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10 Things NOT To Say To Your Sleep Deprived Wife

Disclaimer Part 1: My husband is AMAZING during daylight hours, he just doesn’t hear anything at night??!! (see point 9)

Disclaimer Part 2: Inspired by my husband but not all of them ARE my husband….

Disclaimer Part 3: Good job my husband never reads this blog as I may come across a little bitter?

1) “I’m tired” Number one on the list. Literally NEVER, I repeat NEVER say this to your sleep deprived wife (or make ANY noise that remotely suggest you’re tired ie: yawning, stretching, groaning)….who has been up allllll night feeding/ rocking/shushing/singing/ jiggling/ patting/ trying not to make eye contact/ stroking/ dodging squeaky floorboards/wet wiping/ burping/ white noising……whilst YOU slept through. I can guarantee that you are not even half as tired as she is. In fact, she is the most tired person in the world ever. And don’t sugar coat it by saying “ahhhh Daddys tired today”. It will make your wife want to stab you……in a non violent loving way obviously.

2) “I understand what Sleep Deprivation feels like…..that one time when I was travelling/ drunk/ on a stag do/ staying in a hotel with an uncomfortable bed/ away for work”….you definitely don’t understand what sleep deprivation feels like (unless you have been tortured whilst in prison?), SHE is the only one in the world that knows what it feels like (and other Mums of non sleepers). You understand what a few rubbish nights sleep feels like whilst you still got to sleep BY YOURSELF.

3) “I can tell your tired”……basically saying that she is not her spritely/ loving/happy self….and she is maybe a little tetchy/ grumpy/ sensitive??!! Its on the same level of saying to a girl when she’s on her period “I can tell you’re on the blob” Just don’t say it.

4) “Oh you had a lie-in this morning”….when his alarm (yes a real alarm, not a baby) wakes him up at 7, he rolls over and sees you are “still” snoozing. Problem is, she has only just got back to sleep after being up at 11/12/1/2/3/4/5/6. Glorious lie in though.

5) “It was a good night last night”……how the f*ck do you know?? In fact, it was up there with one of the worst nights ever. You were just to busy snoring (see point 6) away to notice. You didn’t even notice when your wife was angrily huffing and puffing and muttering under her breath “I’ll fu*king get up then shall I?!”.

6) “Snoring”…technically not saying anything, but still a noise coming from your mouth. If you make any kind of noise whilst you are peacefully sleeping whilst your wife again is feeding/ rocking/ shushing/ burping/ pacing/ Googling sleep aids….she will want to punch you. I’m sorry.

7) “You look tired babe”….no shit!! She hasn’t slept since YOUR children have been born. Sorry she’s not the hot pot you thought you had married. Sorry she now looks like a shrivelled up old granny prune that’s aged about 50 years. Sorry she only has make up on one eye as she didn’t have time/ remember to do the other (not that make up will help her face at the moment anyway). Sorry she has forgotten how to dress as she’s too tired to remember what people in the outside world wear. Sorry she sprayed air freshener in the garden and tried to wash the bread as she was so confused. Sorry she talks about the Unicorn she saw coming out of the wardrobe last night. Sorry she calls you by the dogs name. Yes, she’s a little tired.

8) “I don’t hear anything in the night”…..hmmmmmmm that old chestnut (but actually true, its been tested it by strategically placing a screaming baby by your head at 3am). Although, you have heard enough to be able to move the pillow over your ears??? And check your phone…..yes she saw you.

9) “Why don’t you just get an early night tonight”…….pahahahaha she already goes to bed with the baby at 7.30pm.

10) ” I don’t know what you spend the money on all those sleep aids, they don’t work”……Obviously they don’t work. But DON”T try and take these away from her. Yes she may seem a little crazy but the white noise toy/ lavender spray/ special sleeping cream/ stuff in cot that smells like her/ muslin with milk on/ lucky sleep-suit/ lucky sleeping bag are the only things of “hope” she can cling onto during those long dark lonely nights.

NB: Im working on my resentment issues.

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Pregnancy, The Second Time Round

So this was how definite I was NEVER going to have another baby….. I threw out ALL my maternity clothes, most the baby clothes (well, kept the special ones….which worked out to be quite a few), told my husband we might as well throw out the baby car seat/ swinging chair/ mosses basket/ steriliser/ baby gym and definitely Euan the Dream Sheep as we were 100% never going to go through all that again.

