping the house clean and the cupboards stocked and all the other balls in the air. Though I sometimes feel wistful about another pregancy we both know it would kill us. I was so worried about the idea of worrying about getting pregnant for the next 20 years! My husband is a hypochondriac and was petrified and absolutely against a vasectomy for lots of reasons. Eventually we talked and talked and he talked with other men and he came around to the realization that this was the best choice. After months of stress, worry and fear he spent 20 minutes in the doctor's office and then 2 days wearing a jock (!) and then we never had to worry about it again. I know you've probably heard lots of people tell stories like this and probably read lots of horror stories on the internet. It was the solution for us. Now at least that one worry is now quiet. Nothing else is!

clueless but hopeful mama | 10:22 AM

BAM. I feel like this post came with its own set of fireworks. They exploded, beautifully, right before my eyes.

Clare | 10:36 AM

I can relate to the screaming. My second child cried so much in her first year, would scream until her nose bled and there was nothing we could do to soothe her. I carried and held her all day long. She got better after some cranial chiropractic manipulation and the lovely, sensible chiropractor suggested she sleep on her side (propped by rolled up towels). She stopped screaming altogether eventually and you wouldn't believe the amazing 6 year she is now (and not high needs, demanding or any other high maintenance). Hang in there, parental instinct is everything.

Anonymous | 11:21 AM

So gorgeously written. You are a true talent Rebecca - have faith in yourself on all fronts. You are a beautiful mother, profoundly mindful of the individual needs of each of your children. And the writing - well, that's just breathtaking...

Laura | 11:26 AM

You're truly a poet.

B & A's Mommy | 11:29 AM

I've followed you for a few years and have not yet commented. This post hits so very close to home that I must comment. My 6-month old daughter is attached to me from the moment I walk in the door in the evenings until the moment I sneak out the door in the mornings. Last night (read: 4:30am) she was too tired to fall asleep and this mommy had to work early. I decided to tell my darling husband to take over. After 10 mins of her screaming and reaching for me, I gave in and reattached her to my neck. Screaming instantly stopped. The split emotional feeling of loving that I'm wanted over her daddy and dreading the fact that I'm WANTED over her daddy had me in tears.

I remember when my son (now 8yrs old) was at this stage and I thought it would never end. I now miss the days where I was his entire world. He remembers I exist when it is convenient for him. :(

I am trying to remain patient with the baby, but times like this are definitely wearing on the nerves!
Anyway, thank you for posting this. It reminds me that I am not alone and that it is OKAY to feel stressed & blessed at the same time.

P.S. Please keep writing, you are needed & appreciated!

P.S.S. My husband isn't even allowed to sit by me on the couch. He gets the chair. ;)

ivy | 1:47 PM

It is going to be ok. I'm sorry to say that, its so annoying, but it really will. Slowly things will come together, probably only one at a time. That is ok.

What's so amazing is that while you are getting your body, sex life, freedom, and sense of order back, you are inspiring so many others with your humor and honesty. It's no wonder you're exhausted, but I hope you are very proud too.

Anonymous | 1:51 PM

I did like this post :)

erinasmommy | 2:45 PM

This is amazing. Amazingly well written. Amazingly true. And amazaingly exactly what I have felt recently. Amen to ya sister. Please keep doing what you do!

Beth | 3:28 PM

You are such a beautiful writer. Whether you always feel it or not, you are truly so talented, and most importantly, so real and vulnerable. And the odd thing about being vulnerable is that it makes us so strong -- such an upside-down world sometimes, isn't it?

As the mother of twins who are not 11, I will tell you that it will get better. Concretely better and easier. I promise.

Keep writing, brave lady.

