Isn’t it funny how the one thing you likely need more than anything else while recovering from childbirth and adjusting to a new child is the one thing that instantly vanishes the minute that baby is born? No matter how many children you have or how many other parents you talk to, there is no way to prepare for the lack of sleep that is to come. On the positive side, at least you aren’t alone while making your way through the stages of sleep deprivation. You will always be able to find other moms who are in the trenches with you or who remember the details all too well.

  1. Adrenaline Junkie

Wow! This is amazing! She is so adorable! We MADE her! Can you believe it?!?

A brand new baby has the ability to put you in a state of euphoria that can resemble a drug induced high. And really this is likely nature’s way of making sure you take care of your little, fresh out of the womb, perfect baby. Their smell alone fulfills something primal in you that can carry you for days without the need for sleep or even caffeine. Why would anyone ever say this is hard? I’m not even tired!

  1. Awake Alice

After a few days at home, the reality of no sleep and its physical toll starts to awaken you from your infant induced state of mania. You are no longer in your own magical world of the hospital room being waited on 24 hours a day and you begin to realize that normal life has indeed continued outside of those walls. Maybe you do in fact need more than 4 hours of sleep in a 72 hour window? And dare I say it….maybe the most beautiful baby in the world that you first held days ago is now starting to resemble a cross between an alien and an old man whose demands for you seem to only increase with each passing hour. But it’s ok! Because while you are tired, this is totally do-able. Right?

  1. Just Call Me Killer

You’re up again, for the 7th time tonight, nursing an always hungry parasite for the 900th time today while “helpful hubby” is there next to you. Sleeping. Perhaps even snoring. I assure you that thoughts of smothering him with your pillow are in fact normal. So is ‘accidentally’ waking him up just so you can feel a tiny bit better about the situation. Your rational mind tells you that you’re crazy and being overly emotional. You go back and forth about how you can do things different tomorrow night to try and entice baby to go even just a little longer between feedings and how you can stop mentally murdering you spouse. Then you realize that these conversations you are having with yourself may just be the most terrifying symptom of all.

  1. Second Wind

Yes, this isn’t easy. In fact it’s downright difficult, but you knew that going into this. You heard the stories about no sleep, but all of your friends and family are still alive to tell them so you too will get through this. You start to read everything you can about infant sleep and ways to cope. You look at statistics about when the average baby starts to sleep through the night. You realize that as long as your baby fits the ‘normal’  mold, and why wouldn’t she, then you only have 97 more days of until you will be back to your normal, sleep-through-the-night self. 97 days! That’s nothing in the grand scheme of things! Bring it on baby.

  1. The Pit of Despair

Day 97 came and went. You can’t remember what it feels like to sleep more than a handful of hours at a time. Your body hurts, your memory is gone and you fear for your sanity. You Google death by sleep deprivation and purchase 5 more infant sleep books. You despise cheery people and give up trying to hide the dark circles under your eyes. You cry during commercials and your emotional state makes you fear that you may be pregnant. Nope, just going crazy. Thank God.

  1. Acceptance

One day this baby will have to sleep. A 16-year-old won’t wake their parents several times a night for a drink of water, for reassurance or because their legs get stuck in the slots of their bed. By now you’ve created new friendships with your local coffee shop baristas and you’ve given up the dream that you will be able to get through your day without multiple cups of coffee or your face resembling death. You throw out the dozens of books you purchased on sleep training and you realize that you don’t have to be friends with the “my baby slept through the night at 3 days old!” people. You don’t need that stress and judgment in your life. Instead you realize that yes, this phase is long, but it won’t last forever. The gray hairs and wrinkles these sleepless months bring are nothing compared to the feeling of rocking a not-crying-at-this-moment baby, and you hang onto the fact that one day you will miss this. You, like all sleep deprived moms before you, will make it through.

Amy Bellows

Amy Bellows, Ph.D. is a freelance writer living in the Midwest with her husband and their 3 children. She currently juggles the roles of wife, mom, step-mom, and a full-time corporate career while squeezing in writing between hockey practices and late night feedings. You can find her at or on Twitter.