Fear of the night

Guest blogger: Mirjam Willemsen

Fear of the night. I don’t know if it exists, but I have it. I am dreading the night, dreading waking up in the night, the cold. Adrenaline rushing through my body and a pounding heart. It got into me and it took me over. 

Sleep regression

We slept perfectly for a while. Until the 8 month sleep regression came knocking, with a bulldozer. The crying was not only at night, but sometimes it started only 45 minutes after he had gone to bed. So at a quarter to 8 I was already stressed. No more relaxation. It took me over.

I am nervous about the evenings. I am sitting on the couch with the baby monitor next to me. I stare at it more than I watch the TV. I respond to every movement and I react to every sound. I prefer to stay at home, because I can not let it go anymore. Because I need to know if there will be crying. How long. How often.

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Because, if someones crying and I am not there… well nothing happens actually. But I just need to know. Because then maybe I can do something about it. I can’t seem to let it go. I want to have control over the crying, over waking up. But I don’t have that control.

It took me over

The fear of the night took me over. The fatigue. The stress. And I allow it. After 9 months I’m okay with it. I’m allowed to text 3 times in an hour to know how it’s going at home when I’m away. It’s okay to say that I can’t meet up at that moment, that I prefer to stay at home. I’m allowed to stare at the baby monitor indefinitely, watching every movement. I like it all. Because I can’t let go for a while, because it’s going on for so long.

I will let go again

I will let go as soon as everybody gets enough sleep. I will unpause my life as soon as I get back to sleep. Compulsion to control. I’ve got it. Fear of the night, I have it. I know it all too well.

It brings me comfort to know that I am not alone. Maybe you also stare endlessly at the baby monitor. Maybe you have a sleep obsession too. Maybe you turn on your nightlight often too. Maybe you also prefer to stay at home. Maybe the night has become your enemy too,

If so, I hope you are bursting with pride. That you are still standing, despite the fatigue, stress or fear. That you can still function, maybe half way. That you can still take care of your child with all the love you have within. 

The fact that someone knows what it feels like makes me feel good. The nights are cold, long and lonely. Quiet, but also loud. We do it alone, but also very much together. 

Mirjam, mother of Lua and Moïs.

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