The power of sleeplessness.

People often stare at me in disbelief when I tell them that Little Fearse still wakes to feed at night. Yes, at 13 months she has rarely slept all the way through the night. She has sometimes slept for five or six hour stretches, but I can’t remember the last time she went all night without waking for a feed. I have not had an uninterrupted night’s sleep for over a year.

Wait. Stop! Before you click “comment” to offer me some of your possibly wonderful advice, keep reading.

I don’t mind the waking. Sometimes… I like it.

I am blessed to be one of those people who can function on a little less sleep than I’d ultimately like. Perhaps I’ve just adjusted. Either way, I’m functioning okay. I don’t believe my work life suffers, or my home life. I don’t think I’m crankier than I used to be or less patient. I go to bed much earlier and I do a lot less reading, but otherwise, I’m doing okay.

When Little Fearse was new and fed every couple of hours I found it hard, but I also felt so blessed to have that special time with her in the middle of the night. Just she and I, getting to know each other. Lately, while teething (finally), she has woken sometimes five or six times a night wanting comfort or a feed. I haven’t enjoyed it, but I appreciate that I am able to offer her what she needs and send her back off to sleep.

Some of the things that have helped me deal with this time in my life and in Little Fearse’s life are physical, such as the support of BP and the understanding of those around me, and my natural constitution. The other things are more, I feel, about a way of thinking.

Our entire lives are fleeting – childhood faster still. Babyhood? It comes and goes like a flash. I know it’s the ultimate cliché. Every parent says it at one time or another. The time I have spent awake in the middle of the night caring for Little Fearse in the scheme of my whole life is nothing. Those minutes or hours are here and gone with the tick of the clock. The best advice I’ve had is that “this too shall pass”. And it does – the bad times pass and the good times pass and there is nothing we can do to speed it up or slow it down.

I would never, ever, ever want to wish one moment of Little Fearse’s time with me to go at a greater speed. Every time those little arms go around my neck I want time to freeze.

When Little Fearse is 13 years old will she awake in the night and come to me for comfort? Maybe.  I don’t know. When Little Fearse is 23 will she awake in the night and call me for comfort? Maybe. I don’t know. What I do know is that now she is 13 months old and she wakes up in the night and she calls for me.

I’m so lucky.

Mama xo

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4 thoughts on “The power of sleeplessness.

  1. Beautifully said. My eldest didn’t sleep through the night until she was 3.5 years old. We stopped night-time nursing at age 2, so it wasn’t that she needed to nurse; she just wanted to be held for a few minutes, or to have her back rubbed. I often wished I could sleep all night, even just once per week. She’s 6.5 years old now, and a great sleeper. Has been for three years now. I’m so glad I had the chance to spend that extra time with her sleepy little self. And lest you think that I have fond memories because I’m three years removed from being woken at night: I’m currently enjoying night-time cuddles and nursing with her two year old sister 🙂

    It’s so refreshing to see someone enjoying their child’s babyhood (or toddlerhood, or childhood). Keep doing what feels right for you and Little Fearse 🙂

  2. My little one is in teething mode, also. I got more frustrated with my daughter, but I was stressed in alot of other areas, as well. With my son, I get exhausted, but my perspective has changed. We both almost died in the process of getting him here. Being worn out or even frustrated is nothing compared to not having him here or being here for my family. You’re right. Cherish this time when they truly need and want their mommies.

  3. Thanks to both of you for your comments in solidarity. I know I’m not the only one out there with an older baby who is not sleeping, but it sometimes feels that way! I also know I’m not the only one who feels a little blessed to have that time with my baby at night – but I think it’s hard for those whose babies have slept through from a much younger age to imagine such a thing is endurable! It is endurable, it is! 😀

  4. Pingback: The sleep line. | The Fearse Family

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