We were to get a dog instead

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Well that all changed didn’t it??!!

It all started when I began to have these weird feelings. I wanted to look at babies in pushchairs, sometimes make faces at them. If I couldn’t catch a glimpse of the baby in the pushchair, I would feel devastated, like I had really missed out. I spoke to a few people and discovered that this ailment was called “broodiness”!!! Who knew! I had literally never experienced this before, not even before having Arlo.

Still, I didn’t want another baby…….

But then I started getting these feelings like it would be nice for Arlo to have a playmate (for his sake obviously, not me because I was MORE than happy with “just one”). Then a dog would actually suffice for this and I DEFINITELY didn’t want another baby.

Then people started to ask when I was going to give Arlo a brother or sister. I’d always been definite in my answer (eg. pet dog). But then I started to waver. Should I do it out of duty to Arlo?? Am I a bad mum for not creating another one for him to play with. No no no don’t be silly, Arlo LOVES dogs.

A couple of weeks later I was pregnant.

It was like my womb had sensed these wobbles and BOOM, had put a bun in the oven before I had the chance to say officially “hey, let’s try for another baby”

Snowboarding dreams out the window, gymnastics down the pan for a few months (years) and back to being fat and owning a milk farm. An AMAZING surprise of course, especially after how hard it had been to get Arlo:) We are so lucky!

 

Over the last 16 weeks I have been thinking more and more just how different a second pregnancy feels, and here’s what I’ve come up with:

Excitement/ DREAD
People keep asking me if I’m excited to be having another baby. Errrrr Yeah?! To be quite honest with you, I’m really freaking out. The first pregnancy, you ARE excited as you are so naive as to what is about to happen. Yes you have heard stories about the sleepless nights, the feeding, the crying, THE BIRTH (uh oh), but you really have no idea how hard it all is until you have done it. After Arlo, I would actually look at expectant first time mums in a different way…almost feel bad for them as they are all glowy and expectant, excited for their new journey. I would just think “you have no idea about whats about to hit you”. So now, second time round, I can honestly say the feelings of excitement are totally out weighed by the apprehension of the hurricane that is going to arrive with us in July. PLUS this time round it will be waaaaaaaay way harder as not only will I have a new born to look after, but a toddler too, yikes. So many people do it all over the world, so it must be possible:). Lets just pray for one a lot more mellow than Arlo was.

Someone posted a comment on one of my blogs once that kind of upset me at the time. It said something along the lines of “you only have one, you don’t know you are born until you have 2!” It did get me thinking, this guy was totally right. I’m sure I will look back on my “one child” days and realise how easy it was in comparison, and probably what an idiot I was to moan about how hard things were. I hope I didn’t upset too many people before. One thing for sure, I’m going to experience what he meant soon……….
NB. Same can be applied to mothers of 3/4/5 kids (brave) looking back on their “2 children” days. So I apologies in advance for saying 2 is hard.

Flip Side
On the flip side of this, I’m almost more excited, because you KNOW what’s to come.  Like you know how it feels now to see the first smile, first giggle, first “Mumma”. So I’m looking forward to that:) Actually really looking forward to that.

First Trimester
I had totally forgot just how horrendous the first trimester is. In fact, If I EVER (I will never, husband is getting the snip) say that I want a 3rd baby, just remind me of how I have felt for the last few weeks. Thats a birth control right there. I felt awful in my fist pregnancy too but I could wallow in it. I got signed off work for 3 weeks and I just lay in bed and watched Greys Anatomy eating ice cubes. I could nap when I wanted, rest when I wanted, actually I could pretty much do whatever I pleased. This time round (sure I feel worse?) but I’ve had to pull myself together, you have a toddler to look after Katie! And its been a struggle. Even though all I’ve felt like doing is lying on the sofa and crying, I’ve not wanted Arlo to miss out on all of his things (and think I’m a boring mum). So I’ve just plodded along, throwing up out of the car, in bushes and in super market aisles (soz Sainsburys). Luckily Arlo LOVES it when I’m sick, he thinks its the funniest noise ever and best game ever! He’s invented his own “mimc mums sick” noise, way cuter than mine I might add. Pretty much seeing any food in the early days would trigger the sick. So trying to feed your toddler 3 meals a day that he mushes up in his little fat hands and then regurgitates has been hard. I think you have to have a strong stomach at the best of times to feed a toddler!!! And the tiredness zzzzzzz A couple of times I’ve actually nodded off sitting up in the living room, to be woken to Arlo scaling the book self or creating a master piece on the kitchen wall. Everyday I cling onto the fact that Arlo might nap so that I can have an afternoon siesta too. Days he doesn’t, are loooong old days. 5am starts seem to be A LOT more of a struggle these last few weeks too. Needless to say I’m tucked up in bed with a glass of milk and hot water bottle by 8pm. ROCK AND ROLL

