You’re a parent now, so you expect late sleepless nights. You’re prepared for the all-nighters feeding; you know it’s coming. You listened attentively in all the classes and read all the books. It’s normal. Sure you feel a little more exhausted and a little less patient but all in all, it’s what you signed-up for. You think as they get older and their feeds change so will their sleep pattern.
As time rolls on, the routine changes. There’s more awake time now, and even though you’re a little more exhausted and a little less patient, you push yourself to love every minute of awake time. Sure you feel guilty because you’re secretly counting down until nap time but all things considered, you’re handling it quite well.
As time goes on they’re even more active; tummy time, play time, crying time, 100 nappies, around the clock feeding, less sleep for them and even less sleep for you. You’re more exhausted than ever with barely any patience, and it feels like your day is a marathon, and the finish line is bed time. What you didn’t expect, however, is that after all this, after running your daily marathon – there might not be a finish line. After the rocking, the song, the story, the night light, the comforter and the shusher – there’s no guarantee of a sleeping baby.
As a new parent, I expected to be sleep deprived. I heard many iterations of ‘you can kiss your sleep goodbye,’ and I thought I got it, until the third night of no sleep. Three days is my breaking point; it’s where I come undone. Adrenaline subsides, and I’m pure emotion. Who knew a lack of sleep could break a person.
These aren’t my favourite parenting memories. I yelled, I screamed, I cursed and cried; rocked in a corner and had to walk away because I couldn’t cope. I would ask other parents, and it seemed everyone was having some kind of sleep battle, so I thought, hang in there this is normal, this is parenting (pass the wine). I was comforted by the army of exhausted parents doing their best and that the small percentage of parents who just read a book, sung song and put them down without a bottle,’ were obviously liars.