Honest Motherhood: A Hellish Ride

It was a gorgeous sunny Saturday morning. The four of us were on our way to visit friends for lunch, about an hour’s drive away. We hadn’t been on the motorway in a while and the change of scenery itself was a novelty. Music, snacks, and the luxury of a whole weekend ahead. Life was good. Or at least it appeared good from the outside where one couldn’t hear the deafening cries of our baby in the back seat, who was overtired and struggling to drift off. His bawling was relentless. No amount of singing, distraction or calm soothing tones were enough to ease his distress. 

After about twenty minutes of torment Joel swiftly pulled over onto the hard shoulder. This is never a great start to an outing. But the relief. I fed the exhausted baby and for a brief few minutes we could hear our own thoughts. Silence, with only the slightly unsettling hum of cars shooting past at 70mph, inches away. And lorries that made our tiny car sway. I put him back in his seat and the bawling resumed. This time with greater intensity. The poor baby was misled. He thought he was out and free, good to go, only to be imprisoned once more. It went on and on and on. There was no way of pacifying him. I went from excited for the day to pure rage. “Why were we even ON the motorway? Why were we seeing friends again? What was the need? It’s not a necessary journey! No more unnecessary journeys!!” I began googling. Some parents choose to avoid long car journeys because their babies detest their car seats. This made sense. They were prioritising the needs of the child! I voiced my thoughts. A bad idea. 
“Those people are idiots!” Joel replied.
“HOW ARE THEY IDIOTS?!”
“We can’t just avoid long car journeys. He’s alright most of the time!”
“Well we’re not going anywhere unnecessary..”
“That’s ridiculous!”
“How is it ridiculous? CAN YOU NOT HEAR HIM?!”(Still crying, loudly, about half an hour total tears now.) My own waterworks began, silently because I didn’t want my daughter to see. I find the sounds of any baby crying difficult, but not being able to pick up and comfort my own little boy, I found immensely distressing. I wiped away tears and attempted to distract myself, which only made me feel worse because I then felt as though I was deliberately ignoring him. I was losing my mind. This was hell. Joel, to my horror, seemed absolutely fine. There was the occasional sigh and “It’s okay Leo we’re here…”, but no panic, no obvious anxiety of any kind and most definitely no tears. Where were his emotions? It didn’t occur to me he was probably just focused on the road. But then many of my more level-headed thoughts failed to make an appearance. 

“How is he so okay with this?? This is NOT OKAY.” I thought to myself. Of course I took his mostly-silence to mean he didn’t care as much as I did. Why was he not losing his mind like I was? I erupted. 
You’re so heartless!!”
“He’s safe, he’s not in any pain, he’ll be fine…”
he reasonably protested. 
This only angered me more. How could he be so sure? Why is he being so annoyingly rational? He always thinks he’s right! 
“WHAT IF HE PASSES OUT..” A dramatic response from my end. 
“Why would he pass out?”I went quiet at this one, with no logical theories. Hysterical adults faint? Panic attacks cause people to collapse? Could a baby get into such a state they pass out? 
I can’t recall exactly when Leo finally fell asleep, but it was around 50 minutes in. Thanks to both the traffic and bad planning, we were over two hours late for lunch. Happy to note the journey home was a dream.