There is nothing—and I mean nothing—like the feeling you have after you give birth to your first child. You're exhausted, full of love and your hormones are racing. All have done a number on your mind and body.
When I brought my first child home from the hospital, I believed with my whole being he would somehow sleep through the night. After all, he was sleeping soundly all day at the hospital as people held him. When I looked at him, I tried so hard to feel and act normal, but I couldn't get over wanting to cry. I loved him so much, but I missed my old life and felt like I'd been turned inside out.
As nighttime at home approached, I did all the things my pediatrician told me to do. I was so tired I couldn't see straight, but my child, who wasn't even two days old yet, had other plans. He was up all night long, maybe falling asleep for five minutes at a time. The next night was the same and so it went.
Trying to establish a sleeping routine with your newborn makes you feel helpless. It can strip you of your confidence as you lie there awake, trying everything you can think of to get your baby to rest.
When your newborn won't sleep, it's hard to describe how frustrated you feel. There is no beating quite like that. Your head feels heavy and your mind dark, as you look at your child and make a silent vow to yourself that you hold it together, even if you aren't sure you can.
This time in the trenches, when everything is raw and visceral, is one of the hardest times. Yet, you are so in love.
This time in the trenches, when everything is raw and visceral, is one of the hardest times. Yet, you are so in love. And processing all of that can take such an emotional toll on you.
You want to scream. You want to give up. You want help, yet you don't want to be away from your baby or feel like a failure. So, you keep pushing through.
Those first few weeks can leave you so tired, you feel physically sick. You can't even think about having visitors, taking a shower or functioning. You realize how valuable sleep is. You don't want your child to grow up too fast, but you find yourself fantasizing about the day when you will be able to put them down and they will just sleep. Then you can be the mom you want to be.
But this phase—trying to navigate being awake all night and barely getting any naps during the day—is showing you what you are made of, even if you don't want to see it.
So, you keep on keeping on, day after day, for your baby. You keep trying, though you haven't showered, are cranky and haven't seen another adult in three days. You continue to try your best because, damn, this child deserves your best.
When this mini nightmare is over, and you come out on the other side, and your baby has gotten into a rhythm, you will look back and think: "I did it, I survived."
And, before you know it, you just might be ready to do it all over again.