Laugh or Cry

After the first few love-drunk, newborn weeks pass and the adrenaline drops, that’s when the sleep deprivation really kicks in. At this point you may feel that little bit more fragile and a smidge less patient with the world in general. After a month or two of no discernible routine and not knowing what day of the week it is, it doesn’t take much to reach the ‘Laugh or Cry’ state. At this stage when something unexpected/unwelcome/bizarre happens, you only have the ability to respond in one of two ways; Laugh or Cry.

My first experience of this was the day Husband returned to work after his 2 weeks’ paternity leave. Up until this point Pickle had been a dream, sleeping for hours on end, feeding easily… I don’t even think she cried for more than 2 seconds at a time. It’s like she knew when she had me all to herself, when the defences were weakened. On our first morning flying solo, after getting her (and me) up, changed, dressed and fed, she took out everything we were both wearing (underwear included), the sofa, the cushion and the carpet in the most epic vomit-fest on record. First Laugh or Cry moment; I cried. A lot. But the same day at bath time she both peed and shat all down my legs, and I laughed like a drain. It’s the luck of the draw; Dog barks at his own fart and wakes the baby- cry. A vomit into my bra after 4 overnight feeds- laugh. It’s like walking an emotional tightrope and it’s 50:50 as to which side you’ll fall.

Between 3-5 months, we had more uninterrupted sleep which definitely made coping with these moments far easier- in fact they didn’t even register as problematic. However at 6 months we hit a bugger of a bump in the road known as sleep regression, and I found myself reaching that familiar point again. A 3am nappy change in the dark culminated in Pickle full on cacking into my hand. Every move I made to try and improve the situation just got both of us and eventually the furniture more covered in crap. And yet I laughed, because it’s literally the only thing I was capable of doing. However, a week or two earlier, a poorly timed vomit down the front of my jumper as I was telling Husband how exhausted and frazzled I was feeling prompted immediate tears that took a good minute or two to stop. It’s the roll of the dice.

In all seriousness, these moments (especially when crying seems to be the only remaining option) can take their toll and make you feel a bit mad. But after talking to other mummies over the past few months, it seems no matter how emotionally robust you are or how good you are at handling tiredness/stress/extreme situations, most of them reached the same state at one point or another. I reckon Bear Grylls may even crack at a wee fountain to the face if you pushed him hard enough. So to mummies (and daddies) up and down the land, fear not. It seems to be a normal phase of the parenting process. One day (apparently) we’ll be able to look back and laugh…and only laugh.

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