Beth | 3:29 PM

Crap, I mean that my twins ARE 11 (and their sister almost 14). Apparently the fact that it gets better and easier does not mean that I have become a better typist or proofreader! :)

a little quixotic | 4:21 PM

Rebecca, I have been reading your blog for a while but have never commented. I am not a mother or pregnant - I am in my mid-20s (from New Zealand) at a point where I'm not sure what which way is forward and I love reading your blog because I love the way you write and the way you paint the world through your words. Your perspective and your phrasing constantly inspire. When I am looking for that little push forward to start writing something of my own, I have a read of your blog alongside Janet Frame, Hilary Mantel, Joan Didion ... I hope that deep down you know what a wonderful talent you have and that you continue to share it.

Good luck continuing to find and draw strength from the quiet moments.

EMQ | 6:23 PM

That was so beautifully written. You spoke my heart. Thank you.

Miranda | 6:52 PM

beautiful. every mother can relate, just not put it into words this well. the angst, the joy the love that is life and motherhood. thank you

Anonymous | 9:38 PM

Thank you for writing this down. I've only discovered your blog for about a year now, but it was providential. I have a 3.5 yr old, 22 month old, and 3 month old identical twin girls. I read your blog and feel as if I'm chatting with an old friend about the adventures of motherhood. Thank you for writing it down. Peace.

Rachael Heiner | 9:51 PM

This is so beautiful. I agree with Elaine, this totally reminded me of why I fell in love with your blog in the first place, and was so excited to meet you when you came to Seattle on book tour. Just amazing.

Anonymous | 10:31 PM

I like this post. I hated it when my hair fell out after Max was born. It was incredibly disconcerting. I let my baby sleep on his tummy. He will be One in a few days. You are beautiful and so is your family. Godspeed :)

Mulan | 12:08 AM

I found your blog while night surfing for things like "correctly latching on" or "baby constipation" . looking for answers in the dark really as to why my three week old baby hadn't pooped in three days or why do my breasts still hurt? (he is almost 6 weeks now and they still hurt.) I found it really frustrating that so much advice contradicted itself and always to the point of "YOUR BABY MAY DIE". I felt intensely overwhelmed and anxious about everything and ike it would be a really long time before I felt the golden moments of parenthood. A bit dark I know... But then I found your blog just before new years and you summed up your year with the twins and everything and I felt really comforted.

I feel like I have found a circle of support (the comments and other moms are also part of the freatness) that really comforts me and confirms that things are going to be amazing! And this fleeting moment of intensity, insecurity and uncertainty will pass...I should even cherish it as it will be a romanticised memory too soon.

So thank you. I have never been a blog reader before but I'm addicted now. It's the comfort and inspiration I crave while night feeding. (No more articles on "how to get a good latch"). I no longer feel like I'm the only one on baby island dealing with all these worries and doubts.

Thanks so much!

geralyn broder murray | 7:13 AM

Beautiful writing. Simply beautiful.

Desiree Eaglin | 8:49 PM

You have trillions of comments on this post and although you may just skim this one that I've written-I wanted to say thank you. It's so easy to get wrapped up in the noise. This was touching. Thank you.

kdk | 12:16 AM

Beautiful post. My daughter was just like Boheme. It's comforting to me to read how different your daughters are. I used to always blame myself: I ran to her the minute she fussed, I breastfed her constantly, I used the swing too much. But you know, some babies just crave your touch. Let's hope they love us this much always. Mine is almost three and every time I leave she says "Mommy I was really missing you." Breaks my heart.

Blaire | 7:24 PM

It gets better. I promise. My twins are 7 months tomorrow and I never thought I would have a second to myself ever again. Somehow it happens. Love from one twin mom to another...

sel | 11:18 PM

Wow I so relate. I have three kids, age 3 and under. I love what you wrote about the months going by faster than days. So true. And everyone needing something ... and the noise.

Something that has helped me is knowing it won't be this way for very long.

Lotsa love x

Mo | 2:28 AM

And the ad running right next to this post as I read it (at 5:26 AM, for no reason awake but reveling in the rare quiet)-
"The Best Way to Bathe YOUR Baby!!"
Irony.

*love*

For good or ill, this season will pass.

