Dear Mama of the extremely wakeful baby,

Dear Mama of the extremely wakeful baby,

I know you are tired. Scrap that, I know you are weary to your very core, but can I tell you something? You are one hell of a mum. 

I know you dream of the time you get more than a couple of hours sleep at a time, but can I tell you something? You are rocking this mothering gig.

I know you feel miserable some days and it’s hard to hold back the tears, but can I tell you something? Your baby appreciates your commitment.

I know you find it hard to talk about what’s going on. I know you feel fragile and often times, when you do open up, people just want to ‘fix’ your baby’s sleep and suggest things that don’t sit well in your heart, but can I tell you something? You don’t have to pay them any heed. You know your baby. Follow them and your heart.

I know you will go through painful patches of anxiety and doubt as you watch other people with their babies and see how easily sleep seems to come. But can I tell you something? If your baby were theirs, they’d be struggling just as much as you are.

I know you regularly question yourself and worry that maybe it is something you’ve done that has created this wakeful pattern, but can I tell you something? It’s not. You are simply responding to the unique person you’ve created who happens to have an intense need for comfort day and night.

I know you wonder if it will ever end, but can I tell you something? It will. I can’t tell you exactly when but it will, once that tiny person of yours is ready. Our clever little people are biologically designed to grow more independent with sleep in time.

I know you wonder some days if you can go on much longer like this, but can I tell you something? It’s okay to ask for and accept help. We were never meant to do this alone. You matter too and doing what you need to keep you chugging is vital if you are going to be able to keep meeting the needs of your baby.

I know you may be desperate to try something new, but can I tell you something? Be careful who you turn to because not all support is created equal and not all support has both your best interest and that of your child in mind. Ask questions, trust your gut and follow your heart. Don’t be afraid to walk away and look for a more suitable alternative, because they are out there.

I know you think you aren’t doing very well, like a wakeful child is somehow a signal of failure, but can I tell you something? I now know sooooooo many mamas who have had wakeful babies and each one of them is stronger, more compassionate, intensely proud and endlessly grateful for the experience and lessons that baby brought to their family.

Mother of the wakeful baby, it’s time to give the guilt and the doubt a break. If you feel like shit today, feel it. But after you’ve had a big cry and a nice hot shower or a yummy cuppa and vent to a trusted friend, look at that perfect human you’ve made and think of all that is right about them. It may be their winning smile, it may be the way their fingers curl around yours, it may be the sweet milky breath, it may be their contagious chuckle, it may be their chubby arms reaching desperately for you or clinging to your neck.

They are sensationally in love with you. They couldn’t be where they are without your tender loving, time and patience.

It really is okay tired mummy. You aren’t doing anything wrong.

Chin up, shoulders down, deep breath in.

You can do it xxx
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5 thoughts on “Dear Mama of the extremely wakeful baby,

  1. 3 and a half years of virtually no sleep and I was not a tired mummy. I was not a ‘look at how beautiful your baby is and you’ll be alright’ mummy. My brain didn’t work properly. My body didn’t work properly. I suffered. And my child suffered because I was so obsessive and crazy that I still – after nearly five years now, and a year of better sleep at last – am obsessive and crazy and can’t live a normal life. I say things to my child that I shouldn’t, because I still have this anxiety about his sleep, because I am still obsessed with sleep totals and what they mean and early wakings and what they mean and what I will do about them and what kind of activity we will do in the daytime because of the kind of sleep he has had that night and what kind of activity and how long for is the appropriate thing on the basis of that sleep and so on in some crazy, non-stop obsessive whirl. I feel the compassion behind this post and behind so many like it and so many online supportive things in favour of gentle and attachment parenting. But, for me, 3-4 hours broken sleep a night for 3.5 years, with hours of lying awake in pain at having to lie awake in awkward positions has forever ruined me and probably my poor child. How sad! Was I really the only woman to suffer this? I still haven’t found any others. They just seem tired.

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    1. This breaks my heart mama. I’m so sorry you never could make it to ‘just tired’. I was where you are but did find my way back. I can’t tell you it was easy but I HAD to stop the obsessing. I had to stop thinking of the tiredness. I had to decide I would enjoy my baby anyway.
      Read through some more of my articles. I really was where you are but I couldn’t stay there.
      It is worth seeking help mama, you deserve to feel better than this.

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