The truth about parenting sleep deprivation

sleep-deprivation-lifebylotte You will start writing this post eighteen times before finishing it.

A 'good' night will be one when you sleep for more than three hours in a row. You will feel like superwoman after this night. Ideas will flow, ambitions will be unsurpassed. YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO ANYTHING THAT DAY.

If your baby does decide to sleep for more than three hours in a row, you'll be terrified they've died. So you won't be able to sleep anyway because you'll keep leaning over their cot to hear them breathe, and probably waking them up in the process.

People will ask you how your weekend was, and you will have absolutely no idea. Even though it's only Monday.

Mothers whose babies sleep through the night will offer you unsolicited pearls of wisdom and you will understand what it is like to feel murderous rage. Topped off with a side of shame and failure.

'Have you tried a bedtime routine?' *headdesk*

It will become a twisted badge of honour to proclaim to anyone who will listen: 'Well, I didn't even sleep well when I was pregnant. So technically I haven't slept through the night since LAST JULY! Ha ha ha!'

Your dreams, when you have them and actually remember them, will have you considering a course of therapy... 'I did what with WHO?'

If you succumb to co-sleeping in desperation, you may wake your partner one night in a panic and scream 'where's the baby? WHERE'S THE BABY?' while pawing at the bed in the dark, not realising that she's actually - shock horror - happily asleep in her OWN COT.

Co-sleeping will turn you into the Hunchback of Notre Dame. So long as the baby's comfy right?

One night in the depth of the antisocial hours, you will pick up your partner's arm, instead of the baby, and try to put it back in its cot*. You will yank it and yank it and wonder why it isn't moving. Your partner will be so tired he will barely notice.

Many an evening will come when, while trying to get the baby to sleep using tried-and-failed methods such as shushing and stroking, you will fall asleep yourself.

You will shush until you faint.

No sheep will ever let you down like Ewan the Dream Sheep. Promised so much, delivered so little.

You will look back on the nights pre-baby when you had a mild bout of insomnia, or a bit of jet lag, and remember how you felt you WERE SO TIRED YOU COULDN'T FUNCTION. And you will laugh hollow laughter as you inject coffee into your eyeballs and try to do life admin while looking after a screaming baby, having slept for about thirty five minutes the previous night.

There will come at time when, at 4am and when your infant is singing away to herself with no intention of sleeping, you will burst into tears. And you'll just go for it. Really let loose - proper sobs. Accompanied by cries of: 'It's not fair! IT'S NOT FAIR! WHY DOESN'T SHE WANT TO SLEEP!!'. And your baby will be so shocked at the noise, she'll shut up and fall asleep.

Hunt-the-dummy in the pitch dark will become your newest and most hated game.

There will be approximately sixteen dummies in your bedroom - in the cot, in your bed, under your bed, in your hair... yet you will never be able to find one before the crying escalates to screaming.

You will consider using earplugs to drown out your baby's night-time singsongs but then be terrified of accidentally dropping one in their cot and having them swallow it. You will ball your fists as you realise even these small solutions are denied to you.

Your baby will often decide that the day should start at 5.30am. Nothing you do will persuade her to go back to sleep. So you will begrudgingly get up, pour yourself an enormous mug of tea, rub your eyes and entertain her, only to have her YAWN at you. For real.

Every now and then your baby will shock you by not waking up at her usual time in the middle of the night. But of course you still will. Ha ha.

*I actually did this. Sorry Oli.

Find out the truth about life with a newborn >