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Does this make you feel sick???

Saying all this though, I am starting to feel a bit better and get my motivation for life back. Spring is in the air. The days seem less depressing and I can eat more (like 10 billion bowels of cereal a day). I’m emerging out of my black hole.

Sacrifices
First time round we were REALLY trying for a baby (even though it was still a surprise that it actually happened….long story), it was the thing we wanted the most in the whole wide world. So I was almost mentally prepared that I would have to give up snowboarding/ gymnastics/ my life/ my body for a bit. Granted, it took A LOT longer than expected to get back to these things. Second time round, I really felt like I had just about started to get my life back, I had plans, goals, aspirations and then all of a sudden in 2 mins flat, that all changed completely. I wasn’t prepared. And I’m under no illusions this time…..”I’ll pop the sprog out and be back to gymnastics within a couple months”. Yes, I said that. All these sacrifices are minimum though in the BIGGER picture. I need to remember that…..and stop crying over snowboard pictures on Instagram.

The Bump
I actually started to get a bump about 8 weeks. Now, one could argue that this could well have been “Christmas”, but by 12 weeks I was pretty much the size I was last time at 20 weeks. Now at 16 weeks I look like I might actually give birth. You really do seem to get bigger quicker second time round. Apparently your stomach muscles don’t back from the first time, so all those sit ups in the gym were alas in vain:( The sickness was good I guess in that I lost a bit of weight at the start to set me in good stead for the fattening. But oh my, I am making up for lost time now. I can’t keep growing at this rate surely as by full term I will look like a fully obese hippo that’s eaten another hippo.

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Christmas???

Emotions
I’ve always been pretty soft and emotional. Since having a child you get even softer. Every bad thing that happens in the world now you just relate it back to your baby. All the charity adds on the TV, the stories of children/ mums in the newspapers, kids getting ill, mums getting ill, families being torn apart, kids loosing teddies, accidents……….everything just hits you more now as you can relate to it. Throw a second hormonal pregnancy into the mix, wow I’m a blubbering wreck. Who knew that the movie Shrek was such a tear jerker. Or crisp packet floating in the wind was so beautiful. And meeting Father Christmas, well that just finished me off. The stupid mechanical Reindeer even got me. Sure I wasn’t like this last time? Rich??

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Mum Guilt
My first feelings after finding out I was pregnant this time (well after holy cr*p)  was guilt towards Arlo. It was like I had cheated on him. HE was our baby, the most important thing, and now we have gone and created another one that was totally going to change his life…and the poor little thing doesn’t even know it yet (tried to show him the scan photo but he just screwed it up and ate it, then put it in his potty, hopefully this isn’t a taste of things to come). He’s been our world and now someone’s going to have to share that with him.
I feel guilty just thinking about things that are going to happen when the new baby arrives…….not as much attention for Arlo, he will miss his socialising, he will miss all his activities, crying baby all night, feeding ALL THE TIME, he’ll have to share his room, share his toys, share me!
I also feel guilty because I’ve become a rubbish mum since I’ve been preggers. Just lost my motivation for everything. The TV has pretty much been on constantly and I have been doing a lot of lying on the sofa whilst Arlo has been running riot around the living room. When times are particularly bad, out comes back to back episodes of Peppa Pig on Netflix, Arlo’s drug to make him sit still and cuddle me. I have turned my son into a couch potato:(
And I feel guilty because I just can’t imagine how I could possibly love another child as much as Arlo. Or that he will feel replaced.

