Monday, February 28, 2011
Babies, Sleep Deprivation, and NO MORE DEPRESSION
I am thinking I'll jot this down for myself, but I also know God may use it to comfort another sleep deprived mommy.
Hunter has been waking up at least every two hours at night for the last six months. At the beginning, it was more frequent: every hour, sometimes half an hour or 45 minutes.
(I think he was trying to replicate the womb- to find that environment that met the expectations he developed during the first nine months of his life. He would sleep if he was held, so I held him as much as I could.)
He also had some digestive issues, so I never felt right about just leaving him in his crib to cry. There are many reasons, but all of them seemed to lead to a very tired mommy getting up again and again in the middle of the night!
So, how have I been coping? Because sometimes I felt like I just COULD NOT go on.
1. At the beginning when he was small I kept a very dim lamp lit in the room so that I could read scriptures while I nursed. Sometimes I just read one and then meditated on it over and over. It helped to keep my mind centered on what was right. Any one who has been sleep deprived (or battled depression) knows that this is of extreme importance. Have TRUTH ready and available and fix your mind on it over and over.
2. I kept worship music playing in Baby's bedroom night and day. It changed the spiritual atmosphere of that place that I spent so much time not sleeping. It made a way for the Spirit of God to be a source of great comfort to me.
3. I prayed. I told God EVERYTHING. I admitted all, held nothing back, made no pretense. I wept, I begged, I whispered his Word to Him. I praised Him, and whatever else I needed to do. I stayed in connection with Him through prayer, even when it was terribly painful.
4. I thanked Him. I didn't do this perfectly, but I did make a point of being grateful for even basic things, like baby's life, his health, his beauty, his personality.
5. I prayed for others. This took my mind off of my self and my own suffering.
6. I just did it, without thinking about whether or not it was right that so much sleeplessness be required of me. I focused on showing baby compassion, and this fed me. To make happen for someone else what I so badly needed for myself gave me strength. And I reminded myself that the feelings of terrible fatique would pass, and once this day (or night) was over, I would have accomplished one more day in this period of my life and it would be that much closer to being behind me. But I also reminded myself of the sacredness of these days with precious infant, and that once they were past I could never revisit them, no matter how much I might want to. I thought of those in my life who longed to be holding a baby the way I was, and I chose to appreciate the night time moments, even though they included pain.