I woke hours earlier than most the family, we have an infant in the home, so it’s not all too surprising. Most mornings, I feed the baby then head back to bed for a few more hours of sleep. I instead put the baby back to bed and decided to grab a peaceful, private shower. If you’re a mom you know that most times, we can’t even pee alone. Showering without an audience is no different than that and your privacy can be hard to come by.
Not to rub it in or anything, but it was like taking a vacation! Thirty minutes of uninterrupted shower time felt like an eternity. Yes, I said thirty minutes. I’ll conserve water tomorrow, when I have two kids breaking into the bathroom so they can repeatedly ask me what I’m doing. All while they go through everything within eyes sight and arms reach. Eventually, one of them will try to wear mommies’ bra which only results in a scream fit/wrestling match, which the bra normally wins. It can be a real mess, too say the least.
Anyways, I’ve gotten off topic, my thoughts are jumbled from the endless sea sleepless nights. From the day our children are born (and sometime before), we begin to experience the “joys” of sleepless nights. All mothers have them, normally I wouldn’t compare such things but it seems that breast feeding mothers tend to have it a bit worse. This is due to the simple fact that formula burns off at a much slower rate than breast milk and this requires breastfeeding mothers to feed more frequently. This is what is referred to as cluster feeding and it can occur like clock-work or sporadically.
The first few weeks are not only sleepless, they can also bring you to the brink of insanity. During this time, always seems to be the toughest. There are many sleepless nights, tears and occasionally, psychotic break downs. I don’t know about you guys but I missed that information in the breast feeding pamphlet. If you ask me, they should go like this…
Breast feeding is best
WARNING: May cause sleeplessness, psychotic breaks, cramps, engorged-painful breast, leakage, neck pain, back pain, extremely tired arms and at one point or another, you’re going to literally cry over spilt milk.
That of course, is not meant to turn moms off breastfeeding but simply to be honest and upfront about it. Breastfeeding is a lot of work, it takes a lot of patience and sometimes, it feels it’s ALL you do. It’s tedious and demanding. It’s an energy drainer and it keeps the hormones flowing thickly. I don’t know about others but I know that I could hardly stay awake through feedings. Even if I started with a full “battery”, I would be drained by end, both figuratively and literally.
No matter how much water I drank, no matter how many things I kept around to keep my mind busy, it just didn’t matter. I could barely go a feeding without falling asleep. It never failed, I’d start strong and often make it through one breast. Then the next thing I know, I’m waking with my head slumped over
and can barely lift it, form the excruciating neck pain.
Eventually, the overall sleeplessness leads to a drop in your mental health, you’re so tired that everything makes you cry! Even if you’re someone who rarely cries, you are not immune, welcome to motherhood. Now you’re a giant baby who cries at every little stressful moment. Even the tiniest ant sized problem, feels like an elephant sized issue.
On top of that, there is often an anger that we experience. This usual pops up around three a.m. and is the point when you normally wish that men had breast as well. I know it sounds crazy but if you’ve ever been a breast feeding mom, watching your husband snore away while you’ve been up a million times a night AND working off only two hours of sleep, in a 24 hour period, you can understand it.
It’s a blinding rage that makes you want to suffocate them with your pillow or bludgeoned them to death with their own arms. This is where that psychotic break comes in. While staring at your sleeping partner in their happy little dream land these thoughts just happen to creep in. It’s normal, as long as you don’t act on them, that is. It’s simply the lack of sleep & stress, building up. This is a sign that you could likely use some time alone and some uninterrupted sleep. Talk to your partner or a trusted friend and work a little time out for yourself.
At the end of the day, it’s what’s best for our babies. Maybe not our sanity but certainly best for our babes. Even though it might drive us crazy, hurt us physically, cause us a lot sleeplessness and bring tears on, more often than not, it doesn’t matter. WE are mothers! The most important thing to us is our children and there’s no way that a bit of pain or sleeplessness is going to stop us from doing the best we can for our little bundles of joy.