Friday Tip: The Lesson Found in Sleep Deprived Nights

Sleeping baby

"The days are long, but the years are short." -Gretchen Rubin

As you know, I recently had a third baby. We all know that babies are a blessing. However, they do disrupt our lives, especially in the early days.  Indeed, they are born in a dramatic, dangerous and painful fashion. They come with their own demands. They eat every two hours, which means that their mothers are tethered to them for months. And, they sleep when they want to, which generally means that they want to be awake when you prefer to sleep.

Sleepless nights can make moms lose sight of the miracle that is your life.

The reality is, you become a shell of yourself, shuffling through life in a foggy haze. You begin to doubt whether you will ever get a good night's sleep again. You also doubt yourself, your abilities and your sanity. You begin to question whether there is something terribly wrong with your baby or the mother to whom God entrusted him because it seems like everybody from the mailman to the cashier at the grocery store to your own mother knows somebody who knows somebody who's baby came home from the hospital and began sleeping through the night immediately allowing his mother to write the great American novel. And here you are barely able to shower more than twice a week.

This doubt can make you sad, angry and weepy. It's probably the hormones too...

If you're not careful, the disruption can distract you from the blessing. But make no mistake, this disruptive stage has tremendous value. It causes you to seek the Lord, the universe, or whomever you worship for guidance. And, if you were agnostic beforehand, motherhood has a way of making you realize that there is a higher power. And while, I believe I am fairly enlightened, in the midst of it, I needed help to help me gain perspective. And so, I did what any modern mother would do, I sought advice from my Facebook friends.

My Facebook inquiry reminded me that there is magic in those sleepless nights.

When asked about newborn sleeping tips, Marcia Turner, a writer friend on Facebook responded as indicated below:

Marcia Layton Turner This doesn't really address your question, but what got me through was something my mom told me: Enjoy the quiet time with your baby because too soon the routine (or lack thereof) will change. It doesn't last forever. I distinctly remember watching the sun rise with my son way too many times, and though frustrated, I learned to appreciate it. He now sleeps soundly through the night, at age 18. .
Her comment made me pause and reflect on the blessing of this phase of my life. It also made me remember that this process is divine. And although caring for the baby is all consuming and exhausting. It is also beautiful and gratifying. My purpose is clear. It is my job to nourish, protect and care for him. Nothing is more important.

Her comments reminded me of the miraculous metamorphosis that is occurring within me and within our family. Just as my belly grew to accommodate my baby's growing size, so am I growing to accommodate my son's growing needs. My sleep deprivation may be to train me for the rigor that comes with raising three young children. It is not for the faint of heart. However, to whom much is given, much is required. I am richly blessed. 

Another friend, whose children are teenagers affirmed Marcia's point.
Jennifer Balonek VanRy I really have no tricks after 3, I always caved and fell asleep cuddling them. Now that the youngest is 14, I agree 100% with the comment above. It’s hard when you’re in the thick of it, the sleep deprivation and busy days...but I’d give anything to go back for just a few minutes.

Even as I'm in it, experiencing the fatigue, I shall remember to honor this experience and to be grateful.  I will also try hard to feel the joy!