As a new mom, I have experienced frustration much more frequently than ever before in my life.
It happened a lot at night when Camilla was a newborn. When the night time routine was done, I was tired from the day and looking forward to climbing into bed myself. And then…she would just not settle into sleep. Sometimes it was colic that kept her up, and she was in so much pain that she could not stop screaming no matter what I tried. And it could go on for hours and hours.
At first I would be totally helpless to the feeling of frustration. I was exhausted and sorry for Camilla myself. I resorted to wearing noise canceling headphones while rocking her for hours in the middle of the night until she calmed down. Frustration and helplessness felt really bad, and it only made my tiredness feel worse.
Luckily the colic stopped on its own around two months. But during that time I learned that depending on my attitude, my experience of those moments shifted significantly.
More specifically, when I told myself that something was going terribly wrong and I should be able to calm her, and that I could not go on like this night after night, I added more frustration. I was looking at what was happening through the lense of how I wished things to go, setting expectations that I was not in control of meeting.
The reality was simply that Camilla would experience colic. And yes of course I would do everything I could to help her. Trying different holds, bouncing, singing, medicines, you name it. But in the short term, I could still expect some turbulent nights.
Once I accepted these facts, and surrendered to the experience in a way, my frustration diminished a lot. I was still physically tired, but I didn’t add the emotional heaviness to it.
The same happened the other night, as my oldest and I tested positive for covid, I set myself up for a night of regularly waking up to check her temperature. And I expected baby Camilla to wake up from the noise too. Which is exactly what happened. But because reality was aligned with my expectations I could handle it better than if I had wished for it to be easier.
When things are hard, we can align our expectations and let it be hard. Nothing has gone wrong.