Time limit
Where as before you were happy to let your child develop at his own pace, no rush, when you are expecting another, you start thinking about all these things you need to get your first child to do BEFORE baby number 2 arrives. I need to get Arlo into a good place. He needs to not wake ready for the day at 4.30/5am, he needs to be potty trained (visions of me breast-feeding at the same time as rushing Arlo to toilet to do a sh*t), he needs to be sleeping in a toddler bed (we need your cot mate!), he needs to be able to walk where we want him too so I don’t have to retrieve him from bins and bushes. Would love to train him to make me a cup of tea, but will give that time.

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As far as potty training has got

No fuss, no worries
The first time you’re pregnant you feel so special. Everyone’s fussing over you and it’s such a big thing. Second time round, it’s like you just have to get on with things. There has definitely been less bump touching, attention and pampering from my husband (where’s my foot massage??!), and to be honest, I forget most of the time as we are both so busy with a toddler and life we don’t get a chance to think about it. This makes me less worried this time round as it slips my mind that I’m “with child” until I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and remember “oh hey fatty”. It’s really nice at work though as it’s the FIRST time they have seen me pregnant (I changed jobs since last pregnancy). So it’s like having the fuss of my first pregnancy all over again. That gives me my fix twice a week.

The Future
Now you’ve done it before, so you know what you’re doing right??!! But I feel like I’ve forgotten everything already. The baby stage seems so long ago already. Hopefully it will all come back to me:) Also, I just can’t get my head round how logistically things are going to work with 2….I already need to take a small suitcase with me wherever I go, will I need a lorry? What happens if both are crying at the same time, or get up in the night at the same time, or poo explosions at the same time, food shopping WITH 2, swimming with both of them (maybe not)……I guess you just figure it out and DO IT. And you must remember to have a lot of admiration for people with 3 children. One thing is for sure, at the birth (oh dear lord I’ve got to do that again) I am going to take allllll the drugs they offer me this time. Don’t need to experience that again.

For now, I want to actually leave the house more and commence operation “be a better mum”

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Sleep Deprivation, Worse than Childbirth??!!

It’s a very bold statement to make, but I feel sleep deprivation is hands down the worst thing about being a Mum. Dare I even say it, I think it’s worse than the childbirth itself!?

I have a very wise friend that once told me when you have children, you will never sleep again. I wish I had listened to her.

The same wise friend urged me whilst in my final stages of pregnancy, to “get as much sleep in as you can now, because once the baby is born, you will never sleep again”. Once again, I wished I had listened to her.

But oh no, I was far too busy trying to squeeze in as many different activities and socializing before the baby arrived as I was worried that THESE would be the things I would miss. I felt like it was a race against time to juggle everything in before my life was changed forever. To be honest I was pretty burnt out by the end. Never mind, I could rest once the baby arrived right???!!!!

Silly silly me!!!

Looking back on my pregnancy now, I wish I had dedicated some solid days to just lying in bed, not a care in the world, vegging out on chocolate, watching trashy TV and SLEEPING, whenever I felt the need (imagine the luxury). Little did I know that doing NOTHING would be the activity I would miss the most.

Now let me tell you about my childbirth and how in hindsight this now seems like a small hiccup in comparison to the slow torture that is sleep deprivation……..

Birthing a real human through a small hole is really horrendous. Pre Eclampsia, early induction, unable to break waters (how many different tools/ hands do you want to put up there??!), 14 hours of contractions every 3 mins, 3 hours of pushing, ventouse, forceps, stuck baby with fat head, literally trying to yank him out with hands as I pushed, back to forceps, episiotomy, distressed baby, emergency spinal, hemorrhaging, forceps again, baby not breathing…….jaundice, tongue tie, low blood sugar, heel pricks every 3 hours, problems feeding, pretty much morphing into a cow at a dairy farm, blood transfusion, episiotomy gone wrong………….ALL IN A DAYS WORK!!

But do you know what? I would do it all again if it meant I could sleep (although please don’t get any ideas husband).

Luckily females have a hormone (apparently) that helps you to forget child-birth. That’s why ladies go back for round 2….3…and sometimes even 4!! It has taken a while for mine to kick in, but the traumatic memories are slowly fading. Yes it was pretty horrendous, but it’s done within couple of days. Yes you are left with some “problems” but they too get better over time (I really hope so anyway). But the lack of sleep stays with you…….for how many years I’m not sure.

