Sleep deprivation is a form of torture. The victim is forced to stay awake. And without sleep, the victim’s mind slowly snaps.
Welcome to parenting guys!
One of my biggest concerns about the babies coming home was sleep deprivation. I don’t do tired well – at all! I can’t meditate properly, I become restless, irritable, and grouchy. I’m no fun to be around. And I hate feeling that way.
Our trio were born at 33w 3d. So, for a short while, they just fed and slept. I remember smugly reporting to a workmate how cruisy the baby deal may be. Then, around the 40w mark, they realised they were out. They woke up and found their lungs. And sweet Jesus, could they make some noise!
Then, with my wife breastfeeding, I was able to get some sleep in the early evening. But it didn’t last long. I was needed. Then, one night, my wife fell asleep feeding a baby. It’s dangerous to do so. So, from then on, I had to keep my wife awake while she fed. That’s every three hours. Roughly half an hour per baby. That’s an hour and a half sleep between feeds. Trying to get back to sleep once I was awake wasn’t easy. Especially with hoover noises playing on YouTube to settle them back down.
I became a zombie. I went past the stage of being agitated. I was in a state of slow meltdown. My head hummed with a low-level vibration. I had to work full time as a welder in a physical job. I honestly didn’t think I was going to survive my family. I used to sit in my car crying when I got home from work. Knowing that when I walked through the door, it was my turn to take over. It was tough beyond anything I had ever experienced.
But I had to remind myself of the bigger picture. I had become a father. And rule one, as I realised, was that there were going to be sacrifices. Okay, temporarily losing my mind was a shock to the system, but my wife needed me. She was dealing with them all day whilst I was at work.
So I tried to make the most of my situation. And I did that by bonding with my girls. I used to wear earplugs so I could stay calm on my shifts. This, in turn, calmed them down. I took over doing the baths and played them my favourite music. I sang to them and talked to them because they had become my world. And the more I bonded, the more I accepted the insane cards I had been dealt.
I had to let go of the resentment that I was feeling. It would have only damaged my relationship with them.
It did get easier once they dropped their feeds. And I got my mind back. Life just changed, but it was one hell of an experience. One that I look back on with a sense of achievement. I overcame the pressures I faced and did what I had to do for my daughters. And it’s an experience all dad’s must go through.
As was said to me by a fellow triplet dad when I aired my early concerns on a Facebook group, “You’ll sleep when you’re dead.”
Here’s a link to the meditation that helped me deal with the pressures of new fatherhood.