The fear of waking the baby

I’m sorry for the lack of blogs of late. You might not care, but if you do then sorry. It was my Birthday, James changed jobs, things got busy and I stopped writing for a bit. I’ve felt crappy as a result – I’ve missed it, so HERE I AM! I’M BACK.

Remember my friend Sophie, with the baby bump and the fractured ankle? She had a gorgeous baby girl yesterday and everything went very well – congrats lovely. Anyway, the appearance of this baby got me thinking about Blake as a baby.

He was a tough baby, through no fault of his own. He was one of many newborns who suffered from fairly severe colic meaning that he just DID. NOT. SLEEP. I do not lie when I say that in his first three weeks he did not sleep AT ANY SODDING POINT THROUGH THE NIGHT. He would wake at ten and we would enter this relentless, soul crushing cycle of feeding and shrieking, feeding and shrieking, feeding and shrieking until I would find myself in the kitchen, cross-eyed, at 4am with a baby bundled into a Baby Bjorn and half a mince pie hanging out of my mouth, with no idea how I’d got there or what had happened to the rest of the mince pies. It was horrendous.

If you have lived through a newborn you will know how truly debilitating sleep deprivation can be, how it will knock you sideways, leaving you feeling physically winded with the sensation that your mind is slowly unravelling before your very eyes.

And once we had come through the colic and were finally getting some (by which I mean limited) sleep at night, HE STOPPED NAPPING. He would not nap at all during the day unless I was pushing him in the buggy or driving in the car. And so from that point until the point we started him on two square meals I day, I never stopped except for a few snatched hours of sleep during the night.

How James lived with me during that time I do not know because I was entirely off my rocker. It must be a strange thing, as a man, to watch the woman you love go through labour and deliver you a little person who is half of each of you, and for your heart to swell with a love you have never felt before only to watch that woman sink into herself, contract into a vaguely feral creature in front of your eyes, who bears no resemblance to the woman she was and shouts at you wildly, in between mouthfuls of Boost Bar, for not changing the toilet roll. I really am sorry James. It was hard for me, but what I couldn’t see at the time was that it was hard for you too, that in gaining a Son you lost your Wife for a while.

Anyway, what those five months bred into me is what I have called The Fear Of Waking The Baby. Sleep became a rare and precious thing and the thought of it being disturbed terrified me, and I developed a bad case of The Fear Of Waking The Baby.

I think most new parents get this Fear for a while. We all creep around once our children are a-bed, stage whispering at each other, trying to master a sniper route through the house that avoids all creaky floorboards and fearing to so much as sneeze for Fear Of Waking The Baby.

And if the baby does wake? PANIC. One night, as Blake grizzled and I dragged myself despairingly out of bed, I wailed to James ‘why didn’t I appreciate this bed more before?’ The Fear Of Waking the Baby was, for me at least, a very real fear and it lasted well beyond Blake settling into a routine and sleeping through the night. For whatever reason, I remained terrified of him waking at night. Which as it happens is entirely ridiculous because children do wake in the night.

Blake stirred in the night a week or so ago and it struck me, like being hit in the face with a sign saying MORON, that The Fear was gone. I’d let it go – there is no need for this fannying around and spiking of stress levels, because whatever the night throws up, I have lived through enough days and nights of sleep deprivation to know that one way or another you muddle through and that, ultimately, your child will raise you higher than sleep deprivation will bring you low.

So there you have it. The Fear Of Waking The Baby, done. After only three and a half years.

Dazedandmumfused is on Twitter @dazedandmumfused and Instagram: dazedandmumfused


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