Living in a constant state of sleep deprivation is an inescapable part of being a new parent. As the mother of two I’ve definitely had my share of long, sleepless nights. Yesterday however I discovered that being up all night is far easier when it is expected.
Barely four months old Haiden still wakes up at night, but he is usually happy to eat and go right back to bed. So I was completely unprepared when he woke at 1:00 am and (with the exception of an hour catnap) did not go back to sleep until 6:30. Initially the feeding was very routine. Haiden drank half a bottle and gave us a good burp right away. When it looked like he was getting drowsy, Husband went up to bed and I planned to follow shortly. But Haiden never went back to sleep. Nothing I did kept him happy for very long and he certainly wasn’t sleepy.
At one point I found myself staring out into the night, realizing I wasn’t going back to bed. It’s hard to describe just how sad and lonely I felt in that moment. It seemed every person was asleep except for Haiden and I. There were no lights on in the other houses; no sounds.
I thought about the pile of bottles to be prepped for daycare, the laundry to be folded, the projects waiting for me at work, and the weekend house cleaning that hadn’t been finished. I thought about how many more hours I had until the night was over. As I rocked Haiden in my arms I wondered how I was going to muster the energy to get it all done. I felt the overwhelming weight of motherhood pressing down on me in a way that I seldom do and I wanted to cry.
I don’t know how many laps I did, but eventually on one of those laps I looked out the window and saw the light on in my neighbor’s house. I quickly looked at the clock. 5:23am. I walked over to the window and peered out into the dark. Paying better attention now, I could hear birds chirping in the distance. The night was coming to an end and I had made it. Soon Husband would be carrying Amelia down the stairs for breakfast and my day would officially start. What needed to get done would get done, and no one would know that for a moment I considered failure.
I think it’s amazing that as parents we can be pushed to what we think is our limit, and then pushed beyond that. We doubt our own abilities and question our decisions. But when it counts, when our kids depend on us, we shove those doubts aside and get the job done.