Good Sleep Is A Wish The Tired Heart Makes

BlogHer Original Post

I haven't had a good night's sleep in over four years. The last such night was probably sometime in the second trimester of my pregnancy with my first child, and even then it was probably the kind of sleep that was disrupted by all manner of first pregnancy anxieties. Since then, it's been one long battle with sleep-averse children, parental insomnia, second pregnancy discomfort and anxiety and just general household chaos, all of which works against sleep.

So, yeah. I haven't slept in years.

The Huffington Post is encouraging people to join them in their Sleep Challenge 2010, and I've been watching this with interest, because, you know, that whole no sleep ever thing. Arianna Huffington insists that getting more sleep is key to women getting more power and influence - which is probably true - but truthfully, I'm just worried about getting more sleep to survive. And for a mom of young children, getting that sleep isn't just a matter of overhauling my own sleep routines and improving my sleep hygiene - it's a matter of getting my household to sleep, first, and then worrying about myself. Because if my babies ain't sleepin', I ain't sleepin', and if I ain't sleepin', I ain't going to be doing so well for too much longer and then who's going to run things around here?

Arianna doesn't know the half of it.

HuffPo hasn't forgotten about moms entirely: Noted pediatrician Harvey Karp is blogging at HuffPo about getting babies to sleep - he suggests, rightly, that getting more sleep is of particular concern for moms because sleep-deprivation can trigger and worsen post-partum depression. His tips are helpful, but I've been through the whole Karpian Happiest Baby thing and it's only worked for one of my kids. Which is great - and I love Harvey Karp for it - but it was the kid I had four years ago and my current sleep-deprivation issues are stemming mostly from the second child, the one who has not responded to any sleep-training techniques - not Karp, not Ferber, not Weissbluth, not No-Cry, not Yes-Cry, not anything - whatsoever. So we've been desperate. I've been desperate. And the more I read about how everything from my mental health to my weight to my longevity depends upon whether or not I get sufficient sleep, the more desperate I get.

There's been some progress on the getting-kid-to-sleep front: I've been working with a sleep consultant, the Sleep Doula, who has provided some phenomenally useful advice for getting the boy to sleep through the night in his own bed. It hasn't been easy, but we've been making progress, and any progress is good progress, so. (Other moms working the sleep training: Cara Mama, who is putting herself through her own Baby Sleep Boot Camp, which, really, is awesome. Arianna has her Sleep Challenge, Cara Mama has BOOT CAMP. I think Cara Mama wins for determination.)

The difficulty now is, retraining myself to sleep. Once the kids are sleeping, in their own beds, and I finally have the luxury of whole hours and a whole bed to myself, how will I figure out how to settle back into the rhythm of real, grown-up sleep?

I guess that's where Arianna - and the sleep hygiene tips, and the sleep yogi advice, and whatever it is that Nia Vardalos has to say - will come in handy. Sleep Challenge 2010, here I come!

Catherine Connors blogs at Her Bad Mother and Their Bad Mother and The Bad Moms Club and everywhere in between. She's pretty tired.






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