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And sleep deprivation is a cruel mistress. It takes over your life in every way. Sleep becomes the main focus of your life…….how much sleep have you had? When can you next sleep? I’m so tired. Must compare how many hours sleep I’ve had with other mums. No body else can possibly be as tired as me. Actually want to kill anyone without kids who says they are tired….. YOU DONT KNOW THE TRUE MEANING OF TIREDNESS (although pretty sure I was one of these). Do I have caffeine to stay awake? But then if I do and the baby sleeps then I’ve screwed it up because now I’m wired. Torn between sleeping when the baby sleeps or actually being productive and getting sh*t done. Must creep round the house like a Ninja. But messed it all up anyway as now baby is fast asleep in the car and I have to stay parked with the engine running for the next hour. OMG I’m so tired. It’s literally the end of the world. I’m such a bad mum because I’m too tired to try and be a good mum.

NB: It’s worth to note here that after having a baby you are showered with gifts, for the baby and yourself. People are just all into the new baby/ new mum thing. Months down the line, the presents have stopped, but the sleep deprivation is still there. No ones giving you presents now though.

I don’t think I slept for longer than a 2 hour stretch for the first 8/9 months of my baby’s life. Actually, 2 hours uninterrupted sleep was pretty good going at some stages. Sometimes the wake up call came as often as every 30/40 mins. At the start it was almost a novelty. I had heard of the sleepless nights and It was almost exciting getting up at the start “wooohooo I have a baby, I’m up in the night, I’m a real mum, he’s so beautiful, look at me doing the mum thing and tending to him through the night”……….a few weeks later you begin to realise this isn’t going to stop. It’s not getting better, if anything it’s getting worse. The novelty has totally worn off, and you can’t actually see an end to it. There is NO light at the end of the tunnel.

I feel the lack of sleep totally changed me as a person. It took me to some dark places. Please don’t hate me, but once I threw Lenny the Lion “angrily” into his cot whilst he was in there (not sleeping). It didn’t hit him, but that was a real low point for me. I was now a child abuser:(

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Following on from this anger thing. You become very angry with people who say they are tired. I remember my husband came downstairs one morning after I’d already been up every hour in the night with our baby, and he said to us (whilst yawning) “ahhhh Dadda’s tired this morning”……… actually wanted to divorce him right there and then!!!! If he had been helping in the nights I would have been sympathetic, but men have this amazing ability to sleep through babies crying??!

Although everything is blown way out of proportion in those sleep deprived days, problems/ arguments are magnified. Im pleased to report we did not divorce after this incident.

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Sleep dreprivation changes your perspective on life, taints everything. The world becomes very grey. I become negative and introverted. I was a shadow of my former self, my personality had been replaced by an aliens. A bland/ boring alien at that. I just felt like I couldn’t carry on some days and didn’t know what to do with myself. This led to massive chocolate binges and repeats of Jeremy Kyle…………….and the downward spiral of internet shopping.  Impulsivity is a SERIOUS medical condition (google it) caused by sleep deprivation. After bad nights, the next day the amazon packages would start rolling in (did I sign up to Amazon Prime? God knows). Literally would have no idea what I had ordered. My husband would get angry and make me return them all, even though I tried to explain to him that I had a serious medical condition!! Most packages followed a “sleep aid” theme.

After months surviving on 3 to 4 hours of broken sleep a night, I looked at myself and thought “how am I actually still going??!”. I decided that perhaps I just didn’t need sleep anymore. It it truly amazing what women can do. You survive because you have to and have no choice, your body just gets used to it. You can’t remember what its like to not be tired, so tiredness feels normal. You kinda exist in the weird zombie/ dream/ drunk/ stoned like state that becomes the new you. But It’s never ending, relentless. You can’t think straight, simple decisions become so complicated. Simple tasks become rocket science. Theres no break, there’s no night off. No matter how tired you are you just have to keep going. You’re baby needs you! You’re on your own out there. The nights are especially lonely. Wow sorry that’s all become pretty deep.