Anonymous | 6:48 AM

your words fill me up and make me feel good. i have twins, but only twins. they are 3 and a half now. sometimes i can't breathe. or think or feel or understand anything. and sometimes i knock it out like a rockstar and feel like the luckliest woman alive. i'd like to write about it one day too.
there's a legit herbal product available now to help with the hair. probably lame of me to add this along with my heartfelt comments about your writing, but I'm a product junkie and also went through the hair loss thing and it freaked me out and if i were you i'd want to know.
it starts with a V...google it.

Alex | 9:43 AM

beautiful post!

Janice | 10:07 AM

I remember this feeling. It isn't so overwhelming now that my twins are almost 3, but I didn't have 2 other kids and I just can't imagine. You are doing it. Everyday is another day you survived. I remember meeting other twin moms that had twin older than mine and telling them "you survived!" I knew I would survive infant twins and will survive toddler twins and motherhood in general but sometimes it feels like it might be possible NOT to survive it. Kinda like when you have really bad allergies and you think you might die from sneezing. But has anyone ever really died from sneezing too much?
What great therapy we have though, right? Being able to write about these experiences and have other identify with us? Amazing, right? It really helps with that "I am SO alone in this feeling!" Even though it is obvious that we are not alone - we have husbands and mothers that are there helping - but you know what I'm talking about. Mothers are the ones that are really "in the thick of it". The one that baby must be strapped to....
Anyways, I FEEL YOU. I'll be quite now because I'm sure your eyes could use the rest...

christine | 11:03 AM

I love this post. We also had a screamer. From birth til 6 months. He is now a very clever, sensitive 2 year old. You mentioned once that you had two boys names in your back pocket for Boheme and Reverie. Would you consider sharing them? I adore all your kid's names. My son is Winn Hugo. We are expecting another baby and are stumped for boys names!!

No Mommy Brain | 7:13 PM

my son finn was (is) a lot like bo. he's 18 months now and very happy-go-lucky but for the first 4ish he screamed constantly. the other night he woke up screaming (less common now but still with the intensity of his newborn days) and i held him to me whispering, "it's okay, you're okay..." until I realized it only made him scream more. it was as if he was saying, "i'm NOT okay! can't you hear me?" so i started saying, "finny's sad/scared/hurt..." anything i could think that might be bothering him. he INSTANTLY stopped crying and i laid him back down and he went right to sleep. i wondered, what if i had tried that instead of spending all those months rocking and hushing and telling him it's okay? sometimes, i guess, we just want to be heard.

Christy | 8:35 AM

There's always one in the bunch. I've been a nanny for twins and triplets and there's always one!!! It gets easier.

The Best of Here | 4:58 PM

SO appreciate your realness and honesty. I am a new Mom myself and it's nice to hear that others have hard moments- it's a wonderful, HARD, mentally gruelling job, motherhood. Really enjoyed your openness in this post. thank you
p.s. I think you are doing an amazing job and look great post-babies!

Caleb Gardner | 8:09 AM

Love this. Did you read Pico Iyer's reflections on this in the NY Times recently?

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/opinion/sunday/the-joy-of-quiet.html?pagewanted=all

Little Miss Moi | 4:06 PM

I spent my whole first baby thinking that we would 'get there' one day. That everything would suddenly work and be good. Now I realise that we survive by focussing on one day at a time. And then before we know it, we look back and voila - we survived.

I have no idea how you do it. I struggle with two kids - we all have our challenges, and scary situations that rise from the horizon and seem insurmountable, but when we're in the quagmire we don't have time to reflect. Then we turn around and think, "Hey, I survived" and pat our back because we did. And then we prepare for the next challenge. So on and so forth.

You're doing a great job. You go through four months! FOUR MONTHS! if you can survive those four months you can survive anything :) and those beautiful blue eyes will be there, seeing the world a micromilimetre away from they way you do.

Ray | 12:26 AM

Wow. Beautiful and brutally honest.

Life is indeed overwhelming.

We think we need to be everything, and yet: We do not know how to just "be."

Maybe because society has told us to run.

Darice | 1:17 PM

Just stumbled onto your blog and love it. You have a great voice and a style to envy. Keep on.

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