When you have a newborn you are tired and sleep deprived, its part of the journey, its expected, everyone spends the months telling you and preparing you for the fact those first few months are going to be very lacking in sleep. The joy of maternity leave means life can slow down, sleep can happen outside of a routine and if you stay in pyjamas all day it is 100% acceptable.
Fast forward 17 months, life has returned into a near enough normal routine, parents are back working, bed time routines are pretty much nailed and everyone is lulled into a false sense on security after months of full nights sleep. Then wham! it hits you, the sleep regression, teething, the unwell toddler whatever the cause your full nights sleep is very cruelly and suddenly take away.
No one prepares you for this, there hasn’t been the mental prep, there certainly hasn’t been the physical prep as you are already exhausted trying to work, raise a child, run a house and put food on the table! It seems so unfair that you are awake through the night whilst your baby mum friends are sleeping soundly.
This period of lack of sleep seems so much harder than those newborn days, instead of it being seen as part of the journey you find yourself eagerly googling sleep regression, looking for reasons and praying this isn’t the new norm, but that it is a temporary blip.
Tempers flare as you and your partner clash over who should settle the screaming child at 4 in the morning, it becomes a competition for who is the tiredest, who’s job is more important and who survives best on little sleep. Arguments are started over the smallest comment that would go completely unnoticed if you didn’t feel on the brink of insanity.
Those Facebook and Instagram posts about how precious time with your child is and how wonderful it is to be needed even at 4 in the morning make your blood boil. What a terrible mother you must be to resent your child waking and needing a cuddle. But of course you aren’t! Repeat after me… you’re a wonderful mother, you’re just not a super human and are just really in need of some sleep. You find coping strategies, when life has to carry on and you have to wake at that 5.30am alarm and be on the ball for that all important working day, you will do anything to achieve some shut eye. Ours was bringing Devon into sleep with us, but ow wow doesn’t a small child take up a lot of room, so even though sleep was achieved it would often be spent with your bum hanging precariously out of the bed.
After weeks of broken sleep and your eyeballs feeling like they are about to fall out of their sockets, leaving keys in your front door, visiting the same supermarket 4 times on the same day and barely being able to string a sentence together of more than a few syllables, it can honestly be hard to see that the end could potentially be in sight.
Short of calling in a priest to perforce an exorcism you have exhausted all helpful suggestions, but yet life must still go on. You are not a bad parent for dreaming of sleep, for your heart sinking as you hear your child crying in the night. You are just a very tired, exhausted human and in time this will pass and one day those full nights sleep shall return. The only problem with phases is when you are living in that moment it can seem a life time.
So here’s to all the mums and dads who are fighting a loosing battle to achieve a full nights sleep, we feel you, we hear you and we send you all the strength we can that you survive another long day!
Main Image: Jade Alana Photograhy