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Hitting the Wall (of sleep deprivation)

So it appears all my friends hit the wall around the same time. Did you?

First you get tripped by a hurdle around the 2 week mark (after baby is born) because all the adrenaline you were running on is out of your system and 14 nights of sleeping in 40 minute to 2 hour shifts (if you’re lucky) has suddenly taken its toll. Then you get tripped up by a lot more hurdles along the way such as nights of endless teething, illnesses, the 4 month sleep regression etc. But if you are one of the unlucky ones whose baby doesn’t sleep through the night in the first 6 months you will thereafter quickly start to lose your sense of humour. 7 months rolls around and you start to think ‘this is not a joke anymore’ and then we hit 8 months and that is where I was not just tripped up by the teething hurdle, I smacked head-first right into the wall! The wall of sleep deprivation. That was it, I had reached the end of my rope. I completely lost it one night after 4 nights of teething.

brick wall

I haven’t slept through the night for 8 god-damn months!! It’s in-humane it’s UNsafe it’s UNrealistic, it’s UNreal, it’s UNbelievable it’s… UNFAIR!!

I feel drugged, I feel like I am walking around in a haze, I don’t feel like myself, or that I am living my real life. I haven’t had an evening in over a year, because I have to go to bed early every single night! I am mum but I am not myself anymore, people have even said to me that it seems like I am not really there, I even got a comment that I am cold and less loving than I used to be – well you know what – that is not helpful coming from someone who gets to sleep. I am in survival mode right now. I have done this before, but last time round my son slept through at 5.5 months, so at this point, when I had an 8 month old baby I was actually enjoying my maternity leave, I could experience it clearly, I was sleeping and though still exhausted from taking care of a baby I was able to get bits of my life back. For now, I don’t have a life!

The worst part about it is that you just don’t know when or if it will get better. In theory you know that 99% of babies do eventually sleep through the night at some point in the first 2 years of life but there is that 1% those horror stories of babies/children that you hear about that never sleep (and we all have a friend or a friend of friend with that child) and in this dark hour you have convinced yourself that you have given birth to that!

Even if your baby is destined to sleep through at some point, you don’t actually know when that might be. It’s not like your due date where you know you will have a baby roughly 2 weeks either side of that date, with sleeping there is no date. It could be tomorrow it could be 5 months from tomorrow. The fact that you don’t know makes it harder to cope with because you don’t know if the end is in sight or not.

sleeping 7 month old baby girl

I think I would rather know that my child won’t sleep until she is 1 year old then have it happen by accident one day when she is c9 months because at least you won’t be lulled. At baby classes instead of asking ‘does she sleep through?’ You would ask ‘what date did you get? 6 months? Really? You lucky thing, I was given 9 months. Yeah I know, never mind, at least I know when it will be’!

Can you imagine that?

Anyway, so if you hit the wall at around this time, or maybe it was earlier or later, it will probably happen at some point, and when it does, like me, have a good cry, go speak to all your mum friends, compare notes, share…I promise you will feel better. And even better maybe bribe you partner to let you have one single solitary night of UNinterrupted sleep, go away, get a babysitter, ask a family member, do something if possible to break up the very long stint, because, we do not know when it will end! But I guess until then, we can take heart in the fact that it will happen at some point, and we just have to hang-on in there, be kind to ourselves, have treats, take breaks where we can, leave the house-work, and do whatever we can to just survive this period of limbo.