“Rest up now! You are going to be so TIRED!” I heard that statement three or more times a day whilst I was pregnant. It was terrifying. I was already feeling overwhelmed because labor remained a giant, unanswered, scary question mark. I was worried about being a good mom. Hearing the thought of TIRED for the hundredth time in the month (slight exaggeration) made me want to poke out eyeballs. I felt like people should have something better to say. There should be nicer words, kinder statements for new parents.
Then we had her. I figured it out in our first night why they said that to me again and again.
People tell you how tired you’re going to be because they want to prepare you in some way for the sleep deprivation to come. But there’s no real preparing for it. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture…I’m not even joking here.
Without sleep I became a person I did not recognize. I wanted to put towels over all our mirrors because the shadow of me walking past them was horrifying. It was hours and hours on repeat. Wake up, stumble around, get the baby, feed the baby, and shush the baby. Lay down on whatever surface I could. Sleep. Wake up. Stumble around some more. It was one of the most challenging times in my life.
People tell you about the exhaustion because they know. They know it’s going to throw you for a loop and take all your willpower to keep choosing to have good days. But there is hope. Here’s what they don’t tell you.
Here’s what they can’t say:
They keep telling you about TIRED because there are no words for the LOVE you are going to feel for your new baby. It is indescribable. That little snuggly bundle of joy is a piece of you. She/he will steal your heart the instant they arrive. As parents, we get overwhelmed. We get lost in the tired. However, if we stopped complaining about exhaustion for a second and thought about not having our baby…life would feel empty. It would feel like a limb was missing. Our baby has become a part of life, a part that we never knew we needed.
But we’d stay up a hundred more nights if it means he/she stays part of us.
I still feel tired now. I still complain about it. The tired becomes a wave you ride on, and you find a way. New parents, you are going to make it. Hang in there. It gets so much better. Until then, stumble on. There’s love in those dark nights.
About the Author
Lindsay is a military wife, mom, and writer. As a former professional dancer you can find her doing pirouettes in the kitchen whilst also flipping pancakes. She finds solace in hearing the sound of her sewing machine and a hot cup of coffee. A journal with scribbles is never far from her side, and being outdoors lifts her soul. She’s lived and traveled all over the world but believes there is always more to experience. Her blog Uplifting Anchor encourages mothers and military spouses.