Hush Little Baby... Before Mommy Dies of Sleep Deprivation
By Shannon_Lell on December 16, 2011
Featured Member Post
I didn't want to publish this post. When I started writing it, it quickly turned into Bitchfest 2011 scheduled to perform in a venue for one. I didn't want to publish it because I wanted to maintain a positive vibe here and write about all sorts of enlightening things, not the darkness of my personal hell. Then I decided, fuck it, it's my blog so I'm going to publish it anyway. That's pretty enlightened of me, right?
I'm finding that unless you are also currently the primary caregiver of multiple, small, non-sleeping children, 24 hours a day, that empathy is hard to come by. I mean, wasn't I supposed to know this shit was hard? No one has a baby thinking it's going to be all designer onesies and chubby ankles, right? And didn't I consciously go and have a second one KNOWING exactly what I was in for? Furthermore, haven't mothers been taking care of infants since, like the DAWN OF TIME and with far less gadgetry? So what the hell are you bitching about you spoiled, first-world, crazy woman?!
Unfortunately, knowing that my problems aren't life-threatening or world-ending doesn't make me any less frustrated. Similarly, knowing that it's only temporary, helps to ease that frustration for about five minutes until the overwhelming, blurry-eyed weariness sets in again. So, if maybe I can break it down on a biological level, people can understand why I spend most of my days trying not to hit things.
A mother, particularly a breastfeeding mother, is biologically, physically and chemically responsive to her baby's cry. A nursing mom, (myself included in the early weeks), may express breast milk when they hear their baby cry. It makes sense that there is a strong symbiotic relationship between mother and child, you know, so we feed them and don't leave them to marinate in their own fluids. In fact, I was told by my pediatrician that "colicky" infants (like the kind I make) might just be ahead of the evolutionary curve. Ever hear the saying, the squeaky wheel gets the grease? Well, the crying infant gets the boob.
As for my personal experience, I can feel every nerve ending in my body tingle when my son cries. It feels similar to grabbing a live electrical wire, which I've done while changing light fixtures. I am particularly sensitive when I'm lying prostrate, sound asleep at 3 o'clock in the morning. The moment he lets out his first whimper, a jolt of electric energy courses through my limbs that pops my eyes like the jump cut of every zombie movie ever made. If I have to listen to him cry for more than five minutes (which happens a couple of times a night), all that electric energy starts to make me nauseous. It actually sucks worse than I can make it sound because you have to factor in the emotional aspect of this equation which is just too sad to mention.
You can die from sleep deprivation people. Literally, like, die. There's a reason they use it as a means of torture, because it's effective. It's actually most effective when you let someone fall asleep for just a little while and then keep waking them up, again and again, which happens to be exactly what my son does. Personally, I'd rather be water-boarded. Studies have shown that a sleep deprived person is more impaired than someone over the legal limit of intoxication. Speaking of intoxication, chronic sleep deprivation feels similar to a really shitty hangover; a perpetual, all-I-want-to-do-is-eat-greasy-food-and-sleep kind of hangover. Chronic sleep deprivation (I'm going on four months, people) can make a relatively sane, rational person, do insane, impulsive things like destroy Diaper Genies and hallucinate.
A month after my daughter was born, my husband and I went to Lowe's. I stopped to read a magazine at the checkout counter and when I looked up, they were gone. I shit-you-not within ten minutes I had the store manager locking the front doors and calling a Code Adam. Turns out they were in the gardening section. THAT is what sleep deprivation will do to you.
I bet I can guess what you're thinking? "So how are you able to spend so much time writing silly shit on the Internet if you're SO sleep deprived? Shouldn't you be sleeping RIGHT NOW if you're so tired?"
You're probably right, I should. But honestly, writing, yoga and caffeine are the only things GIVING me energy right now. Because what I know for sure is that when you're doing what you love, what you were born to do, it fills you up with all the things you need to go on in the face of adversity. So I keep typing. I have to keep typing or I will probably get myself banned from every large box store in the Puget Sound region.
Well, well, will you looky there? I actually did write something enlightening. Yeah me.
Now Playing at Bitchfest 2011: Hush Little Baby Don't Say a Word...(so Mommy can type a few thousand of them and feel sane again.)
Photo Credit: laundry.