When I was pregnant it came as quite a surprise at the amount of women who were very pessimistic about lack of sleep as a result of having a baby. As soon as you told anyone you were pregnant you quite often got a response like “get used to being tired” or “say goodbye to your sleeps”, and I even remember one lady serving me at the shops say “you are going to wish you could shove that baby back up there for a day so you can sleep”.
It was quite disheartening at the amount of tired, grumpy, negative mothers out there I would come across.
So fast forward to now, and I am now a mother to a 7 month old baby. I can talk on the whole sleep subject, as I have gone through the sleepless nights, and that blurry haze they call the first 6 weeks. And to be honest I think some mothers have forgotten how good they have it.
I am a paediatric nurse and have spent many years caring for some of the sickest children. Cancer, blindness, deafness, autism, developmentally delayed, cerebal palsy, and the list goes on. I have spent many hours at work caring for children and their families who are praying for a miracle so they can take their baby home and live a normal life. I have taken care of children that have never been home their whole life. I have taken care of families who have exhausted all their avenues for treatment and have been told to go home and make the most of the last few moments with they will have with their baby before they die.
What I am trying to get at is that sleepless nights come with the territory of motherhood, but what I have done is always try and put it into perspective. I have a happy and healthy little boy who is doing exactly what he is meant to be doing, and the fact he wakes me up for a feed in the middle of the night or wakes up at 6am for play is trivial compared to some of the things I have seen keep mothers up at night in hospital. I often think to myself, who am I to complain about being tired when there are mothers in hospital who have never had the opportunity of taking their baby home! Who am I to complain about being woken in the night, when I have witnessed mothers not sleep a wink because their grief has consumed them. After seeing what I have seen I sometimes feel I have no right to complain.
I guess you can say this is a sensitive issue for me. But I also have to remind myself that it’s all relative. Sometimes when you are in the midst of it all it’s hard to take a step back and appreciate all the wonderful things in your life. Sometimes you do need to just have a moment, and vent and have someone acknowledge that what you are going through is real. I do just sometimes wish I could have a sleep in, or not wake in the night to a crying baby. Everyone copes and deals with situations differently.
Nothing in life is forever, and your baby is not a baby forever. That is always a reassuring thought for me- that this phase he is going through of waking in the night will pass. I have to admit one of my favourite moments of the day is those middle of the night feeds. Because it’s my time of reflection, and a time for me to thank my blessings.