(No Longer) A Sleeping Beauty


A mother’s musings on catching some Zs.

(No Longer) a Sleeping Beauty_Aquila Style
Image: SXC

If you had told me ten years ago that I would survive on four to five hours of sleep on most nights, I would have laughed out loud.

In fact, my whole family would have laughed too.

Up into my twenties, I always had eight to nine hours of beauty sleep every night because I strongly believed in the health benefits of a good night’s sleep. I was the kind of person who would fall asleep within ten minutes of putting my head on a pillow, cushion, desk, floor or anything that prevented me from falling over. I have even fallen asleep at some strange places, including in the midst of a rock concert.

Yes, you read it right: I have dozed off  in the midst of a head-banging, Metallica-style rock concert.

Needless to say, my cousin who bought me the ticket to the concert was pretty dismayed that I missed most of the performance.

It was the arrival of one tiny person that changed my sleeping habits around: my son. Ironically, I had given birth to a boy who, from the moment he was born, loved life so much he never liked sleeping. When he was a baby, he used to wake up smiling at the slightest sound and refused to go back to sleep, even after his mum was thoroughly exhausted.

And let’s not start on those 2am breastfeeding sessions. Once when he was around three months old, I nearly fell asleep while standing up. Now that would have been another one of my strange sleeping stories!

To my surprise though, sleeping deprivation has not killed me – at least so far. Yes, it does make my mind foggy at times, and it has turned me into a dark-circle-eyed coffee addict, but I’m still alive and kicking and writing and doing a million of other things every day. I guess I’m okay.

One major thing that motherhood has taught me is that I am much stronger and capable of doing more things than I used to think. The story of Hajar, who ran between two hills to find water for her son, no longer feels like a tale for me. It is real, because I too sometimes find myself in her barefooted despair. Yet out of love for another living being, I keep running – sleep deprivation and all.

One day my little boy will be all grown up and maybe I will have the luxury of being able to nap and sleep well once again. Or maybe God will call me to sleep forever even before then.

Another thing that I’ve learned is that life is a series of phases that comes with surprises at every turn. You never know what challenges are ahead of you or what awaits you at a rock concert. The only thing you can do is to embrace those challenges, do the best you can and believe that like Hajar, you’ll find the oasis that you seek at the end. (Or sleep the concert away for that matter.)

If I sound a bit too philosophical, that’s probably because my sleep deprivation is kicking in. Can someone please pass me my second cup of coffee?

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