The post that took me weeks to write.

Monday, March 2, 2015

I dove into newbornhood with Lanie feeling slightly overconfident. "Liam is a fantastic sleeper, so surely Lanie won't be that bad. At least we know what we're doing this time around." Ha! Mere days after Lanie's birth, I realized how wrong I had been. Even though two babies share a gene pool and look nearly identical, they could not be more different if they tried. Especially regarding sleep.

Until just a few nights ago, Lanie has woken up to nurse every 2 hours through the night, with a rare 3- to 4-hour stretch thrown in from time to time. At first, friends would ask, "So how's it going? How's life with two?" and we'd respond, smiling, "It's challenging this time around. But we're making it!" Then we'd steer the conversation toward Liam and how he's becoming the sweetest big brother. These days, though, we're more honest: "This is really, really tough. Being awake every 2 to 3 hours for weeks on end is taking its toll."

I know that I risk sounding like I'm complaining. I'm sure there are women reading this who yearn to be mothers and to stay up all night every night if they were waking up to the cries of their own baby. But part of this space, for me at least, is to be honest. And honestly, this is hard. This part of being a mom is not fun. Seven weeks of sleeplessness is not something anyone can be prepared for.

At the same time, motherhood is such a paradox because I am loving having two kids. I hear myself say it to Shawn nearly every night and kind of can't believe the words coming out of my mouth. Any other job that demanded such long, ungodly hours and even physical pain and sacrifice would not be enjoyable. But this? Seeing her smile for the first time? Heavenly. Watching my two children loving on each other in the primitive ways they know how? Soul-filling. They are gifts, whether or not they sleep. They are not inconveniences, even though their needs currently feel nothing but inconvenient.

I don't even know how to wrap this up. No sleep will do that, I guess. This transition has been so much harder on my body and so much kinder on my heart than I ever expected.

PS - The day I'm posting this comes after one of Lanie's very best nights (3 4-hour stretches!). I have essential oils and answered prayer to thank, but mostly answered prayer.

12 comments:

  1. Oh, thank you! This mom of one, needs to hear this. We aren't currently "trying" to have baby number 2, but are faithfully praying about taking that plunge. Your honesty is very refreshing (even if you don't feel refreshed).

    Our Will wasn't a great sleeper - around week 11 or 12 it got better. I just had to tell myself: "today is a new day."

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  2. I have no advice except hang in there! It will and does get easier! And as hard as it is to imagine, even though my youngest is 4 and a half, you totally forget what those nights of exhaustion felt like.

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  3. I'm teary just reading your post because I feel every word. Those days from a few years ago are a blur of toast, Barney and picture books in the blue chair with an occasional shower thrown in. So hard. So beautiful. Wish you could sleep for a blissful 5 hours straight but you wouldn't trade it for anything. Paradox of motherhood. Well said. Love you, friend.

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  4. Oh sis. I so get this. In so many ways.

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  5. Good to read as we are trying for # 2. Guess I'll savor my great sleeper for as long as I can until we are blessed with another, whom most certainly WON'T be a great sleeper. :)

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  6. None of our kids were great sleepers from the start. Around six months they'd start sleeping through the night, while our friends' kids were sleeping through the night at 4 weeks (I tried not to punch them when they announced that :). If I may offer you some hope from the other side...it does get better! Its hard to imagine at this moment and the days are lo-o-o-ng right now, but it will get better. One stretch turns into two turns into all night and suddenly you realize its been weeks of getting decent sleep. Hugs, friend!

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  7. Hang in there momma! I so wish sleep could be bottled up and saved for moments like these. Hopefully that was the start of a new era and she will continue to do better.

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  8. all parents love/hate advice however my two girls both slept great in the end, first daughter a dream....second daughter well...she slept ok in the day, downstairs in travel system carry cot, one night in desperation I took the carry cot upstairs and put her to bed in it...yay a four hour stretch instead of 2hrs :) next night 5 hrs I woke before she did - I'm sure all mums know the paranoid...she is usually awake by now...paranoid examination of baby without waking scenario.....she never really slept in the lovely crib her sister loved so much she went from carrycot to a proper cot.......if this help then yay :) if not hang in there it will get better, enjoy both of them everyday..... I love your attitude to life, your honesty and your blog :)

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  10. Oh yes, friend! They all are so different. Three of mine had severe reflux as newborns. We thought for sure the 4th child wouldn't have it, but we were wrong.;) Emery slept on our chests for 4 months straight because of the relfux. Now she is 7 months, crawling everywhere, and sleeping in her crib. And the newborn stage feels like such a short time. But when you are IN it, it feels like forever because of the lack of sleep. Honestly, the newborn stage is not my favorite. I like it for about a month and then I'm ready for them to be 6 months. ha! Keep pressing forward. You are amazing. And I promise you, sleep come to you soon!! :)

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  11. Have you read "Treasuring Christ when your hands are full?" Not trying to preach to you...I'm preaching it to myself ever early, dark morning. (Easton has turned into a Rooster and is ready to start his day long before the rest of the world is ready). Anyway, there are several chapters that touch on how hard it is in Motherhood - sleep wise and how the triune God desires to meet us where we are - showerless and hungry at 5pm or tired yet awake at 2,4,5, and 6 am. :) . I am convicted every time I complain to try to at least be open to the possibility that there may be a reason God has me awake instead of resting/asleep. All that to say - hang in there, you will make it! You are certainly not alone. :)

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