As my recent blog posts may have hinted, I’m having a pretty rough time at the moment. Whenever I am awake in the wee small hours, I often find myself getting pretty angry that I’m doing this on my own. This is not what I signed up for. When I got pregnant I was in a relationship. When I gave birth I was in a relationship. I assumed that when my baby was 6 months old and having trouble sleeping, I would still be in that relationship, and would therefore have a bit of help and support in dealing with extreme stress and sleep deprivation. I also assumed that my family would be there to rally round, that I would have a whole hoard of people I could call upon to come and lighten the load, either by helping with housework, or looking after S while I had a break. The reality is that I assumed wrong. And when I’m so tired and so  fed up I can barely see, and I’m walking into door frames and pleading my child to please just go to sleep, I find myself pretty cross about that. Where are all these people who are supposed to rally around a new mum? Aren’t they supposed to be helping me? I’m not meant to feel this alone and isolated.
It’s times like this that I think I just need to take a step backwards and look at the facts, reminding myself why I prefer my current position to any possible alternatives. Count my blessings, as it were.
  • I may be the only person having to deal with S’s grumpy moods, but I’m also the only one who gets her regular cuddles, smiles and giggles. All her love is just for me and I don’t have to share.
  • As pointed out by numerous friends on numerous occasions, I’m actually doing pretty bloody well on my own. The whole “look how far you’ve come” argument really is valid, as evidenced by the “diary entries from early motherhood” posts I’ve put up lately.
  • I know from bitter experience that sadly we really are better off without S’s father – and that even when he was here, he didn’t help out with anything I would find useful at 3am. He bought us a cooker and then he buggered off, and it was the best thing for all concerned.
  • Most of my family might not be banging down the door to offer their help, but lots of other people are. My Home Start lady is truly amazing, and I have some of the best friends a girl could wish for, who I know will help if I ask.
  • Despite the current blip, and even for fleeting moments during the blip, S is a happy, healthy baby. I’d rather have this situation than one where she is less happy, less healthy, or perhaps in an unsafe situation.
  • I might be tired, but other mothers are dealing with much worse, more worrying and stressful situations than just a baby who is not sleeping well.
  • From what I’ve been told/reading lately, all babies go through an unsettled stage at 6 months. And at the moment a lot of babies are not sleeping well. There are a lot of sleep-deprived mamas on my Facebook; I’m not alone in this!
  • Despite having a hard time, I have not compromised my beliefs with regard to how I want to care for S. I have resisted the urge to dump her in the cot and run away! She has a slightly more frazzled, grumpy mummy, but she still has a mummy who gives her lots of cuddles and kisses.
  • As per yesterday’s post, this is a lesson in patience and acceptance. I’m doing my best to learn to just sit with it, take a deep breath and do what needs to be done – a life lesson that will no doubt come in very useful a few more times before S is old enough to fend for herself!
  • I’m knackered and fed up, but at least I’m not sleep deprived and having to get up and go to work in the mornings! If S keeps me up all night, I can always share her nap later in the day, or go to bed earlier the next night.
  • Because I’m alone in this, I don’t have to make an effort to maintain other relationships while I’m this tired and fed up. I would imagine couples going through this end up having an awful lot of arguments about nothing even vaguely important, because their fuse is too short to do otherwise! If I feel crappy I can cancel my plans with friends or family, and therefore avoid sniping at them over nothing.
  • There is nothing in this world more awesome right now, than the look on S’s face when she’s pulled a blanket over her face to play Peekaboo with me. And it’s just for me.
There are a million other blessings I could, and probably should, count, but I’m too tired to think of them. It helps to think of the positives though, and remind myself that right now I’m in exactly the right place, doing the right thing, with the right people around me. Everything happens for a reason, and I’m learning a lot from this experience. You learn a lot more, a lot more quickly, from uncomfortable situations.
I’m trying to keep telling myself this.

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Vicky is a mother, a blogger, a podcaster and a social media trainer. She writes about life as a single mother, parenting and lifestyle type things.


Caroline · 19/10/2012 at 09:39

I know it's been hard for you Vicky, and saying keep your chin up doesn't really help… but think about what an amazing example you're setting for your daughter, showing her how strong and independent a woman can be, and how much you love her through the sacrifices and choices you've made. I know it's hard now but when she's older she will so look up to you and know what

    Joe P · 18/10/2013 at 11:04

    What Caroline said. Totally.

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