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One night when my son was a week old, he woke crying for the fourth time in two hours.  I hobbled out of bed, hunched over my c-section incision, picked him up out of his bassinet and took him to his nursery where I tried to change his diaper.  His screams echoed in the silent house—I could hear my husband tossing in his sleep at the noise.  After a week of recovering from surgery—with five days of prodromal labor before that—and a nightmare of attempted breast-feeding, I was exhausted.  I looked out the window at the inky black night and had the fleeting wish that Noah had never been born.

And then immediately was swarmed by guilt.  How could I think that?  After two heartbreaking miscarriages and a difficult pregnancy complete with bed-rest and hospital stays, how could I not be elated that this precious boy was here and safe?

I cuddled Noah close to my chest and sat down in the glider, where we both cried until we fell asleep.  The next day, I was determined to find some answers.  Because I was not just suffering from the baby blues, and I did not have any other symptoms of post-partum depression.  No—I had narcolepsy and was suffering from extreme sleep deprivation.  I’d gone from sleeping sixteen hours in a day to maybe three or four.  And because I was determined to breast-feed, medicines were not an option.  I would have to find ways to cope non-pharmaceutically.

I browsed the internet.  Endlessly.  Searching for anyone on any forum who’d had experience parenting with narcolepsy—or any sleep disorder.  The results were disappointing.  All I could find were a few thin resources on parenting children with sleeping problems and a handful of desperate forum posts from exhausted mothers.

So here’s my solution: I’m going to blog about my own experiences as a narcoleptic mother.  I’m hoping anyone who has answers, experiences, opinions, information on this somewhat esoteric lifestyle will comment with their advice.  And I want anyone with any type of sleeping disorder—not just narcolepsy—to chime in.  So all you with insomnia, hypersomnia, shift-related disorders, sleep apnea, sleep-walking or even restless legs syndrome or night bruxism—please feel free to share, even if you’re not yet a parent.

In the meantime, I’m going to explore different topics and strategies as they come up.  Hopefully, even if it’s just by reminding us that we’re not only, we can cobble together solutions to make the impossible a little easier.

One Response

  1. This might be your calling, with your abilities to write so eloquently and research so thoroughly you can help others with your condition. I never even thought to look on the internet for solutions when we were going through this with you.

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