• Before getting to the peak of motherhood, I must survive the trenches of hard days
They say motherhood is filled with highs and lows. The highs might overshadow the lows, but it does not mean that the lows are few. I found myself in the troughs of motherhood the last couple of weeks as my son went through his eight-month regression.
Although not all children are the same, my child is the prime example from the textbook of baby’s sleep pattern. Sleep cycle in babies is a continuous thing as it hits during specific growth milestones.
Most books advise that babies go through three sleep cycles: passing the newborn stage, learning to sit and the crawling stage. These three growth stages are detrimental to a baby’s sleep pattern. My son went through the three-month sleep regression, the six-month sleep regression and now the eight-month sleep regression, right on cue.
The thing about the sleep regression that catches me unawares is the highs right before it hits. As the baby goes through a growth spurt, they tend to sleep longer. When my son goes through this phase, I am always excited, as he is at best an average sleeper. Then, wham! The slump of the cycle catches me unawares in the middle of the night!
This phase is hectic enough for the child, but it is downright exasperating for the parent. The sleepless nights, coupled with loss of appetite, call for short tempers and weariness. As proud as I am of him trying to climb over steps and trying to stand on his own during the day, I would easily get annoyed as he tried to climb over me during bed time.
Every day I found myself needing at least two hours by myself just to mellow out, but it was almost impossible. At eight months, my son has learnt to recognise my presence and absence. In my absence, he would cause quite a scene that I had to take him. With quite a few people to help man the child, I still found myself holding the baby at almost every hour.
I was exhausted, I was drowsy and I was lashing out at those around me. I tried hard to be the best parent I could be even in a bad state. The last bit of energy I had left was reserved for my son. For everyone else, I was a ferocious cyclone passing through. Looking back… I am not in the least bit sorry.
Everyone is collateral damage, as am I. Motherhood has taught me many things. Most of all, it has taught me patience for my child. I have learnt to control my short tempers for him. I have learnt to put his needs before mine, especially now as a baby. I have also learnt that I come second. After caring for him, I must take care of myself.
I will not be shamed for feeling low and depressed. I will not carry the guilt of not being the best version of myself in that moment. I am human, I have emotions, I have good days and bad days. None of it will last. Before getting to the peak of motherhood, I must survive the trenches of the difficult days.