Sleep is for the weak…and I am the weak


After having a baby, I think any new parent would tell you that you learn pretty quickly the reason that sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture.

It’s a real shame that you can’t stockpile sleep (though you’d think you could with the amount of well-wishers that tell you to get it in while you’re pregnant) because before I had a baby I could have been an Olympic champion in sleeping. I’d go as far as to say sleep was a hobby and I’ve never been precious about how it happens – I’ll sleep wherever and whenever. I thought this ability to sleep on tap would serve me well in early Motherhood and I planned to sleep whenever the baby did, but the universe had other ideas.


In addition, I’d forgotten just how grumpy I get without my sleep – think Victor Meldew with a cold. And to make matters worse, I literally get jealous of other people getting sleep. A friend told me the other day about her new bed she is getting with Egyptian cotton sheets and all I could think was that I’d just settle for a bed without baby sick on my pillow that I’m allowed to stay in for more than a few hours at a time! 


Although for the most part my baby isn’t actually a terrible sleeper on a night all things considered, you do still find yourself wondering if you will ever get a full night’s sleep again and daydreaming about sleeping more than a few hours straight in one go.


A few examples of how this has unfolded for me include:

              • My husband overslept one morning (lucky bastard) for work and then told me it was because he was just so tired. I’d been up four times in the night while he snored his way through. The same the night before that when he’d remarked the next morning that our baby had slept through (no you did). He’s lucky he made it out of the door with both legs.
              • A friend with a newborn told me that her baby is sleeping through the night. Cue tears and tantrums (from me, not the baby) and frantic Googling about what I’m doing wrong because my baby isn’t.
              • People telling you what a hectic week they’ve had in work and how tired they are. You literally struggle to answer because you’re filled with overwhelming resentment that they then went home and chose to watch Netflix until 1am / were out getting drunk when you would have loved to have seized the chance to sleep from 7pm all the way through to 7am and actually the most tiring week at work is nothing compared to the tiredness of having a new baby (I had quite a few crazy 55 hour weeks at work while pregnant and that was a piece of piss compared with early motherhood).
              • The Amazon delivery guy (or any general delivery guy) knocks on the door 10 minutes after you’ve just settled down for a snooze on the couch, waking you and the baby. To make matters worse, the parcel is for your neighbour. You fantasise about chopping their parcel up into tiny pieces and plan to stand with the baby crying in the pram outside their front window in the early hours of the morning in revenge.
              • People want to come to see the baby but you just want to sleep so you have to choose between having friends or being a mentalist who can’t string a sentence together.
              • Even when you’re asleep you’re on duty. You have crazy dreams that the baby is in the bed with you and frantically search the covers while in that half awake state until you either come to and realise the baby is asleep in the crib, or your husband has to physically show you until you believe it. I even had one instance where I thought my husband had hung my baby up by his sleep pod on the back of the door (why would he ever do that?) and I was frantically searching between the dressing gowns.
              • Your baby falls asleep but you know that it’s only a light sleep at the moment and you need to wait for him to drift off properly. You wait and wait and just as you think it’s safe you put him down in the cot. His eyes ping open. He’s had a good 20 minutes sleep and you’ve had none and you literally want to cry.
              • Someone takes the baby for an hour and you either can’t sleep because your brain is on overload or you have the best sleep ever and wake up a new person. Either way you cry your eyes out afterwards from exhaustion or relief.
              • You’re so tired you regularly forget what you’re saying mid-sentence, double book yourself for appointments, lose the car in car parks and even forget whether you shampooed your hair while you’re still in the shower. The phrase “What am I doing?” becomes a new standard saying – because you never know what you’re doing!!

              • You realise it’s possible to sleep standing up or while doing certain tasks (e.g. breastfeeding) and so you do. Why not? I’ll take it where I can!
              • Some people tell you that you look tired (er yeah – I have a baby!) and others lie and say you look great (thank you but we all know I applied make-up with a trowel this morning and that my eyes are round my ankles alongside my boobs). In either scenario thank god for chocolate!

                So now that it’s 10 weeks in, my little cherub decided that last night he would give me a gift of sleeping six hours straight. As the first time in a few months that I’ve had more than four uninterrupted hours of sleep at once, I’m clinging to the hope that this isn’t a one off – surely this child that is a complete mini me in personality is going to love sleep too? Because I am really missing having a good night’s sleep and can confirm that, despite the rumours, you definitely do not get used to it. 

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