Staying up late is my favorite! I’m a night-owl, always have been. Put me in bed with a glass of wine, a book, and a cozy blanket and I am in the place where I feel most myself. There’s something about the dark and the comfort of my bedroom that brings me such a content feeling. There is no outside noise of the world. There is no outside chatter of others. There is no colliding energy of communities and crowds. In the dark, there is only me.
Late nights make me happy, plain and simple. It’s the “me” time I don’t get during the day. I look forward to it. You would think my love for late nights would make me the best mom of an infant who doesn’t sleep. And if you think that, you would be wrong! Okay, he sleeps a little. But at 4 months old, I hoped he would sleep more.
My first child woke up every 2-3 hours for the first 10 months of her life. I decided I was going to be blessed with one of those unicorn babies who sleeps for 12 hours consistently at 2 months old. After all, I had earned it! I paid my dues with my first baby and there was no way I would have another poor sleeper. I set this thought in motion. There was NO way that I would be given two babies in a row who don’t share the same appreciation of sleep as me. It just wasn’t possible.
The world laughed a lot at that little fantasy I created in my mind. Isn’t it funny how you don’t get to decide? Yeah, my wishes were shattered with my new-ish little baby. It turns out he wakes up a lot in the night, too! Actually, I think he wakes up more than my daughter did. With no end in sight, I end up having a lot of thinking time in the middle of the night. So when I am too tired to read off of my Kindle, I sit and think. Not on purpose, mind you. I would rather let my thoughts rest, but my brain doesn’t listen.
Some of the nights are hard. My baby just won’t settle and I’m up at all hours. I’m lucky to sleep for an hour and a half straight! Those nights are frustrating and trying. I have to remind myself that this stage won’t last. I have to remind myself that some day in the not so distant future, I will wish for these sleepless nights back. But in the moment I just want to hire a night nanny. Is that asking too much?
But then there are other nights. Nights where my baby boy sleeps for 3 or 4 hours and when I wake up with him, I feel SO well rested. I’m actually serious. These nights are different. They actually feel good. I don’t mind being awake. I feel clear and in my element. My house is calm and peaceful. Everyone is soundly asleep and I feel overwhelmed with love and gratitude for my little family. And on those nights I don’t mind the late night wake-ups. I relish them. It’s like time stands still. I’m able to really take it all in.
And it’s often overwhelming. While around me everything is still and quiet, I am filled with so much gratitude and love while I listen to that silence that I could burst. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that the absence of sounds and voices could speak such volume in my heart. It’s these times when everything is completely motionless that all of my feelings swirl inside me and start to swallow me up. Those quiet, dark, hours in the middle of the night leave me with the biggest internal buzzing. I’m always confused at how I could feel such contradicting feelings.
Being up in the middle of the night with an infant is SO hard. When I can’t find a way to keep the fussiness at bay and it seems there is nothing that will make my child happy, I wonder how people do this five, six, or seven times over. Sometimes I get easier nights where my little dude only wakes up two or three times (gasp!) and he goes down easy. It’s those little moments that make me realize that this is a part of the journey that I am lucky to have. These moments give me reflection time that I wouldn’t otherwise have, and for that I am thankful. These instances have given me time to really connect to my creativity as well. It’s nights like these ones that inspired the words written below. In fact, I wrote this poem in the middle of the night when I was feeling these feelings and thinking these thoughts.
In the Dark
In the darkness
In the quiet
Lost but right where I belong
In the silence
I hear whispers
So familiar like a song
Whispers of gratitude
Of comfort and knowing
All is well, my babies sleep
This quiet reassurance echoes
In my heart
But it doesn’t make a peep
The love surrounds me
Just like my pulse, it flows inside
But lives out here
In peaceful shadows
Sight unseen but cannot hide
So to the mamas who are up in the middle of the night: I am there with you. Think of all the moms and dads around the world up with their babies, too! We are awake together, in the dark. And maybe, just maybe, you can find some peace in those late night or early morning hours, too. Maybe you can find some connection and tranquility amidst the chaos that is life with an infant.