So we all know that when you first find out that you’re pregnant, the first thing you say goodbye to is, sleep! I know this all too well, I waved sleep off like a 1940’s woman with a sailor as a husband did. With the same doubt, and longing. Would it ever come back? Would it still love me?
Well… My sleep went on an 18 month deployment. Not counting the 6 uncomfortable and restless months I endured when I was pregnant. The first 3 weren’t so bad once I got over the vomiting. I got well acquainted with the toilet, and not in the fun drunken way I was used to. That was my old life.
Everyone said to me, “You better sleep while you can!”, like I could back log all my pre baby sleep…
I would always reply with, “Oh you bet I will!”, with a massive roll of my eyes once I turned away.
I was prepared to be sleepless! In fact, I was going to embrace it! You know what I wasn’t prepared for? The dairy farm exhaustion. You know what I’m talking about right? You know those videos the animal activists post, showing the dairy cows going around and around being milked over and over again! Well… That was me… and that is what I called exhaustion. That was tired! The amount of times I’d smash my body into the door way trying to get to the baby before she reaally woke up was ridiculous! It wasn’t just a physical exhaustion it was mental! Veyda had reflux and the way she would cry still haunts me. She had tongue and lip ties at the time which did not help at all. I thought I knew tired, like the tired you feel after a massive night out. Except with those nights you have hilarious stories to tell! I’d just walk into playgroup and we’d all talk about our almost identical sleepless nights while gulping down our 4th coffees before 9am.
That was solidarity.
I expected all of this, sure it was a different kind of tired, but it was kind of manageable once you reached a state of acceptance. It was when I realised it was never going to end… We hit the 6 month mark and some of my friends were rejoicing in the fact that their babies were sleeping through! They were new people! Their bags had started to fade and they suddenly only needed maybe 2 coffees before 9am! IT WAS OUTRAGEOUS! I was still getting up at least 4 times a night, I was hating breast feeding and I couldn’t get her off! I felt so down, and just down right exhausted. We got her tongue and lip tie lasered, which helped with the reflux, which meant Veyda didn’t have lots of air sitting in her tummy. I was promised it would make her sleep… Nope. Sure, the cries weren’t in pain anymore but she just wanted me in general. All. The. Time.
Pretty soon I just learnt to accept that every baby was different and mine just enjoyed taunting me. I made peace with it. Kind of.
That didn’t last long.
Soon more and more babies were sleeping through. We’d hit the 10 month mark. I was dying. Trust me, 10 months of minimal sleep can feel like 10 years. Veyda was still getting up between 2-5 times. I had called sleep consultants in the middle of the night during my weekly mental breakdown, I had read blogs and books. They all told me the same thing… “They sleep through when they’re ready”. All I could think was, WHY AREN’T YOU READY?! I was even more drained because now she was mobile. I couldn’t just cuddle her all day and nap. I had to chase the little Houdini.
I just accepted that this was going to be my life for the next however long it would take until Veyda moved out. Which I hoped would be the following month. I wasn’t so lucky.
When your baby doesn’t sleep, you really start to beat yourself up. You blame yourself and think about everything you could have done differently to solve this problem. You cope during the day because you can surround yourself with friends, there’s always someone to call. But it’s as soon as everyone goes to bed that you just feel so damn alone.
When I was living with my mum while Stuart and I were looking for a house, I’d dread when she would go to bed. I’d try and get her to stay up and watch movies with me, but she worked long hours so that didn’t happen. I would cry, every night right after my mum went to bed. Because I was just so petrified of being alone with myself. I knew that I’d have to get up every 2-3 hours by myself. It was those times in the middle of the night when you’d rethink your decision to have a child. Exhaustion is an incredible thing, it can make you feel so many hateful thoughts. I always have so much empathy for mothers with children that don’t sleep, I think about them when they’re getting up for that 2am feed and I hope that they’re okay. No one ever gets as excited for sunlight as a new mother. Because that means soon they won’t be so alone. Night time fucking sucks when you’re a mum.
Eventually it got better. Eventually.
Fast forward to 16 months old, and soon 3 out of 7 nights she was sleeping through! It was craziness! Fast forward a couple more weeks and now she sleeps through 85% of the time!
I’M A NEW WOMAN!
Is this what everyone was feeling all those months ago?
This euphoric wonderland that was a full nights sleep, had granted me the patience to not murder my child!
It just took time. I’m lucky it happened, I know people still struggling with their 3 year olds.
I value my sleep so much that I’ve decided to not have anymore children! How great is that?!
I just want people to know that yes, losing sleep sucks and yes we can read all we want about how to and what not to do, but at the end of the day… babies will do what ever the hell they want, so relax… “This too shall pass.”