Sleepless Through the Night

Tired MamaHave you heard the riddle about the mom who does nothing and everything all at once? Neither have I, but I’m certain that mother is a mother to a newborn. I know because I’ve been there twice now. There I was, on the couch, for the umpteenth hour in a row it seemed—not awake but so clearly not asleep.

Many nights with my feet propped up, we sat down for the nightly adventure. I encouraged my husband to sleep because I’d still have to wake and pump if he fed the baby a bottle. So our nights became routine: dinner, bath, “night dipe,” and a kiss goodnight. Reruns became my new best friend because anything else required too much of me. My first son was born around the holidays. Deep, deep in my heart forevermore is the intertwined relationship of Christmas lights, sleepless nights, and nursing. My eyelids as heavy as his, we lounged through the night and then lounged through the day. It was a beautiful time in my life but also quite hard.

I needn’t explain it to mothers out there. We all know these nights. The ones that leave us needing a truck full of caffeine with a loan request for patience pending. There were the nights we didn’t sleep at all. Then came the nights when we woke only three or four times… then two. At exactly eight weeks for both of my boys (though not long lived) we were given a surprise.

I remember waking to the sun shining through the mini-blinds. I remember the folklore of this moment, passed down to me from many a mother: the moment where you run to the crib because surely if the baby didn’t wake something must be wrong. I didn’t run; I didn’t exactly walk either. I rolled my chest full of milk out of bed and gently pattered down the hall. Afraid to wake him but more afraid he couldn’t be woken, I slowly—ever so slowly—turned the doorknob and peered through a tiny slit into the room. I cursed myself for putting the crib on the opposite wall requiring me to open the door fully to know my babe’s fate. Fast asleep.

More sleepless nights came. They still do. Our 18-month old sleeps better than our three year old often times. When we had our second child I came to know old advice I was given was actually a riddle. It goes like this: When the baby sleeps, who sleeps? The only possible answer is a mommy with one child. Naps with one child are an uncommon luxury; naps with two or more children may never happen again. So take heart my fellow mothers, whether one or twenty kids! The night is ours. It is boundless and it is our bounty.

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 1 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

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