This past weekend, Zach and I spent an evening watching a Bradley Cooper movie called Limitless. It wasn’t a spectacular film and the ending was all wrong, so don’t take this as a recommendation. Nevertheless, the premise is worth a mention.
The story line follows a fellow named Eddie as a new mind-enhancing drug allows him to transform himself from a greasy-haired sci-fi writer who never writes to a charming, brilliant Wall Street sensation in a matter of days. This renewing of his mind is depicted nicely in the film: his grey, dismal New York City suddenly glows as he becomes able to see, synthesize, and explain everything he glimpses. This drug affects his memory, as well: every latent, subconscious fact becomes available and organized. A word he encountered once twenty years ago is now part of his working vocabulary. He can quote passages from a book he flipped through in a waiting room. If he plays a Rosetta Stone program while he sleeps, he wakes up fluent in Mandarin. Every particle of his brain is active. He assimilates information instantly; he solves the trickiest problems in a matter of seconds.
Watching this character gain such a degree of mental illumination was strangely moving for me. As Eddie realized his intellectual potential by writing a book in 48 hours and making millions in the stock market, all I could think was “Ohh…that’s how it was before I got pregnant!”
And, yes, that’s an exaggeration, but compared with the fog that presently clouds my mind, I was pretty much a genius two years ago. These days, I feel so dull, so slow. It’s a challenge to come up with conversation over dinner. Even planning dinner is a challenge: I have to read through a recipe 4 or 5 times in the process of making a loaf of bread. I had to look up Limitless online because I had already forgotten the main character’s name. Nothing sticks.
This fog and frustration are no doubt caused / exacerbated by the fact that at five and a half months, Sam is still not sleeping through the night. Sure, there have been half a dozen miraculous nights when he didn’t wake up howling, but even then Zach and I would lie in bed wondering if he was still breathing. He was so close at four months, but things have gone downhill lately. This morning, over breakfast a 5am, Zach said he felt like he didn’t get more than 20 minutes of rest together all night. I don’t know how he can handle five preps this year: even teaching part time is a struggle for me.
Naturally, I find myself wondering if I’m ever going to be the sort of calm, confident, capable mother who patiently listens to her infant wail for hours on end. I can’t let Sam cry it out. What’s more, I don’t want to. I hate the idea of my baby alone and unhappy in the dark. But we both need more rest and I don’t know what to do.
Motherhood is wonderful in so many ways, but I long for the energy and mental wherewithal that I’ve lost. Will I ever find it again?