confession of a sleep-deprived motherPosted: May 18, 2013
i look at my sleeping son’s face, so peaceful in my arms, brow un-furrowed, his mouth a small round o of contentment, and several emotions flood me all at once: awe, love, happiness…and mostly relief that he’s finally, *finally* asleep. also, hope that he sleeps for at least three hours so i have time for all the other household and baby chores. if i’m lucky and move reallyreallyfast, i might even be able to squeeze in a ten-minute nap.
being a new mother is hard. i speak from three weeks of experience.
at the start, the amazement of the realization that this little person actually, physically, *literally* came from me was enough to buoy me along through the first week of sleeplessness. oh, and the adrenaline rush from panic didn’t hurt either.
as days passed though, the novelty of just staring at his face and marvelling at how cute he is (regardless of what everybody else says – or doesn’t say) began to fade. after seemingly endless feedings and diaper changes and singing him made-up lullabies and bouncing him up and down and finally *pleading* with him in the hopes that he, for heaven’s sake, just stop crying already!, my baby didn’t seem that cute anymore.
since sleeplessness and consequently feeling constantly hung over have dulled most of my senses, all that i’ve been left with is dread, and how it has filled my everydays!
it starts off innocently enough, with a lone whimper in the wee hours of the morning. my eyes would fly open and my entire body would tense, hoping against hope that it wouldn’t be followed by another. i wait, nothing. i relax and close my eyes, and just when I’m about to doze off again, my son lets out an impatient, throaty cry. yup, he’s awake.
and he *stays* awake. through a feeding, a burping, a cuddling, a lullaby, an entire one-sided conversation, a diaper change, a walk/dance around the silent, dark house, several rounds of the clock’s small hand, and the slow crawl of the first rays of the morning sun.
a few times during the long, long night he would pause from his venting and fall asleep in my arms and joy would spring from my heart. i would carefully lay him down on his bed, pat him reassuringly and crawl back into my own bed, only to be roused by his cries again a few minutes later.
we repeat this song and dance again and again all day, everyday. more and more, at the end of each day, we just sit and cry together, all my reserve energy gone.
by then, alvin thankfully arrives home from work and takes over, saving me from completely going over the edge.
everybody talks about having and caring for a baby like it’s the most enjoyable, most blissful thing in the world. i thought i went into motherhood with eyes wide open. i knew it would be hard and knew better than to romanticize the whole thing, but this, this physically, emotionally and mentally draining tiredness is honestly nothing like i prepared for.
i’ve been told that the first month with a newborn is the hardest. i only know that the thought of the coming days, weeks, months, years fills me with panic, and so i take a deep, shaky breath and try to take it one day, and one three-hour sleep chunk, at a time.