Print Shortlink

The Despair

Our younger child stopped sleeping through the night two months ago. Now, she wakes up every two hours some nights, or every hour on the hour, like a broken, sadistic alarm clock. Last night, it was every 15 minutes until 4am, then she was up at 530 for the day. Because she has a horror-film-scream (no build-up, no warning – just blood curtling right out of the gate), we’ve found that one of us has to sleep in her room, because otherwise, by the time we run to her room to tend to her, she will have already woken her sister, asleep in the room next door.

So my husband and I switch off who sleeps on the couch in her bedroom. It’s not ideal.

I think the loneliest time of parenthood must be 3am, awake with a child when you wish you could be asleep. A kind of despair sets in, especially when it’s still dark out. Even the sun has the decency not to be up at that hour.

During the daytime, I reach out to other mom friends with kids, in hopes someone knows someone who can sleep in this child’s room instead of my husband or me and get her back on a schedule. (We are not above throwing money at this problem.)

I send emails because I don’t have the energy to talk on the phone anymore.

“I am sinking,” I write. “I am in the weeds,” I write. “Help me,” I write.

“I will throw you a parade,” I say at the end of the emails, in hopes it will brighten the mood a bit, sound less desperate, less girl-on-the-ledge-about-to-step-off.

(For the record, I am not suicidal – way too tired for that. Am in a haze. Lost. Extreme fatigue can do that.)

No one has written back. Or, rather, a few have to say they’re sorry to hear it, “no sleep is the worst!” but so far, no recommendations for people to hire or classes to take or books to read.

Am a few nights away from enlisting the homeless lady in front of the Walgreens a few blocks away. “Wanna place to stay? Here’s a very comfy red velvet couch in the room of a sleepless infant. Good night and good luck.”

Leave a Reply