*First published in 2016.
Dear Sam Pre-May 2015, I know, I know… You’ve had soooo many people tell you this, but when Willow is born- you’re going to be tired.
There isn’t an adequate word in the dictionary that would define how exhausted you’re actually going to feel. It’ll be a tiredness that is like a deep ache in your bones. You will now understand that time on the Flinstones (show my age much?) when Fred literally needed toothpicks to keep his eyelids open.
Sometimes you will go about your day and wonder how you will physically survive.
Another day. Another sleepless-night.
They say sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. They’re right.
I know what you’re thinking. You are going to be one of the lucky ones. Of course, your baby will be one of those that sleeps through the night by the time you leave the hospital.
If I could wipe that smirk off your face I would.
It’s now been 10 months and Willow is yet to sleep through the night. At this stage, you’ll be fantasizing about sleep. You’ll be rocking on that chair, middle of the night, and you will fantasize about handing the baby to Dustin… booking a motel room… and sleep. All bloody night. 7pm – 7am.
No…wait… make that 9 am.
What they probably haven’t told you is that your body will adapt. You will find the strength-of-your-love keeps you going. Although you will sometimes feel jealous of those lucky bastards whose baby sleeps all night ALL THE FREAKING TIME, you wouldn’t trade your kid for theirs. (Except maybe… sometimes… I wish their babies wouldn’t sleep too…. And mine would, secretly)
The love that you will feel for Willow is so deep, so strong, that each time she cries in the night it pulls your feet to the ground and your arms around her.
As she feeds and snuggles against your body, you will realize how lucky you are. You will remind yourself that this is only a short time in your life. A warm glow will spread across your heart and you will feel the happiest you’ve ever been.
Sometimes you ask yourself if tonight would be the last night that you feed her as the world sleeps. Your body craves it, but somehow, the thought will make you sad. You will hold her just a little tighter, kiss her on the head, and take in her milky breath… just in case.
The nights that she does sleep a little bit longer, you will find yourself wide awake and missing her. Your milk will leak and your heart will ache.
Yes, you will be tired.
Yes, you will have days that you cry and wonder how you will survive.
But I promise you, those extra hours in the night, are also some of the most precious and treasured.
Sam of March 2016.
Ps. I will write to you when Willow finally sleeps through the night.