I am going to say it outright – being sleep deprived sucks!
Trying to make decisions, remembering where you left the keys, being available to my family 24-7 and trying to keep sane all on broken sleep is tough. I should know because I have been there many times.
My journey as a sleep deprived mum has certainly had its twists and turns. Hopefully you can relate?
3 months old
After the birth of my daughter Emily, I quickly became exhausted and very sleep deprived. Emily suffered from reflux, but she was also waking all through the night and was only cat-napping during the day. At first I thought this was the way it was supposed to be and that I just needed to accept it, but I was becoming more and more concerned she wasn’t getting enough sleep and quite frankly, we were shattered.
I spoke to friends and family, the local health nurse, I read books, I searched Dr Google – I felt I was trying everything but in the end I was becoming more confused than ever. I was desperate for a solution that was practical, simple and that actually worked! Finally I found a program that met my family’s needs, one that was easy to follow and just made sense to me. Within a week Emily was sleeping through the night and within 2 weeks she was napping for much longer in the day. Yippee!
18 months old
Though we got Emily sleeping independently early on in her life, it didn’t mean it continued to be like that forever. Our next biggest hurdle came when Emily needed to go into hospital at 18months old to have her adenoids and tonsils removed plus grommets inserted due to severe sleep apnoea. This hospital stay interrupted her sleep because an oxygen alarm was triggered every 5-10minutes because her saturation levels were too low. Once the ordeal was over we needed to get her sleep back on track to help with her recovery.
2.5 years old
Before we new it and smugly thinking we had this gig nailed, Emily turned two. Our “good sleeper” was waking in the night again and it caught us off guard. I was beginning to see a pattern that every half-year brought sleep trouble! Again, using my sleep tools from my experience and training as a sleep consultant, we managed to get over this hurdle too.
All around this time we also needed to cope with Emily’s night terrors, her demands at bedtime, dropping a nap plus moving to a big girl’s bed. All these factors are part of life but knowing how to tackle each obstacle is what got us all through. Thank goodness I was trained in this area but it was still hard.
Not everyone is trained in sleep so knowing what to do can be tricky because you are trying to solve a problem on a mind that just wants to SLEEP!
Sleep is never perfect but what I have learnt is that having the right tools and strategies plus the best support system can help you and your precious one survive these times.