It’s amazing how little sleep can make your feel absolutely crazy and like a shell of a human being. I don’t really like the analogy of feeling like a zombie because that’s the stuff of nightmares, and nightmares eventually end. When you’re in the middle of it all, taking care of a baby doesn’t seem to have an end. It’s a round the clock gig. And for someone who’s life was basically one big break for awhile, it’s taken quite a bit of adjusting. And, when I say adjusting, I mean more like grinding up and spitting out.
Lydia woke up at some point in mid-October and thought that the newborn schedule of nursing every 2.5 hours sounded really great again. She decided that sleeping for 5-7 hour stretches at night without being close to Mom was for the birds. And, me, being the dope that I am rationalized this away as a growth spurt….that lasted a week, and then 2, and then 3 and then 6.
At night all I wanted was to sleep and it felt like foolishness to let her scream for an unknown amount of time when I knew exactly what she wanted. And, just like that I was stuck in the trap. It took me hitting rock bottom, not once but twice, in order to surrender and figure out how to get ourselves out of this dysfunctional and unsustainable cycle.
The first time I broke was right before what would have been Brooklyn’s 2nd birthday. Lydie decided to wake up almost every hour for an entire night. The lack of sleep my body was experiencing led me to not even be able to sleep when she would finally fall asleep for an hour or so at a time. I was miserable. My amazingly kind parents came over to help me get some sleep. And I think this is when the questions of, “Do you see me God? Do you hear me?” began to grow from whispers to shouts. We watched the date of Brooklyn’s 2nd birthday come and go and were physically unable to do anything to remember or honor her – other than simply remember. It was so painful to let that day pass by. My cries for rest and rescuing seemed to be met with only silence.
Or, so I thought.
Two weeks later, the night before Thanksgiving, Bug thought that waking up every hour thing sounded like fun again. The morning of Thanksgiving I was a sobbing, yelling lunatic. And the questioning started to sound more like accusations. I had resigned to bathe in my own self-pity. Embarrassing, faithless words came out of my mouth. Things like, “Haven’t we been through enough? Was our experience with babies doomed to always be difficult? Why couldn’t we just have an ‘easy’ baby?” I was having such a hard time enjoying Lydie. I was so focused on her sleep issues that I was missing out on the gift that she is, in a big way. And it felt like grief. I wanted nothing more than to enjoy my baby and my experience as a Mom. After all, it’s been a long road here. Add a layer of guilt to my grief and my discouragement felt debilitating.
The evenings were the absolute worst. At most times in life evenings bring rest, or at least the hope of rest and sleep soon, but for me it felt like I was about to step into the battle field when all I wanted was to find the refresh button.
One evening while my Mom was here to help, I laid in bed crying. I had no words, my tears had to be enough to carry my cries and prayers for help. I wanted a play-by-play or at least some assurance that this sleeplessness would not last forever. I was caught in these questions. When will this let up? Do I have to take charge? Can I really trust His governance? His guidance? It was somewhere in that exhausted drifting off place that other questions came up from my spirit to meet the others swirling around in my heart. Is there any difference in how I would live if I knew? Or, can actively believing the truth that He sees, He knows, and He has a Way manifest themselves in the very same way that knowing in some concrete fashion would? A little peace, a little hope to carry me to sleep.
That night-nap was not the end of my crying, or wrestling with releasing my idealistic view of what I wanted parenting to look like with Lydia, but it was the beginning of hearing again. And, maybe even more importantly it was the beginning of turning the focus back to what He has for me in all of this instead of being so fixated on what I wasn’t experiencing. I remember the first hours and days of Lydia’s life I wanted nothing more than for her to be as comfortable as possible. I kept hearing the reassuring words of, “Suffer with”. What an important and valuable role of a parent. To learn how to just be in the uncomfortable with another being even in light of your crazy desire to rescue and make it all better. It’s that intense kind of love that held Him to the cross. And it’s that intense kind of love that creates the strongest bonds between two hearts. After two weeks of newly sleep-filled nights as a result of doing some sleep training with the little Bug, my attention has been drawn this Advent season to the bond that He has created with me through His willingness to come and “suffer with” His people…with me. After giving birth not so long ago, the concept that the God of the universe came to us through the messy womb of a humble woman, in a smelly, undignified stall of animals is mind-boggling. He subjected himself to everything that we ourselves are subject to in this broken world, in our broken spirits, in our broken bodies. He knows what it’s like to be poor, to be a refugee, to face persecution, hunger, to be beaten and stabbed. He knows what it’s like to be dead.
Who is this king that He would come to us, to suffer with us, for us? Oh to meet This Wonder soon.
O wisdom, Lord and ruler, Root of Jesse, Key of David, Rising Sun, King of the Nations, Emmanuel, Come Lord Jesus.