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When I first became a mom nearly 7 years ago, I felt completely lost. I came home from the hospital and expected my baby to act like a ‘normal’ baby — you know, the babies that all of the moms are posting on their Facebook pages about? So when that didn’t happen, I was distraught. I vividly remember calling my friend Sarah and crying. Crying about the adjustment and crying about the fact that no one told me just how hard it would be.
See, my first baby did not sleep through the night. Nor did my second. Nor does my third. And despite what my Facebook friends would have me believe, it is absolutely normal for your baby to wake in the middle of the night.
I repeat — it is normal for your baby to wake up in the middle of the night!
For those moms in the back, your baby is normal!
I wish someone would have told me that the highlight reel I was viewing on Facebook was the extraordinary rather than the ordinary. Instead, I was inundated with “I can’t believe so-and-so has slept through the night since day 1! I’m so #blessed!” It left me feeling entirely defeated. I truly thought my baby was defective.The highlight reel of social media left me feeling defeated. I thought my baby was defective because he didn't sleep through the night. Click To Tweet
But, it turns out, he was normal. He just wanted to eat and be held, as all newborns do. In fact, according to research, only 57% of babies stay asleep for 8-hours straight by one year of age.¹
So for those of us with babies that wake to feed or be comforted in the middle of the night? That’s a 1:00 AM wake-up…. and/or 3:00 AM… and/or 5:00 AM. And lack of sleep can make even the not-so-hormonal people just a tad bit crazy.
Here I am, at 8 months with baby number three, and I can confidently say I somehow survived the deepest, darkest moments of sleep deprivation. I was not a “hashtag blessed” mom with my babies sleep. I was the opposite. I struggled. I cried. I, GASP!, even screamed.
But I also have spoken out about my struggles. And when I did, something magical happened. I learned that many others struggled with getting their babies to sleep at night. I breathed a collective sigh of relief. It may be a little true that misery loves company, but there is also a mutual support and understanding that comes with this kind of misery. The solidarity of knowing that I wasn’t on this journey alone was enough to really push me through.
So, Mama, I see you.
I know your struggles. I know you’re trying. I know you cry. And I absolutely know you’ll make it through.
In the meantime, if you need someone to talk to, to vent to, or to cry to… I am here.