Motherhood has taught me an all new appreciation for honesty.
I’ve been struggling the past few months with my baby not sleeping very well. I didn’t think it could get worse. Then Christmas happened.
I have decided that sleep deprivation is the most effective means of torture. After a few months of general sleep deprivation followed by three weeks of more severe sleep deprivation, you feel like a crazy person. Saturday night I went to bed at 10:30, was up with the bebe at 11:30 for an hour and a half, and then it took me about twenty minutes to fall asleep again. Another weird reaction to sleep deprivation–you can’t sleep when it’s available for you. Right as I was just about asleep she woke up again and we were up for another twenty minutes. Then she was up at 6a.m. again, though my husband took her then and I was able to sleep for another hour. ‘Twas crazy, folks, and I felt crazy.
You’d think an underslept kid would be exhausted by nap time the next day. I still don’t understand how that doesn’t work. She was awake for over five hours before she finally fell asleep in the mother’s room at church. Another mom was in there that I’ve talked to a few times. She asked how I was doing, “Tired?” and I sleepily nodded my head. As we talked, she mentioned that she had to start feeding her son formula because of some medication she was taking due to hypersomnia. I’d never heard of that and she explained that it’s a sleep disorder that causes her to always be tired and fall asleep even though she’s getting plenty of sleep at night. She said it freaked her out because she couldn’t help falling asleep and it made her nervous to drive.
That immediately made me feel guilty. I know I’m sleep deprived, but I can’t imagine having to deal with something like that. After a while I got brave (a.k.a was able to ask a question without crying) and asked how she dealt with being so tired all the time. She smiled and said, “I’ll try to say this without crying, but it’s pretty emotional for me.” Then we both cried as we talked about asking for someone to watch the baby so I could nap, telling myself to take it one night or week at a time, and remembering that it doesn’t last forever.
It was a brief conversation, but it meant a lot to me. Sometimes it feels like I’m not allowed to be frustrated. Because after having a miscarriage, I should only ever be grateful for every moment with this baby we prayed for, right? Even if my recovery has been weird and long, I don’t get much sleep, and I don’t have any family close by–it’s a blessing! She is and I know she is, but it’s hard to feel guilty every time I’m frustrated. That’s why I appreciated our chat. Many people have told me it’s okay to be stressed, but for some reason this was the first time I could see that someone else was struggling at that moment too. It wasn’t someone who hasn’t lived with a baby in a long time telling me that I’ll get over it. Having her going through this at the same time was somehow more comforting than listening to people who have already passed that point.
But what if she had been like me–scared to let others see how hard it has been? We don’t need to tell everyone everything about our lives, but it is amazing how much we can help each other when we’re willing to be open. When we let others see into our experiences, we allow them to recognize their own feelings are valid and worthwhile. It’s a much friendlier world when we show an honest side of parenthood!