The challenges of parenthood aren’t for the faint of heart, and made even more trying when you’re feeling exhausted 24/7 (as sleep deprived parents of little ones can painfully understand).
But don’t worry, you’re not alone. After months of waking up feeling exhausted, mummy blogger Melanie Darnell took to recording herself trying to sleep. The result? A simple time-lapse video that highlights the true reality of motherhood: mid-sleep disturbances, late night feedings, restless babies and all.
“Parenting doesn’t end when the sun goes down,” she writes, “I want to parent at night the same way I parent during the day. You have two night time parenting goals: to get sufficient rest yourself, and meet the nutritional and emotional needs of your child. It’s a tough balance.”
“Realizing that the last sweet hours of restful darkness are almost over. The 4am wake-up call is especially excruciating. Still, we haul ourselves out of bed, and with bleary eyes pull our babies in close.”
Heading to bed alone at 10pm, the mother of three had just settled in. Barely an hour and a half later, she clambered out of bed and returned with her youngest child. As Melanie tossed and turned fitfully, the wails of another little one permeated the night – it was only 1am. Soon enough, her toddler joins them. As the night drew on, Melanie had to nurse her infant and cuddle her restless child as the trio shuffles through various sleeping positions, hair tugging, limb jabbing and all. Needless to say, she barely got a wink of sleep before rising at 6:20am.
“In those quiet, dark hours, the lack of distraction can actually quite calming and refreshing,” Melanie says, “Baby’s needs tend to be simple: to be held and fed. Mothers are experts at both of those things, and the ability to so completely meet the needs of our amazing baby is profoundly satisfying.”
Acknowledging the round-the-clock struggle that comes with trying to take care of yourself while meeting the needs of your child, she gives encouragement to all the parents who are going through the same thing. “During these moments, let’s think of all of the other parents that are up with their babies at the very same middle-of-the night moment and take comfort in the thought of each of us cradling our babies in the dark of our homes, together in shared experience. Rather than feeling isolated and exhausted, we can feel connected to the other tired mothers that are also awake.”
Beyond the sleepless nights, Melanie reminds, “So, to all of the tired mothers out there, breathe in and breathe out. These days are intense but short lived. Both you and baby will be sleeping more soundly before long. For now, cuddle your babies, nurse them and love them no matter what time the clock says. The baby you rock tonight someday may have the opportunity to be gazing at the stars while holding a sweet baby of her own. She will be thinking of, and appreciating, you.”