Monday, September 29, 2008

On Sleep Deprivation

Those minutes, hours and days with a newborn quickly become a blur to us, don't they?

At the time, though, you feel as like you are muddling through quicksand, both mentally and physically.

The feeding schedule. The diaper changes.

The crying. And crying. And crying. (Both you and baby.)

Within this past week, Catherine at Her Bad Mother and Tania at Chicky Chicky Baby have both written about their exhaustion, their frustrations, and their struggles.

Reading their posts brought back memories for me that I thought I had long ago repressed forgotten.

Wearing a bracelet when I was nursing Eldest, and switching it to the opposite wrist after each feeding, so I would know which breast to offer for the next feeding because I was always too groggy to think. Writing down everything (because he was my first). Remembering the thrill when he slept from 11pm-4am and I was able to get 5 hours of sleep at a stretch. Amazed at the capacity of my body to endure without sleep.

With Middle: The god-awful crying. The colic. And reflux. Quitting breast-feeding cold turkey after 3 weeks of constant frustration. Never being able to eat dinner without him screaming. The wit's end. And finding out I was pregnant again.

With Baby: Trying to manage a household with an almost-4 year old, a 1 year old and a newborn. The aching tiredness - just being so tired that it hurt. The sense of failure. The sense of struggling. Feeling constantly overwhelmed.

And then?

Only now, 3 years later, am I finally able to reflect back and realize: I MADE IT THROUGH.

There are no tricks or magic to offer up. There is no hidden secret. You simply continue to trudge through that quicksand.

"People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one." -- Leo J. Burke


Fratzels said...

At least you remembered to switch the bracelet at each feeding. I know, without a doubt, that I forgot to switch it on numerous occasions, thereby resulting in only one huge boob in the morning!

Janet said...

I was just thinking about those days of exhaustion last night, when I worked until midnight and couldn't sleep afterwards. I knew I would be tired today, but I reasoned to myself that this fatigue wouldn't even hold a candle to the tired I felt with little babies in the house. I was right: a shower and a few cups of coffee and I'm just fine now. And I'm pretty much guaranteed a full night's sleep tonight. That was the part that overwhelmed me the most with my little babies...not seeing any end in sight to the exhaustion.

~Swankymama said...

Those were very fond days. I'm so lucky to have experienced them. But I will leave them in the past, where they belong! LOL

Jenni said...

I can look back now on those days and smile and think about all those nights I held my sweet little boys...but I wouldn't go back in time if you paid me.

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

I love you.

What's your name again?

I forget. Zzzzzzz

Unknown said...

Good timing on your blog. I am there right now. Feeling like a failure. A 4yr old, 3rd old and newborn. middle had colic, and now newborn seems to as well. I can't do anything right it seems these days, and everyone is frustrated and irritable. I wish the crying (from everyone including me) would stop.

Clare said...

just stumbled on your blog, but I love it!!! what a great post, and i can't imagine life with a 4 year old, 1 year old and newborn. you deserve a medal:) go mama!! i only have one, but it still seems like it was a blur:)

Maureen said...


Mom of 5 said...

I was just talking about this with a new coworker. I remember bawling because I was so exhausted. Functioning was not an option.

I know they say you forget in time, but you couldn't convince me of it 2 years ago. It felt like it would never end. The hours would drag on as they cried...and cried....and cried.

And days are a blur. I blinked and she's 2. I blinked and he's in kindergarten.

The days that I thought would never end are long gone. And now I am struggling because it just seems to be going too fast.....


Anonymous said...

MAN my daughter was a poor sleeper until about seven months and then GREAT and then (waitforit) horrible again.

is there a phrase of:

Im so tired. I slept like a toddler last night!

Anonymous said...


My boy just passed the 10 month mark. I nursed him last night at 11, and from 5-7 this morning (thankfully I slept during the 2-hour nurseathon).

Wish I'd had that tip about the bracelet. I was always grabbing my boobs and trying to gauge which one hurt more (engorged). A friend gave me a tiny barrette to clip on my bra strap but by then I was a pro at the guessing game, or at least had enough sleep to remember, mostly.

Manic Mommy said...

A mommy friend reads my blog and linked over to Tania's. We were trading war stories on that initial three months or so.

For me, it was the utter hopelessness of bedtime. Why bother falling asleep only to be pulled from it too soon? But then I think of the peace of dozing in glider the with my baby nursing.

Nope, you couldn't pay me to go back there.

Unknown said...

Shaking, twitching, drooling in a corner!!! Whew, Im okay. I just had flashback to my first, I dont remember if he ever slept. Seriously, I have memery loss because I was so sleep deprived. And the crying, oh the crying!! I showed up on my mother in laws door step 3 times in the first 3 months in tears, begging for her to take him, which she did.

But now he is almost 5 and I would love a few of those days back to cuddle and coo.

Missives From Suburbia said...

LOL... Like Julie, I used the Boob Squeeze technique, because I was too exhausted to even figure out where to get a bracelet. Honestly, I am dreading this part of having another baby, and it was a huge deterrent to having another one. There is no question that sleep-deprivation only made my PPD worse. I still can't believe Hubby talked me into this again!!


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