First Night Home

“I think this baby is defective. Why won’t she stop screaming?!”

I cried these words to my husband in the middle of our daughter’s second night on earth. No pregnancy or baby book had fully prepared me for the reality of our first night alone with this tiny human. As the night waned, she cried, I cried, and my husband felt helpless while my mind fell further into hysteria.

My milk wasn’t in yet, so she nursed around the clock, and though I knew this was normal I was not able to see anything but exhaustion and failure. In a panic, I turned to an online forum and vented all of my fears and frustrations and hit refresh until the replies started coming in.

“It’s normal! Hang in there, mama, you’re doing great!”

“She’s helping your milk come in! You’ll be through this soon!” 

“I remember those nights, they were the worst. Give her to your husband and go take a bath, that’s not failure, that’s survival!”

Having my experiences normalized by others who have been in those trenches was a soothing emotional balm. I was still desperately tired, but at least there was reassurance that there was light on the other side of the darkness.

Rhiannon Giles is an overwhelmed mother who only occasionally considers giving her children to the circus. She has a sarcasm problem and writes regularly at To keep up with new posts and see some of her favorites, join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Dino Reichmuth via