Kudos to you for going ahead and posting this. I was just saying to my husband this morning how unfair it seems sometimes that we don't get to fully enjoy these babies because we are so dang tired. This is where it would be helpful to live in true community where grandma holds the baby and rocks her for three hours while she takes a nap. :-) What you are describing does sound like you are in the midst of the four month sleep regression. I don't want to add to your fishbowl feeling, but have you tried just laying down with her for naps, and letting her nurse when she wakes up at that 45 minute mark? (And if you aren't tired enough to sleep with her, this is a great time to catch up on your reading!) Nothing's going to help much until she's past the regression, but it might buy you a little sleep, and thus a little more cheerful baby. :-) Also, the bit about people waking her up to ask if there's a baby in there makes me want to bite someone! Anyway, thanks for keepin' it real here, it is an encouragement to the rest of us with little sleepless ones of our own. The sleep thing is just tough for sure, and I agree that there is nothing I have experienced that is as emotionally difficult. I love your blog so much, and I'm so glad you're keeping it going in this next chapter of your life, and Zoe is completely adorable!
#1 MaggieO on 2012-12-11 08:52
Definitely the '4 Month Wakeful' totally normal and NOTHING you are doing wrong Mama. It's so hard physically and emotionally when they won't sleep and you know they need it. Hopefully she works through it soon. Take care.
#2 Erin on 2012-12-11 09:47
I found your blog through the BBC august 2012 baby board, but I never ever comment on that. My baby is 4 months old too and I know exactly how you feel. For the most part he is a smiley, drooley, chubby, joy, but he definitely has his moments of screaming and crying and nothing I can do helps because all he wants is to be with me. I always feel guilty and I always worry about what others will say. I worry that he will be labeled the difficult baby even though his actions are completely normal for an infant. My two sister-in-laws and I all had babies this year and the biggest surprise to me was how sensitive I would be about my baby. I know as new mothers we must grow tough skin, but until we do I just keep telling my self I am doing my 100%, and I am sure you are too.

Also I wanted to tell you, that you are amazing to raise your baby where you are. My husband and I met in Guatemala when we were Peace Corps Volunteers and we always dream of moving back there, but it just seems so much easier to raise our babies near family, So what you are doing takes amazing strength and courage so good job!
#3 Ellen on 2012-12-11 10:38
Thank you for transparency Ali! Thank you for the 1000's of photos and stories you post. I don't get to comment on all the photos or read all the stories, but I see and read many of them. You are frequently lifted in prayer, and our Father knows all that sleepless, frustrated, and nerve-ending moments that you are experiencing. He loves you, and so do a lot of us! Keep on keeping on my friend.
#4 Linda Ziulkowski on 2012-12-11 12:01
God bless you, Mama!

You're doing great. And it does get easier.
#5 Brenda on 2012-12-11 15:00
My eyes have tears in them reading your post. I am so grateful for your honesty. My son is just a little older than your Zoe and I completely understand your frustration... although not completely because I don't live on a ship off the coast of Africa. Being a mother is one of the hardest, most isolating things I've ever been through. But it is also one of the most amazing, God-filled blessings of my entire life. I have never felt more connected to God than I do now.

Right after I had my son, one of my good friends who had also recently had a baby told me something her dad had told her. He said that God is especially gracious and merciful to new mothers. He understands that this is probably the hardest season of life and so he grants mothers extra grace and mercy. I found so much hope in that statement, because in the moments of colic and pacing midnight floors and locking myself in my bathroom to cry while my son screamed in his room I definitely needed [need] extra grace.

I will be praying for you, Phil, and sweet Zoe as you conquer this newest challenge and figure out what is going on with Zoe while living in a fishbowl. Please never stop being honest on here. My tears while reading your post were in relief. After a day with a fussy baby it's so nice to know that someone else also thinks that sometimes this sucks.
#6 Rochelle on 2012-12-11 22:28
Hi Ali

I enjoy reading your blog and think of you often. I'm sorry things are difficult with Zoe.
My friend, Holly, has an excellent support site for parents of fussy babies.
#7 Laurel-Anne on 2012-12-12 01:22
Thank you for being real! I will be praying for you all!
#8 Melissa Clifton on 2012-12-14 11:41
Ali, I've had many moments like you're describing, and I don't live in a fishbowl in a third world country! It IS hard. It also DOES get better. You will sleep again, she will sleep again. Do you what you need to survive. Break your rules if you have to. Don't let ANYONE, including yourself, tell you you're being a bad mom. The fact that all of this is tearing at your heart is proof you are a good Momma. Hang in there. I may not be able to return the awesome baby whispering you gave me with A, but I can pray for you guys. So, prayin'! :-)
#9 beckie on 2012-12-15 12:13
When I saw the photo, I was reminded of what someone told me when my oldest was young: "If they weren't so adorable, we'd be extinct"
#10 Mickey M on 2012-12-16 23:16
For some reason this post just showed up on my reader, and I wanted to chime in with the other moms (for my first comment after reading your blog for several years), that it DOES get easier. In the meantime, it is incredibly difficult and it's okay to feel like that and to not even like being a mom at times and to say so to other people. I have a 9-week old, and my husband and I just started to like her a few weeks ago when she let us sleep through the night and started smiling at us.

Not to add to the fishbowl effect, but if you can get someone to bring you a copy of the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child," it's been a life-saver for us. I now give it as a baby gift at every shower I attend - the author is a pediatrician who's seen just about every sleep problem that exists, and he provides mental support and potential solutions that have been really helpful for us.

Be blessed, and I will pray for you the next time I'm up in the middle of the night with my own babe, even though it will be mid-day for you.
#11 Molly (Homepage) on 2012-12-17 10:56
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