Sleep is a Lost but not Forgotten Love

Do you know how much I love my baby? More than sleep. And I LOVE sleep!

I miss sleep.

When I get up weary-eyed in the early a.m., even when I didn’t go to bed until much earlier that same a.m., and see her beautiful face smiling up at me from her crib, saying “Mama,” and waving hello, I perk up and become the morning person I never was (at least until I crash a little later). I have no choice. As a new(ish) mom, it’s part of the job.

Before I had Siena, people (parents) used to tell me about the lack of sleep phenomenon that accompanies having a baby. When I was pregnant, they would tell me, “Get plenty of sleep now, because once she comes, bla bla bla …” I didn’t really give what they said much thought – until 11 months ago. And I haven’t really slept since. I mean REALLY slept. Ok, I’ve slept, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. And, what I’m going to tell you next will probably make you wonder why.

I mean, we finally accomplished the once much-longed-for sleeping-through-the-night milestone. We now put her to bed between 7 and 7:30 p.m. and she usually sleeps until about 7 a.m., except, oddly, on mornings after nights I have stayed up late. Like this morning – 6:15 a.m. It would be ideal if I could go to bed at 7:30 p.m. every night too; then, my issue would be solved. But it doesn’t work like that. Often, once we get her to bed, my husband and I then cook and eat dinner, do the dishes, and spend some adult time together. That’s our time to kind of relax, regroup, watch TV, and yes, that often means going to bed later than we should.

Plus, two nights a week, I go to school and then drive an hour to get home, putting me in the door at 10 and 11 p.m. By the time I wind down (because it’s not like I get home and can immediately get in to bed and fall right asleep. It takes time.), it’s late.

In addition to all of that, I often wake up during the night and look at the video baby monitor, just to see that she’s ok. It’s not as bad as when she was a newborn and I’d find myself peeking into her bassinet right next to my bed and make sure she was breathing. Sometimes, if she was too still, I’d wake her up just to be sure. I’m much better than that now.

Anyway, I hear (from those previously mentioned parent people) that the lack of sleep issue never really goes away. Once our babies become teenagers and young adults, sleepless nights take on a whole new rationale. Where is she? What’s she doing? Who’s she with? When will she be home? Hope she’s ok. But, at least then, she’ll be sleeping past 7 a.m., and if it’s a weekend, I can too.

I’ve begun to wonder: maybe the reason that you’re not supposed to have coffee when you’re pregnant is so you won’t be immune to it when the baby is born, when you really need it.

I never knew just how much I loved sleep until it was gone. But, I guess that’s what Starbucks is for.

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