She’s been sent from another planet to destroy me.What the frigging nora am I doing wrong?She must hate me.She wants me to crack.I’m going to crack.I’ve cracked.
Unless you took part in that god awful reality show, Shattered, a few years back, where crazy contestants, Big Brother style tried to stay awake for a week, all in a bid to win a cash prize, I don’t think that anything can prepare you for the sleep deprivation that comes with having a new baby. Until recently, I literally couldn’t remember the last time I’d had three hours of uninterrupted sleep and I was about to crack. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture. It does crazy things to usually chipper minds.
I’ve said it before, (read here if you fancy a catch up) but I never truly believed that the whole lack of sleep issue was as bad as everyone made out. But it blooming well is! I’ve never known anything like it. I thought two weeks in
hell, Malia, with the girls when I was seventeen was exhausting enough. Na. My seventeen year old self had absolutely no idea what sleep deprivation was back then. No amount of fish bowls and foam parties can top the feeling of having a screaming baby in your face all night long for five consecutive months.
It is pure and utter torture. It takes over every inch of your mind, body and soul.
You’re constantly emotional. Everything aches. Your eyes sting. You’re jaw is sore from being so tense and all that shooshing through gritted teeth. Your body feels sore and achey from a night of unrest and feeling like you’ve spent the night on a crappy old coach. Never again will I complain about flying on a budget airline. After the last five months I’ve had, they could stick me in a box with the cargo. As long as it was dark, quiet and uninterrupted, I’d feel like I was flying first class.
During the day you’re left with zero patience for anyone except your little bean, least of all your partner. All those dark hours glancing over them as they lay beside you seemingly enjoying hours and hours of uninterrupted sleep while you’ve had sod all kip doesn’t really leave you wanting to greet them with a smile and a plate of homemade pancakes first thing does it?
“She wasn’t too bad last night was she?” they spritely comment, leaving you biting your fist and resisting socking them one right on the conk.
Even you’re parents are ever so helpful in the sympathy department, “You were worse,” they say. Great! Apologies for the that, but how the heck does that help me now??
You can’t function and that’s the frustrating part. You’ve been kept awake all night long, only to have this beautiful tiny human stare back at you come morning, with a big old gummy smile on its face, excited to share another day full of adventures with you. And there you are struggling to raise your arms, let alone a smile. But somehow you do. You have a good old cry in the shower and then you plod on, because that’s what mummies do.
And of course you never do what everyone says you should do and sleep when the baby sleeps during the day. Something you find even harder to achieve when your little sprog prefers their nap times when you’re driving or pushing them in their pram. If anyone knows how to drive/walk and sleep at the same time, I’d pay good money for that secret.
But on those rare occasions when they do sleep at home, instead of nipping back under the covers yourself, one tends to take these moments to scuttle around frantically putting washing on, sterilising bottles and collecting the piles of dirty nappies. Like a fool, you start mentally listing all the things you’d like to get done whilst they finally sleep. Chances are you never get past number two on your list before they wake. More often than not it’s because you waste a lot of this valuable time running back to check baby is still breathing every five minutes. After all, that is now your sole purpose in life- to keep this tiny human alive.
This “checking” process never wears off. You drop what you’re doing (no task is ever accomplished these days) and rush to where they are snoozing. You begin with the intense stare, waiting for baby’s chest to rise whilst you listen out for those soft in-takes of breath. Check. But that’s not enough, oh no. You go one step further by ever so slightly stroking them to get a wriggle or a sleepy shudder just to confirm that they are in fact, alive and kicking. Check. But now you’re transfixed. A wave of emotions, hormones and stupidity come over you. You made this Sleeping Beauty and you just want to stroke that delicate little head and kiss those silky soft cheeks…oh crap bags. Sleeping Beauty is now stirring. Step away mad sleep deprived woman- the rational part of your brain is screaming, but it’s too late, and before you know it those big blue eyes are fluttering at you- or more like your boobs- and the whole process begins again. You didn’t so much as brush those furry teeth of yours in that rare free-armed moment. Oh pants!
So it begins again, and with no sleep and nothing achieved, we are forced to crack on, because that’s what mummies do.
Until next time…
With Love & Sleep Deprivation,