I’m writing to you to say it does get better, although I don’t know when, or a magical reason as to how, but honestly on the days where I needed matchsticks to keep my eyes open, I wish I’d stumbled across a letter like this.
As a mother of two, I can honestly say that time flies until midnight and then by God can the hours in-between then and sunrise feel like years, upon years, upon years. It’s lonely, it’s hard, and there’s no words to explain how testing it can feel when you’re stuck in the trenches of milk and white noise. Even with a one-year-old and three-year-old I still find myself falling in and out of them, so here’s something I want to write honestly and very seriously…
It is normal for your baby to wake throughout the night, and I’m not just talking for the first few weeks, sometimes (depending on them as individuals) for years. You’re not doing anything wrong, your little one is not broken, and I promise you that you aren’t making a rod for your own back by soothing and comforting their cries at 3am. It’s motherhood, it’s parenting, and you’re doing a fantastic job.
It took my first child four months to ‘sleep through the night’ and well my second at 13 months? He’s still figuring it out. Both raised the same, routines the same, fed the same, they’re just unique. With different needs and different milestone timelines. For months I couldn’t accept that my son didn’t need ‘fixing’ but now I realise how on earth can I expect him to do 12 hours of solid snoozing when I don’t even do it myself.
I get up for a drink, for a wee, or simply just find it difficult to drift off with 10000 tabs open in my brain. I need comforting when I’m poorly and reassurance after a bad dream. I’m human. The funny thing is sometimes we forget these little ones are too.
So, what I’m asking you to do is let go of these often-damaging expectations and parent with intuition rather than a chapter from some book. Parent with the knowledge that one day your baby WILL get there, WILL sleep, WILL enjoy their own space rather than the comfort of your arms. You won’t feel this tired forever, and one day you’ll forget how difficult it felt whilst you were in it.
You CAN rock, you CAN feed, you CAN let them nap in the pram or the car, you CAN change up routine and you CAN bed share. You can do it all and still sleep. I promise.
Keep going, drink the coffee and when you’re up tonight soothing and shhhhhh’ing in the darkness, take comfort in the fact that I’ll be doing it with you as will thousands of other mothers all over the world.
We’re in this together,
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