It’s 2am and I’m sitting up in bed, breastfeeding my four-month-old son, running through in my head what I might say to you if I happen to bump into you on the stairs in our block of flats. I’m struggling to think clearly as we’re now into the second week of hourly wake-ups during the night.
No wonder sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. When we eventually come through this stage, perhaps I’ll be able to survive anything.
Last night was the worst. You decided to bang on the ceiling at 3.30am, as if that’s going to help. Then this morning, my husband and I received an email from the agents who manage our flats. You’d complained to them that our baby was keeping you awake at night. You suggested that we move our baby into the spare room, to avoid noise transference between the floors, so that your sleep wouldn’t be disturbed.
Reading this email generated a mix of emotions – shame quickly turned to guilt, then frustration, then anger and, finally, rage – how dare you? Aside from the advice that your baby should sleep in the same room as you until they are six months old to minimise the risk of cot death, why on earth would we move our baby into his own room early just so that you can sleep better? Why don’t you sleep in your spare room, if it bothers you that much? Or get some decent earplugs, perhaps?
My husband and I are very aware how awful it is to have your sleep disturbed. We genuinely do feel sorry for you. But the fact is, our baby boy is teething, so unfortunately there’s nothing we can do about it.
We can’t turn his volume down. We can’t reason with him. He’s a baby. Babies cry a lot. All we can do is make him feel safe, secure and loved. And eventually his sleep will improve.
Until then, please be patient and cut us a bit of slack. I had a traumatic birth, which I’m only just coming to terms with, and I haven’t slept properly in four months. And now, on top of everything, I’m stressing out about the noise because of your complaint, when all I should be focusing on is my baby.
It’s just one extra thing to worry about, which I really don’t have the energy for, as a new mum who is just trying to get through one day at a time.
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