Our Baby Story: Starved for Sleep
I never would have dreamed four years ago that we were not just about to welcome a new baby, but also a new lifestyle, a new identity and even a new business that helps other moms!
My first pregnancy was full of excitement. We didn’t find out the gender, which added to the anticipation. Supportive friends and relatives threw baby showers, and my awesome hubby, Greg, took me on a “babymoon.” While leaving a job I loved was bittersweet, I was thrilled that I was going to have the opportunity to stay home and cuddle with our new baby. I could do some work part-time from home.
While pregnant, I found time to read about the strange and unexpected things happening to my body, and I prepared for what I hoped would be a natural, unmedicated birth. Beyond that, I wasn’t really thinking or worrying about parenting. In fact, I had a pretty glamorous vision of what my life would be like as a stay-at-home mom.
I was blessed with a challenging but incredibly positive birth experience and 10 days of bliss with our sleepyhead newborn daughter. Then, reality hit! For the next month, our little girl was more of a fussy baby than an easy baby, especially in the evenings. I was frustrated with people who would insinuate that it was my fault—that the baby was stressing because I was stressing.
Motherhood was a lot tougher than I thought it would be! I went from spending my days at work feeling competent and appreciated to feeling completely inept at home.
I was perplexed and exhausted. I had never had another human being completely dependent on me (and Greg). Everything changed. The lifestyle I had taken for granted was in total upheaval. Our sleep was constantly interrupted. Meals were now a juggling act. With a volatile baby in tow, it was suddenly daunting to consider running errands and having a social life.
Desperately, I sought advice from “mom friends.” Thankfully, they had better perspective and could offer me books, tips and reassuring reminders like, “Everything is just a phase!”
It takes time and experience to get better at this motherhood gig. In time, I became comfortable with my new lifestyle and positive about my new identity. Our children make life so rich and vivid. I feel blessed to be a mom and honored to have the awesome responsibility of forming these sweet young people.
I’m still learning how to juggle new and different demands, but I sense my confidence growing. Here are three things that were key to getting on track with my new life:
1) Sleep. Everything seems 10 times worse when you’re sleep deprived! I never struggled with insomnia before having kids. At the end of the day, I always crash easily. However, after a child woke me in the night, I would sometimes spend an hour or two going through my “to do” list or thinking through something in particular. I tried to relax but I couldn’t turn my brain off. Similarly, Greg had trouble getting to sleep after a manic work day. Our sleep eventually led us to discover that there are a few select superfruits around the world proven to help with sleep. Long story short, we created Berry Sleepy –the first 100 percent fruit sleep aid. Now I take Berry Sleepy to get back to sleep and later wake refreshed. At the beginning of this year, we began sharing our concoction not just with friends and relatives but with all of America! We launched an online business and we have been on an entrepreneurial adventure ever since!
As for the children, we found Dr. Weissbluth’s book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child had every answer for which we were searching. We learned that “sleep begets sleep,” and that a baby can be delightful when we understand and respect her sleep needs! The book offers a variety of age-appropriate strategies for different parenting styles. Now our kids sleep 12 hours each night and take 1- to 2-hour naps!
2) Redefined relationships. There’s a reason most playdates are in the morning: children are at their best after a good night’s sleep! A lot of my social life has shifted to the mornings, and I now schedule everything around the kids’ routines. I became closer with women who also have young children, and I came to terms with the fact I wouldn’t be able to see my single girlfriends as often. My lifestyle changed more than I originally anticipated, but I wouldn’t trade my time with our silly little giggleboxes for anything!
3) Dignity in the small stuff. Like many women, my identity was previously wrapped up more in myself: my work, interests and accomplishments. I still make time for myself, but now my identity hinges on what I am to others: a wife and mother. Sometimes, as strong women, we are tempted to think that our time spent cleaning poopy bottoms and thanklessly doing laundry is meaningless drudgery. I’ve found that attitude to be toxic, so I do my best to see the beauty and meaning in the “small stuff.” These are opportunities to serve my family—and what kind of love would I have if I weren’t willing to get over myself and do the daily dirty work?
When we are big-hearted about doing the little things, that generosity blesses both others’ lives and our own. We find ourselves when we give of ourselves. It is a privilege to be the one who gets to constantly interact with these little people and do all of the big and little things that help them thrive.
Adrienne and Greg Doring live in Prairie Village. They have three children: Monica, 3 ½, Thomas, 1 ½, and a baby due in this fall. You can check out their business at www.BerrySleepy.com. They are offering KC Baby readers $5 off with coupon code MOMS.