Right now two good friends are celebrating their marriage downtown.

We were there. We arrived during the cocktail hour and stayed for dinner, but as the night wore on the baby girl started getting harder and harder to soothe. Joe took her downstairs and outside a few times. She’d been changed, had a bottle, and was happy off and on but the happy times began losing out to the crying times, and the crying started to turn into screaming. After the first of the speeches, I turned around and Joe was mouthing to me from the back of the room: ‘We have to go!’

She was losing it, quickly, and we needed to get her out of there.

I knew it would happen, it’s been happening every evening, but I thought there might be enough going on around her for her to look at that maybe we could stave it off tonight. Joe told me to go back, he would take her home and come back and pick me up when I was ready. I told him it just wasn’t that simple.

Four months ago I became a mother and there was just no chance that I would be enjoying myself knowing that she was in pain – crying uncontrollably – and I wasn’t at least there. At least trying to soothe her or letting her know that I was there and would always be there.

At the same time, I was incredibly disappointed. Tonight, because of my daughter, I lost the chance to celebrate with two people I care a lot about. I’m mad at her. But then I get mad at myself because it’s not her fault. I get mad at myself because we should have gotten a sitter, but I’m still having trouble thinking of leaving her with anyone but family and we just don’t have any of that here that would be willing to watch her.

Tonight I discovered the guilt that I will wallow in for the rest of her lifetime every time something goes not quite right for either one of us. I could have done something different. I could have done something better. I’m her mommy, I’m supposed to solve the problems and make the hurt go away. I’m a mother, but I’m still a person in my own right, and the balancing act might just kill me.

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