Newborndom has passed and you have finally figured out the floppy little alien you took home from the hospital. It took a couple months, but finally, after lots of trial and error and reading all of the blogs and all of the books, you have your sweet cherub on a schedule which allows you to regain some semblance of a life. And, since you are a superstar parent who is greater than all of the parents who have gone before you and all the parents who will come after you, your little human is sleeping through the night at two months. YAY YOU!! Put that baby down for the night, have a glass of wine (and by "wine" I mean bourbon), go to sleep and don't worry about the baby until morning.
Fast-forward 6 weeks. zzzzziiiiipppp (that is what I imagine fast-forwarding to sound like).
You put your tiny human in her crib and start with your nightly routine, whatever it may be - dinner, Netflix and sex (if you are ambitious), but before you can even click "play" on "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" you hear crying. I'll let her cry for a few minutes; she'll probably fall right back asleep. She's perfect, after all. But the crying persists. You get her, feed her put her down and head to bed soon after. A couple hours pass and she's awake again. You feed her, put her down and go back to bed. A couple hours pass and she's awake AGAIN. This angel has become a monster who is determined to haunt your boobs through the rest of the night with the sole purpose of turning you into a Zombie. She succeeds.
After nearly two months of well rested motherhood, you are now sleep deprived. Sleep Deprivation is a cold, hard bitch. Nothing can make you feel sad, depressed and inadequate like Sleep Deprivation. You are normally a kick-ass mom, but after three days of sleeping 3 hours a night, you are doubting yourself. Am I a good mom? Am I doing enough for my babies? Do my kids love me? Yes, to all of those things. You are a GREAT mom. You are doing more than enough for your babies. Your kids love you more than you will ever imagine. You are just tired.
Your husband may say, "take a nap," as if that's a practical and achievable solution to combatting your archnemesis, Sleep Deprivation. As a mom of a new baby you know that the old advice, "sleep when the baby sleeps" is stupid and worthless because THE BABY NEVER SLEEPS! Well, she sleeps sometimes, but you are lucky if you get enough time to shower and dry your hair. Where is all of the advice on getting through sleepless nights followed by sleepless days? You can let your tiny person (with apparently super giant lungs) cry, while you take a 10 minute cat nap, but the crying makes you sad and with Sleep Deprivation haunting your thought life, you just feel too guilty.
I have no practical advice on battling Sleep Deprivation. To be honest, I am writing this in a Zombie-like state myself. It's taken me what feels like a gazillion hours and a gallon of coffee to write this since I have been interrupted by a baby to feels more at home on my boob than anywhere else these days. All I can say is, GIVE YOURSELF GRACE. You are an amazing mom. Your sleep deprivation is a direct result of you loving and sacrificing for your helpless baby. So tonight, when your darling infant wakes up and decides that 2:00 am is the perfect time to just look at you and coo as if she's sharing her heart with you, smile at her, coo back and know that tomorrow it is okay to just binge watch "Scandal" and order Thai for dinner. These days will pass all too quickly, and like with most memories, you will look back on them as if they were an endearing time (as opposed to what they seem to be now: a trying time fueled only by coffee and grace).
What happens to you when you are sleep deprived? Are you insecure? Impatient? Grumpy? Sleepy? Dopey? Bashful? Doc? (thank you... I'll be here all week) Seriously, how do you deal? If you have a better solution than coffee or cocaine, I'd LOVE to hear it!