I can confidently say that that was the hardest part about it all for me. I mean, there were plenty of other extremely trying things and things that confused, bewildered and frustrated me, but nothing that straight-up turned me into another person (and a bad one that I didn't like) quite like losing sleep.
Fast forward 5 years after the shock of new-motherdom and I would still say that the fatigue element is the hardest element. Of course I pen this after a night of constant bladder kicks from the gestating male, a 3-year-old who is capable of mid-night potty trips on her own but who insists on running in at 2 a.m. just to wake me up and let me know that they will be going (and demanding that I go with her), and the teething toddler screaming from her crib at ungodly early hours. It's no good when nights look like that, and they do oh so often.
The big difference between myself 5 years ago as a new mom and myself now is.... almost nothing.
I still freak out about being overly tired. I still wake up absolutely sure that I WILL NOT make it through the day and I still make sure to divulge every detail of the night to Mike in my most gruff tone the second he emerges bright and early at 7.
I do think, however, that I am inching along the path to eventual motherly maturity (if I continue at this rate, I should reach it's flourishing point some time after I die). Regardless, the one thing that I think I am learning about living life while half asleep -and while constantly wishing that I could just be sleeping- is that: it is ok.
I was talking to myself in the mirror today (because it's normal and you know you do it too). I was trying to plan out the rest of the day and deliver some sort of motivation to myself through positive self talk and just as I was about to give up on my own motivational speech out of total discouragement over the fact that there just wasn't any energy present to do the things I need to do, these words came out:
I'm going to be ok. I'm just going to be tired.
Saying it just made it better. The words themselves highlighted for me how ridiculous it is that simply being tired feels like such a crushing thing. Whenever Mike sees me on a day like today and asks if there is anything wrong, my standard reply of "I'm just so tired" always feels like the dumbest response, because, really? Do I even know what real fatigue is? I'm talking normal, pregnant, mother of small children fatigue, no sicknesses, no extreme circumstances are in play. And I am showcasing it that much that he even needs to ask if something is wrong? When the words come out and they just sound so trivial, so not a big deal. It's ok. It's sleep loss, it's not a terminal illness or a major life crisis. It's fatigue and not even fatigue at anything close to its worst.
It may be as simple for me as switching the emphasis in the complaint (never NOT complaining, ha!) from "I'm just so tired" to "I'm just tired". Taking out the "so" and emphasizing the "just" seems much more fitting and hopefully could help with the general change in perspective on my part. I am going to be tired, probably (hopefully!) for many, many more years of child bearing and rearing (God willing), but I am going to be OK. This is a reality that it just now sinking in (go ahead and laugh, it's ok).
Right about now you might be thinking that this is the most pointless blog post you've ever read, and that may be true, but it sure felt ground breaking for me.