When you first have a baby you are so prepared for the first few weeks of sleepless nights
. You have been told about how often new born babies need feeding and how little they sleep. In those first few weeks the sleep deprivation is insane, your still recovering from an incredible physical trauma and you almost feel like you’re outside of yourself looking in. That period to me is a blur. But it’s ok that it’s a blur because your in the new born bubble, no one expects you to be able to do or think about anything else. Most of us are off work and have friends and family rallying around to help.
Before you know it, that phase is over and real life starts creeping in. At this point, some peoples babies are sleeping through the night. I remember around three months Bobby started sleeping a bit better, dropping feeds and even, one time, he slept through! I thought it was the start of him becoming a good sleeper. It was not. It was just a phase, like everything is. He became a really unpredictable sleeper which is hard because, no matter how good his routine is, I went to bed every night having no idea what I was in for.
Even when he was unpredictable I used to get some goodish nights where I was only up a few times. Yes, you’re standard of ‘good night’ slips when your a mum. It gets better, then he’s teething, it gets better, then he’s poorly, it gets better, then he goes through a sleep regression. That’s where we’re at at the moment, the dreaded 8 month sleep regression. It is brutal. From the moment he goes down to bed we probably have an hour before the wake ups start for the night. I’m lucky right now if I get an hours sleep in a row.
The thing is, we’re not in the new born bubble any more. I have to go to work and get shit done and no one’s bringing me home cooked meals or sending me bath bombs. As always, women just have to get on with it. There are so many of us, walking round like zombies thinking, isn’t this supposed to get easier, not harder? Am I doing something wrong? Why does her baby sleep through and mine doesn’t? There a just so many of us, trying our best to keep on top of things and feeling like we can’t tell people we aren’t because, shouldn’t we be better at this by now?
Sleep is the first thing your told to get more of if your physically or mentally drained. Mums are both of those things and sleep is the one thing that’s impossible. I can’t focus on my work, I feel on edge all the time and I have totally forgotten what it feels like to feel good. Like to wake up in the morning and feel like I don’t have to drag myself through the day. It’s relentless. Lack of sleep can make you feel so lost and distant.
What I’m clinging on to right now is that I’m still managing to find joy in my days. That’s an amazing thing that mums do I think. Search for the good bits and hold on to them to get you through the next difficult bit. But it’s not easy to do that when all you want to do is crawl into a hole most of the time. I’m still managing to get some shit done, and trying to let go of the stuff I can’t do. Trying to preserve my energy to find those good bits rather than stress about the impossible bits. I don’t always manage that though, and some days I’m crying from sheer exhaustion by 9am.
Parenthood is a fucking rollercoaster. And sometimes, no matter how fun rollercoasters are, they make you feel sick.