I used to party. Like go out, stay out until the wee hours, and then wake up the next day and function off of what I though was very little sleep. But let me tell you all something – I had never felt sleep deprivation the way I felt it once I became a mom. Here’s the thing, my husband and I have a WHOLE lot in common... except when it comes to our sleep habits.
He can sleep just about anywhere
He loves to take naps
I do not.
When he wakes up from a nap, he’s rested and pleasant to be around
When I wake up from a nap I am a raging B*t%H.
The sleep deprivation definitely affected us differently. In the early months of parenthood, we would lay awake in bed with Ikea sized bags under our eyes, wondering if we would ever sleep again. In moments when we were up every hour, unsure of whether to laugh or cry, my husband would say to me, "One day we are going to look back on these moments and miss this." I thought he was crazy. Who in their right mind would miss waking up every hour, never having the opportunity to fall into REM sleep? The funny thing is that now that we are 8 months in, and I am well rested, while I don't necessarily miss waking up every hour, I look back on those crazy nights fondly. Perhaps that's the science behind this motherhood thing - you forget about the pain from birth, or the sleepless nights and suddenly your womb aches for another one (my husband is likely pacing in his office as he reads this). And partly why I look back on those early months so fondly is because it is during those early months that you truly are able to see how your partner is in this whole parenthood journey.
When we found out that "I" was pregnant. Notice that I said "I" and not "we." I always used to get annoyed when people would say "we are pregnant." I wanted to be like last time I checked - I, and not we, feel like throwing up all day. I, and not we, feel like Shamu. I, and not we, will have my genitals destroyed by the birth. WE are expecting a baby, but I am the one that is pregnant. Sorry for the tangent. What I was originally intending to say, was that when WE found out that I was pregnant, I knew that my husband would be an incredible dad. But It wasn't until I saw him in action, that I literally fell in love with him all over again. There is one particular moment that I will forever remember.
We were probably only a month into this whole parenthood thing. Charlotte was still sleeping in the bassinet in our room and one night…or should I say one early morning- it was about 3:00 AM, and I had just put Charlotte back in her bassinet – she was wrapped up like a little Chipotle burrito and was sound asleep. I hopped back into bed and was in an out of sleep when all of I sudden, I was awoken by a sudden movement to my left hand side.
I turned over and saw my husband sitting up in bed. He was using both of his hands to pull our comforter up towards his chest. He then protecting those bunched up blankets by cradling them in his arms…he was rhythmically saying “shhh shh shhh” and he was rocking back and forth and back and forth. I did a double take because it could only have been minutes that passed. I could have sworn I just put the baby back down. "Shhhh shhhh shhhh"..... he chanted.
I quickly looked over and saw Charlotte swaddled up in her bassinet sleeping deeply. Was I hallucinating? I turned back to my husband to see if i was in fact seeing what I thought I was seeing. I was. This wonderful, but very tired man was still consoling his imaginary baby.
“Babe….. Babe!!” I whisper yelled – loud enough for him to hear me, but not so loud as to startle the tiny grenade in the corner.
“Shhhh. Shhh… Shh….” he continued as he rocked the bundle of comforter perfectly cradled in his arms.
“Babe….dude…wake up” I whisper-yelled again as somewhat softly hit him on his shoulder.
He jumped, and stared at me, all while being very careful not to drop his child (bundle of blankets).
I wanted to supportively tell him that our baby was sleeping in her bassinet, but I was laughing uncontrollably. It was 3AM… I had slept negative 5 hours…I smelled like a garbage truck… and during this precious time when I should be sleeping, I was instead laughing so hard, I had to suffocate myself with my own blanket to avoid waking the baby.
He looked at me with the sweetest eyes, a little startled, appearing slightly embarrassed and said “Stoppppp” as he watched me practically pee in my already soiled pants.
To many, this is just a funny/cute story about the early days of parenthood. But this moment was a special one for me. It was one of the first moments during our newborn’s short life that I thought, “wow… we really are parents.” It was one of the first moments where I realized how all-consuming your love is for a child. It was one of the first moments that I laughed hysterically since our baby was born. It was a moment that made me feel incredibly lucky and grateful to have a supportive and involved husband. In that moment when my husband felt embarrassed that exhaustion had gotten him to this point, he had no idea, that I found him incredibly sexy. It was sexy to me because his exhaustion was a result of him being completely involved in Charlotte's life. It was sexy to me because it reminded me how lucky both Charlotte and I are to have this man who always wants to protect us.
While the sleep deprivation that comes with parenthood is real, it is also a reminder of how lucky we are to be in these roles. So for those of you Mommies and Daddies who smell like fresh baby vom and are completely exhausted, try your hardest to be thankful for the opportunity, because so many people out there are wishing and praying that they too will get the chance to fill these shoes.