Shattered. Gubbed. Exhausted. Match sticks for eyelids. Im on day 3 of little sleep with my little one on a lethal combo of top teeth teething and a snuffly , gloopy nose, cold.
Tiredness is used as a form of torture in war. A friend of mine who was in the forces told me having months of sleepless nights with two kids under 3 was worse than anything she endured in army sleep deprivation training.
My first baby didn’t sleep through the night until he was 6 months old. We were living away from friends and family and he was feeding every few hours for months. The exhaustion was horrendous and had me on the verge of tears regularly.
One all nighter breastfeeding-a-thon saw me watching back to back Sopranos while hallucinating moving flowers swayed in the corner of the room. Facebook became my nocturnal addiction and friend as I found other mum friends to chat to who were also up in the wee hours.
No one tells you about the tiredness before you have kids. Or maybe they do and you don’t remember as you flippantly guffaw to yourself … Ha! Tiredness bring it on – I have been to Glastonbury and partied non stop for a week. I have had years of partying to get me ready for this moment! I laugh in the face of tiredness! This will be a breeze!
And then the reality comes.
Tired becomes a perpetual state of existence. You start to daydream about being able to have more than 4 hours sleep at a time…and if you do have a night of more than 4 hours you wake up feeling like you could run a marathon. Thinking about how amazing your bed is becomes an obsession….pillows, duvet, how I love thee.
And then there are the mums you meet at rhyme time or baby massage, or whatever other class you have had to drag your bleary eyed self along to who ask you “Is he sleeping through the night?”
I ramble on for a few minutes about how knackered I am and see them looking back pityingly before I ask “what about you?” ..they reply nonchalantly – with a lighthearted tone, basking in the glow of one that is sleeping well – “oh, little Johnny has been sleeping 12 hours a night from birth, we practically have to wake him up every morning!”
How I despised these people with their lack of red-eye and fresh faced early morning happiness.
When pregnant with baby 2 I was plagued with thoughts of the exhaustion. How would I cope going back to that again…with a toddler to look after. No chance of grabbing a nap when they sleep whenever that may be.
And then it happened….
From 3 weeks old my little one slept for around 8 hours a night for the first 4 months. I had become one of these smug mums whose child slept. How the bliss of sleep washed over me. I felt it was ying and yang at play and finally things were levelling out for the months of sleeplessness with bambino 1.
But here we are full circle back are during the sleepless nights. But holding onto that small soft warm bundle of cuteness as she snuggles in and clutches her tiny hand around my finger I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The amazing moments of joy and togetherness you feel with their wonderful wee souls when they smile back at you make it all worth it. Cuddling them (when they finally do nod off) asleep on your chest you feel them breathing in and out, you feel lucky to have them and feel grateful. Sleep or no sleep. It is worth it all.