Groaning in the cold, dark

I lay in bed and the world around me is silent except for the sounds of life, resting.

A few feet away I hear tiny baby breaths and sighs. Next to me I hear heavy and rythmic husband breaths and sighs. And through the open internal door to the next room I hear toddler breaths and sighs.

We share rooms and a heater between the four of us.

Everyone sleeps but me.

Moments later baby stirs. I lay still, barely breathing, hoping he will not wake.

He rolls over. Back asleep.

I sigh with relief just as he stirs again, this time waking with an abrupt cry.

It sounds angry.

After eight months I wonder when he will ever sleep through the night. Except for a few nights he regularly wakes up all throughout the night. Sometimes every two hours, leaving me with four or five or sometimes six hours of sleep, usually broken into several chunks.

I groan and move, not wanting to face the cold night air.

No one said parenting would be easy.

I pull him into bed with me and nurse, nurse, nurse. Wondering how long I can continue on interrupted sleep (and insomnia in between).

I remember that mothers all over the world and all throughout time have done as I’m doing.

Strength.

The days are long but the years are short so I don’t want to waste this time being anxious about the dark hours.

And yet I’m so tired. So, so tired.

I remind myself that this time last year I was about to find out that his life might not be what we thought or expected. And now him being here with us, just like he is – healthy, perfect – is a miracle. Surely I can find the grace for one more night.

And perhaps tomorrow night too.

But my goodness, I’m so tired.

STOP.

 

Q for you: How do you cope with less-than-ideal seasons of sleep?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited

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About Adriel Booker

Writer, speaker, advocate, and non-prof worker. Happily married city-lover, mama, and emoji enthusiast in Sydney, Australia. Author of Grace Like Scarlett (Baker Books, 2018). View all posts by Adriel Booker

17 responses to “Groaning in the cold, dark

  • sus anne

    I so feel you. Apparently I do have 2 children who think that sleep is overrated. With Alisa I was just so tired and after 3 years of interrupted sleep (she is now at the age of 6 sleeping thru the night- Hallelujah) I turned into someone I didnt know before. I felt bad when I got angry and impatient and I thought I must be the worse mother of all until I got to sleep for an entire night without interruption and all the sudden I had energy again for so many things…amazing. But I did learn some very valid lessons about God. His unconditional love, His longsuffering, and patience and overall I learnt to run to Him with my imperfection and exhaustion and I ve
    always found compassion, love and understanding and enough strength to carry on. After all I am pretty impressed with myself and the fact that I never thought I could go on like that for such a long time and keep most of my sanity 🙂

    • Adriel Booker

      wow girl, that is a long time to go on sleep deprivation! i’m so sorry to hear that. not that i’d wish it on anyone, but i’m glad at least you have gleaned some valuable lessons from that time. maybe i am too… but hindsight will be easier to tell. right? 😉

  • lifelibertyeducation

    When I don’t get enough sleep I tend to cry and be angry for no reason. What worked for me when mine were little was bringing them into bed with me. Worked great with my eldest. With the second child, no so much as he wanted to nurse constantly but only if I sat up the entire time. He nearly killed me with exhaustion. So the other thing we did was nap together. We napped in the morning, we napped in the afternoon, and we “slept” at night. We got through even after the third child came along 33 months after the first. So I recommend having naps together (Mom and all kids) at least once a day. We kept this up until the eldest as went to school full days.

  • Rachel J.

    I always wonder why everyone else gets the kids who sleep through the night, and then I’m reminded that I’m not the only one! Abram was a really good sleeper as a newborn, so I thought I got lucky. But he’s actually harder now that he’s six months…mainly because he’s harder to get back to sleep when he wakes at night (which is all too often).

    I hope you get some much needed rest soon. I know how much my patience suffers when my sleep suffers. 😦

  • Jessica F. Hinton (@mommyhoodnxtrt)

    N didn’t really start sleeping through the night with any consistency until she was 2. Before then, she was up, often. Co-sleeping helped us, that and lots of naps. A doesn’t sleep through the night yet, either, but it doesn’t bother me as much this time because I know that it will happen, eventually. I sometimes do envy the parents with kids who sleep through the night at 3 months, but mostly, I’m just okay with where we’re at now. Exercise helps and eating better helps when I’m most sleep deprived. 🙂 I hope you get some sleep!

    • Adriel Booker

      yes, those things have helped us too. but lately, he’s waking up and taking an hour to get back to sleep. do that a few times a night and you’re left with two or three 2hr chunks of sleep. not ok.

  • Rachel

    Oh I do know how you feel! To the point where I’m wondering…we’re going to do this again?! Xave was an awful, awful sleeper until 14 months. I couldn’t CIO — it would break me even more than the sheer exhaustion. Then one night, he did it. And he kept sleeping every night after! I think his little body just told him now was the time (and we got pregnant again within the week…).
    As an alternative to actually co-sleeping, we set up the cot, side car to the bed. That gave us plenty of room and meant we didn’t disturb him as much when we got into bed or rolled over or…etc… It also meant I didn’t have to get up and down all night and worry about blankets. It didn’t look pretty and I’m on the hunt for an actual side-car/co-sleeper thingy instead of something as big and cumbersome as a cot for this next bubby.
    I also suffered dreadful insomnia because I ‘knew’ as soon as I would go to sleep, baby would wake up. I have no clue how to deal with that because now I have pregnancy insomnia. Everyone says, sleep when baby sleeps…yeah hmm. Praying he sleeps through for you!

    • Adriel Booker

      yeah, we have the cot on the side of the bed. hasn’t really helped though. he’s in that or in with us both.

      we don’t believe cio is right, but we do know babies will cry. (just won’t leave them to cry alone.) right now ryan’s getting up with him and i’m in the guest room. we’re trying to teach him how to sleep without milk every time. i think it’s starting to help… time will tell.

  • Amy L. Sullivan (@AmyLSullivan1)

    I’m not going to lie…I really like this blog. I totally see the appeal. It’s not a huge commitment for you to write or for us to read and yet, it has the raw factor. Good job, you.

    • Adriel Booker

      thanks amy. i really enjoy it too. lately i’ve been missing some days though. have had really full-on days and sometimes even five minutes feels like too much to give. *sigh* but overall, i do. and i’m always glad when i’ve done it. 🙂

  • Amy L. Sullivan (@AmyLSullivan1)

    Ohhh and to answer your question: I nap…um, when I’m not working. Otherwise, I’m just mostly crabby.

    And a big ps: When life slows down and you get some sleep, I would luuuuhve for you to guest post at my place. Come on now, I already have the topic. It was something your brought up forever ago at my place and I’ve thought about it again and again.

    And now I think I’m finished.

    • Adriel Booker

      ok! i will. (i’ve thought about it too.) i’m hoping to have some time to write when we’re in the states. don’t want to make any promises in case i get too caught up in having fun with my family… but writing is refreshing for me so i’m hoping to set aside time for that too. 🙂 will keep you posted.

  • Rachel

    Adriel, have you heard of the book The No-cry Sleep Solution? At risk of recommending yet another way to get your baby to sleep longer periods of time, I read this one with Xave and it’s attachement parenting based. You can do it whether you co-sleep or not. Only some of her principles worked for me but I believe that was mainly circumstantial. It’s also easier (apparently) the younger you start so I do plan to try it again with the next bubby. I borrowed it from my local library.

    • Adriel Booker

      yes, thanks. 🙂 i borrowed it from my library too. probably didn’t have any “new” suggestions in there, but i found it helpful to read and skim and have ideas triggered. i like her approach! thanks for the tip. 🙂

  • Lori

    This was a really beautifully written post!

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