SLEEP DEPRIVATION FOR BEGINNERS

Meet Meg: She’s a lawyer, a writer, and an absolutely hysterical brand new mama to a 9-week-old boy. You may remember her as the girl who flipped the script and changed the game when she wrote the most genuine and raw piece about miscarriage the internet ever saw. We are super proud to welcome her to our tribe and to our publication.

xx

N.

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SLEEP DEPRIVATION FOR BEGINNERS

By: Meg Broadbent

“We’re gonna die soon, right?”

I ask my husband this question about once a week, usually around 6:00 am after yet another night of zero sleep. He mutters something I can’t understand in response, and we both stare at the ceiling while the baby flaps around in bed between us, oblivious to the fact that we are barely alive.

Sometimes I think I would welcome death, which is basically just a forever nap. It sounds perfect.

I’ve never been someone who needs a lot of sleep. I’m a high functioning, OCD, multitasking lawyer who has consistently managed to feel good and get shit done every day on less than five hours a night. I figured I was a shoe-in for motherhood, since everyone talked about sleep deprivation as the number one hurdle new parents face.

“Amateurs,” I thought. “I’ll be fine.”

HAHA!

No.

Turns out there’s a slight difference between five solid hours of uninterrupted sleep in a clean bed with no one touching you, and two non-cumulative hours of “sleep” in a sweat-soaked bed with someone biting your nipple and puking on your face.

I blame myself for the shitty sleepless reality I’ve been living in for the past 9 weeks, mostly because I’m a mom and that’s what we do, but also because I did exactly nothing to prepare for it. I figured there was so much information out there that I would have a panic attack if I tried to figure out which of it was “right” or “true,” so I didn’t try.

Now that baby is here and has declared that in this (his) house, Night and Day are Hereby Reversed and None Shall Sleep in His Presence, I’m kind of second guessing this approach.

Is there something I could have done to avoid or at least deal with these sleepless nights? According to all the unsolicited-advice givers out there: Yes.

I decided to compile the hottest tips I’ve been given over the past two months below, in an effort to help my fellow fatigued mamas out there. Get ready to “sleep like a baby,” ladies. (I hope whoever coined that phrase died a slow and painful death.)

  1. Avoid booze: According to people who hate fun, even a single glass of wine can disrupt a good night’s sleep, so if you’re serious about getting some quality shut-eye, do not drink alcohol. While you’re at it, do not breathe air either.
  1. Go to bed earlier: Go to bed when your baby goes to bed. It’s that simple. For some of you, maybe that’s around 8:00 pm. For others, maybe that’s around 1:00 am. Maybe it’s never! Doesn’t matter!

  1. Go for a drive: Babies always fall asleep in cars. You may need to drive around the block more than once to make sure your little one is in a deep enough sleep to not wake up when you get home. Drive for as long as you need to. Get on the highway. Drive all the way to the airport. Get on the first flight to Mexico. Never look back.

  1. Nap when they nap: Shit when they shit. Barf when they barf. Cry when they cry.

  1. Turn off all electronic devices at bedtime: One time I forgot my iPhone charger downstairs and my phone died while my son was sleeping on me and I cried and then he cried and we both kept crying until eventually we both fell asleep, so maybe?

  1. Sleep in shifts: The idea here is that your partner takes the baby into a separate room for part of the night and quietly deals with its needs for a few hours without interrupting you. Note: this only works if your partner is another mom. If you’re planning on trying this out with a man, you might as well just leave your baby on a pile of laundry in the basement.

  1. Let baby sleep in bed with you: You can practice this method before baby is born by trying to go to sleep after placing a boiling hot, ten pound roast beef on your chest while you lay in absolute silence with one arm pinned awkwardly under your body for the entire night.

  1. Don’t let baby sleep in bed with you: In fact, don’t let baby sleep in the same house as you. What? I HATE EVERYTHING.

Needless to say, none of this sage wisdom has worked for me. Has it? I don’t know. Where am I?

My new philosophy going forward is this: if you know you’re not going to get any kind of consistent sleep for months (years) no matter what you try, why not just embrace your new zombie life and go with the flow (the never-ending flow of your sleep-deprived tears)? Trust me, this method works just as well as the others, but with the added bonus of not having to do anything. Let’s be honest, you’re never going to “do” “anything” ever again.

Sweet dreams!

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Featured image via Mabelline Tumblr.

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