‘I wanted to bash my baby’

accreditation

I have never felt so much rage, despair, frustration and resentment as I did that one early morning when my 7-month-old would just not sleep.

I lay in bed, my hands clenched and my body as stiff as board as I pictured myself walking into Cameron’s bedroom, grabbing him by his ankles and bashing his head against the wall.  I didn’t feel guilty or remorseful, instead I felt huge relief because now there was quiet and we could all sleep. 

We had been getting up 7 times a night for 10 weeks. I couldn’t function at work and would often arrive at work and not have a clue which route I had taken. I cried at the drop of a hat and my husband and I started fighting over silly things.  We had no social life as we couldn’t wait to get to bed because we knew we would be up all night. I loved Cameron but I didn’t like him and I was never going to have another child, after all, just having Cameron was the biggest mistake of my life!

The only sleepless baby?

I looked around me and all the other moms appeared so happy and content. Motherhood seemed to come naturally to them and their faces lit up when they spoke about their baby.

I on the other hand was wishing for my old life back where I didn’t have a baby and where I had my freedom and could just pick up my handbag and go.

I never confided in anyone.  I was afraid they would think of me as a bad mother – that I had failed as a parent.  I was afraid they would say ‘just pull yourself together’, or ‘it’s just a phase, he’ll eventually sleep through the night when he is 18 months’.

Instead I kept these emotions bottled up until that fateful early morning, and it was at this point that I realized I just couldn’t carry on like this any more and that something had to change.

Finding support

When I finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t coping and needed help, I felt huge relief sweep over me.

I signed up for a Baby Love workshop to learn how to get a proper routine going for Cameron. I was surprised to see another 10 couples sitting there, all of them with rings beneath their eyes, all of them looking exhausted and desperate.  In some sick way my spirits soared – I was not alone in this quagmire of sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation is a form of torture. Take back the control by implementing an age appropriate day time routine and sleeping pattern for your baby. Once we had successfully implemented our sleep training we had our life back, and because Cameron was well rested we were well rested and we could function on all levels, as husband and wife, as mother and father and as an employee. It worked so well for me I did it again with my second child and am now involved in organizing Baby Love workshops.

My biggest lesson I learnt is that it is okay if you are feeling this way about your baby.  It is okay to admit that you are not coping.  It is okay to ask for help.  It doesn’t mean you have failed as a parent or that you are a bad mom.

Have you ever felt desperate about sleepless nights? Did you find a solution?

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24