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Newborn Sleep Deprivation Made Me Do Things I Swore I'd Never Do

Photograph by Twenty20

Being totally sleep-deprived with a newborn is a parenting rite of passage. We all get that. But what no one really warns us about is what happens to us emotionally when it comes to our new babies and their sleep (or lack thereof) and all the crazy things they make us do.

I had a certain idea in my head about how I would handle the sleep deprivation when I was pregnant, trying to prepare myself for what was to come. I knew NOTHING. There was no way I could've known I'd end up doing bizarre things. Like, for example, the following:

1. Tiptoeing around my own house

Before kids, I swore I wouldn’t be that new parent that creeps around the house and knows which area of the floor squeaks to avoid it. But when you’re desperate for sleep, you take no chances. Unfortunately, I failed miserably at running the vacuum during her naps and now I’m stuck in stealth ninja mode during all of my daughter's sleep times. Any parent who has crawled around on their hands and knees knows what I'm talking about. Sleep is that precious.

2. Having intense anxiety once the clock hit 7 p.m.

Dinner would come to an end and the anxiety would start to set in. I knew I was facing another long night of sleeping in hour-and-a-half increments and the thought of facing the darkness sitting up in bed alone, nursing a newborn for hours, was enough to tie my stomach in knots.

3. Randomly bursting into tears at 2 a.m.

When I was pregnant, I knew I was going to be up at lot at night, so I had it in my head that because that was just how it was, I was going to accept my fate with a smile ... until my daughter nursed one night for six hours straight and my husband finally woke up to hear my quiet sobs.

I wasn’t going to be that mom. The one that obsesses about her kid’s sleep.

4. Letting my baby sleep with me (shhh, don’t tell anyone)

The plan was that the baby was going to sleep in the Pack 'n' Play in our room for six months before moving to her crib in her own room. I know, hilarious, right? That turned into the Rock 'n' Play, then the swing and then right in my arms in bed. I did get her into her room just shy of eight months, but it was a hard transition. You desperately want your space back, but can’t fathom not sleeping within an arm's reach of them.

5. Texting my friends in the middle of the night—sometimes just because

The middle of the night is lonely. And dark. And you’re so tired your eyes ache. Someone out there has to be up too to keep you company, right? So, you start sending out SOS texts and wait, chewing your lip until a fellow sleep-deprived mom writes you back.

6. Talking about my baby’s sleep with anyone who would listen

I wasn’t going to be that mom. The one that obsesses about her kid’s sleep. Duh, babies suck at sleep, it’s nothing new. Until my daughter came and suddenly I was the only one with sleep troubles and our sleep schedule was the most important thing in the world to nail down and discuss in fine detail. Because I needed to find that magic trick to get her to sleep. Somebody had to know the secret. News flash: There was no secret. We were all screwed.

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