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Even though you feel like giving up, you can’t. So you push yourself to carry on with things as normal. Although its such an effort and you really have to force yourself. Just mentally feeling very detached from all activities. socializing is hard work, especially with friends that don’t have children. You try to pretend you are normal, but I found it so hard to concentrate on conversations, make jokes, ask questions (non baby related), just generally not act like a total weirdo. Then I would get paranoid that they would think I was a total weirdo and not want to be friends with me anymore. It’s good to hang out with other mothers in a similar state because then at least you can talk about sleep (lack of it), and that makes you feel better somehow. Plus they don’t think your totally unhinged when you stare at them blankly when they ask you if you have sugar in your tea. Such a difficult question.

Then a miracle happens, you get one nights good sleep (by this I mean sleeping for longer than a 2 hour stretch…maybe 3 hours?!), and the world is a brighter place.  There are beautiful flowers everywhere, the sky is so blue, you are so lucky and there is a spring in your step. Everything is going to be ok. Just that one night is enough to sort you out…..for a bit. Then it starts again and you’ve totally jinxed yourself by telling people that you think you’ve turned a corner. You can never quite reach that corner.

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Then you start doing odd things. It starts with putting things in weird places, remote in fridge, milk in washing machine, dog in cot, that kind of thing. Then it leads to more exotic things like only realising by the end of the day that you’ve only drawn one eye brow on. Or genuinely forgetting your name/ babies name/ address/ birthday when someone asks you. Eventually it leads onto quite dangerous things like misjudging corners in car parks, forgetting to put the baby into the car, genuinely forgetting how to get home. Then the hallucinations start. I swear I saw the “Ghost of Christmas Past” coming out of our wardrobe door one night….

At that point I knew something had to be done……the poor lad must be exhausted, I was exhausted! I was looking at other mothers and seeing how productive they had been with their maternity leave. Started a business, making things, baking, DIY on the home, writing books……I just couldn’t get my head round how I could possibly do anything apart from try and survive. I felt I could be a better mother if I just had a little bit more sleep.

So at 9 months , I decided to do some sleep training. Some people don’t agree with this at all, but I just HAD to do something, or at least try (don’t worry, this did not involve vodka in his milk).

But now he’s sleeping (ish, 4am wake-ups are a breeze in comparison) I’M NOT BLOODY SLEEPING!!! Whats wrong with me?! I think I need sleep training. I never realised this side of things. Mothers are so in tune with their babies that they can never switch off. I find that I’m always on “the edge” of sleep, never quite relaxing enough to pass into a deep sleep……”just in case”. I wake up at ANY noise, even though I have ear plugs shoved so far down my ears they are practically in my brain (mother of the year). I’m finding I can even sense when he’s about to wake up when I’m in a different bloody country……am I actually physic??!

Back to my very wise friend again….she has an app on her phone that monitors how much you sleep in a night and when you go into proper sleep. During the whole night, she only slept PROPERLY for 20 mins! No wonder mothers are always tired.

Now I’m thinking long term. There will ALWAYS be things that keeps your baby (and you) up in the night, no matter how much sleep training you do. So just when you think you’ve cracked it, something else happens. Teething, sickness bugs, nightmares, sleep crying, coughing, baby raves in cot with glow sticks at 3am??!! Fear of the dark, monsters under bed, wet the bed, sleep overs with midnight feasts! Drinking too much White Lightening (we’ve all been there), jumping out of bedroom windows (just me??), picking up from night clubs and break ups with girlfriends/ boyfriends. Travelling around the world, running out of money, lost passport, accidental tattoos?! So I have come to the conclusion that YOU may never sleep again once you have a child, because your sleep is not your own anymore. Your child’s welfare will always be your priority over your own sleep. And we will always worry about them no matter how old or where in the world they are. We are programmed to wake up when they need us.

So I wonder if my wise friend was right, once you’re a mother you will never sleep again? She is, after all, very wise (and has 2 children, how on earth do mums cope on no sleep when they have a toddler to look after too?????)

At least childbirth was over in a couple of days. The lack of sleep I fear could last a lifetime.

PS. It’s taken me so long to write this because I’ve been tired!!!

PPS. Don’t be fooled by all the lovely sleeping baby photos in this blog!

PPS. It is all worth it though, one smile and you forgive anything;)

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