I’m a newly single mother and I’m slowly going insane. I feel as if any moment I might crack and go postal.
My son is five months old and hasn’t slept for more than three hours since he was born. I’m exhausted. I can barely keep my eyes open at work, which is bad because I drive a school bus.
To compound everything, I am convinced I’ve got postpartum depression. I talked to my doctor about it. She gave me some medicine, but it hasn’t helped. I’m barely able to function. I’m afraid to even take a sleeping pill to get one good night’s sleep because I’m worried my son could die before I wake up. Of course, when he wakes me up after the only twenty minutes of sleep I’ve gotten in days, I worry that I might kill him myself.
I’m at the end of my rope. Please tell me what I should do.
—Haggard Mom From Hayward
Get a babysitter long enough for you to sleep. If you cannot afford one, seek other solutions. You never mentioned anything about the sperm donor for your offspring—did he run off? Do you know who he is? If so, a simple paternity test can assure you of child support payments, which could be used to hire a sitter.
Do you have family or friends? Perhaps you could convince one of them to take your child for a night to give you a break, and then take a sleep aid. A good night’s rest will make things look much better. In fact, if you have many close friends, ask each of them to do this on a rotating basis. It should help you cope immensely.
If you are unlikeable and without any people who care about you, then perhaps consider giving the baby something to help him sleep. There are many children’s medicines which would not harm the child, but have sleepiness as a side effect. Many of these are available over-the-counter.
Cthulhu may be stating the obvious here, but are you taking your infant to a pediatrician? There are various conditions and problems an infant may have that will cause them to have difficulty sleeping. Some of them are treatable. If you are lucky, your doctor might find a solution that would save your sanity as well as your family bond.
Of course, there is another option if you are simply looking for a way out of the mess your loins have gotten you into. Most states have a law that allows a mother who is in over her head to drop off a baby at a hospital or a fire or police station without fear of repercussions or being arrested for abandonment.
There is also the possibility of giving the child up for adoption. There are many parents who are unable to conceive offspring of their own and are desperate for a chance to raise the unwanted offspring of another. In fact, Cthulhu himself would be more than happy to take this morsel… rather darling child off your hands. Cthulhu can personally guarantee that the child will never want for anything again. And then the two of you will be able to rest in peace, although perhaps in different ways.
My wife and I have been married for six years and we’ve been trying for five of those to have a child. The love of my life has something called endometriosis, which makes it very hard, if not impossible, for her to conceive. We depleted our meager savings to try fertility treatments, all to no avail. A while back we came to the realization that we just weren’t going to be able to have children of our own, so we started to look into adoption.
We’d like to adopt from this country, but our state has some stupid law that the mother of the child has a year to change her mind. I can’t imagine the heartbreak if after 364 days the birth mother decided she’d changed her mind and wanted our baby back. It’d crush me and probably kill my poor wife. We considered adopting from overseas, but I couldn’t believe how expensive it is. We were looking at up to fifty grand, sometimes more. We simply don’t have that kind of money. We barely managed to scrape together five grand after six months of eating peanut butter sandwiches and Ramen noodles.
One way around needing most of the money was to find someone who wanted to give away their baby. Sadly, we’re not the only ones trying this route. The pregnant young girls treat the situation like a reality show and pick the couples with the flashiest cars. We’re not allowed to give them money, but I know for a fact that some of the couples who were chosen gave the girls expensive gifts.
I needed to get around the rich people who were blocking our plays, so I started trolling the seedier parts of town and talking to hookers. I told them if they ever got pregnant, not to have an abortion because my wife and I would be happy to adopt the child.
Next thing you know, I got arrested for prostitution in a sting operation. The girls told me they were working and had to be paid for their time. I wanted to get in their good graces, so I paid in case they got pregnant in the future.
The cops say the charges will stick because I gave the girls money, but all the girls insisted that I paid them just to talk to them. The cops don’t believe them either because that story gets them off the hook too. I told anyone who would listen that I wasn’t trying to have sex with anyone, I was just giving them an option of what to do should they ever get pregnant. Now the District Attorney’s Office is talking about adding baby trafficking to my indictment.
My bail is ten grand, so I can’t even get out. We don’t have that much. I’m sitting in the slammer in a city two hours from home and running through all my vacation days. I’ve only told my wife that I’m trying to figure out a way to get us a child.
I am emailing this to you from jail. We get twenty minutes of computer time every day. I have a public defender that I’m not sure graduated from law school in this country. He certainly doesn’t act like he knows what he’s doing. He told me he was going to try and see if he could plea bargain it down to endangerment of a minor, even though I explained to him there were no actual children involved.
At this point, I’m tempted to defend myself. What should I do?
—Paternally Perturbed Man in Manchester
Truthfully, Cthulhu has never understood the innate need of humans to produce offspring. The instinctual imperative does help to keep the species propagated, but let us continue to be truthful. Humans are so obsessed with procreation that even with birth control, there will be mistakes that happen and more children will be born.
Why just last month, Cthulhu got a letter from a woman with postpartum depression similar to the one above, whose screaming and crying infant was keeping her up at all hours of the night. It was driving her insane. Cthulhu offered her a win-win situation and Cthulhu adopted the child. She now has her life back and I had a wonderful child. You would not believe how plump and sweet the child was, but enough about my dinner and back to your issue.
There is a simple way to get yourself out of jail—simply plead guilty. Unless there is some sort of unusual bid for election to a higher office happening, prostitution stings usually involve a fine and a public shaming in the papers. Offer to plead guilty to the prostitution if they dropped the other charges, pay the few hundred dollar fine and go back home to your wife.
Then before continuing on this mad quest, Cthulhu suggests you take a closer look at the people around you who have small children and see how tired and unhappy they really are. Then look at those with teenagers, especially rebellious ones and see the heartache these offspring are causing their parents. If you look at this logically, you shall realize how much better off you are without children.
If this does not change your mind, simply inform your wife that you are going to try to have an affair with another woman. I know at first this will seem like something she would not want, but then explain to her that you’re only doing it to get the woman pregnant. Then after the child is born, you can sue for shared custody and your wife can help you raise your illegitimate offspring. Admittedly, the best you could hope for to have the child half the time, but is not half a child better than none? Especially if served with a good hollandaise sauce.
Have A Dark Day
Dear Cthulhu welcomes letters and questions at DearCthulhu@dearcthulhu.com. All letters become the property of Dear Cthulhu and may be used in future columns. Dear Cthulhu is a work of fiction and satire and is © and ™ Patrick Thomas. All rights reserved. Anyone foolish enough to follow the advice does so at their own peril. For more Dear Cthulhu get the collections Cthulhu Knows Best; Dear Cthulhu: Have A Dark Day; and Dear Cthulhu: Good Advice For Bad People from Dark Quest Books.