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Sleepless for 11 months - on the edge, please help!

(13 Posts)
Desperate101 Tue 05-Feb-13 10:56:41

I haven't posted for a long while and I'm feeling fragile so please be gentle wink This is long!

DD is now 11 months and still no closer to sleeping through the night. She had appalling reflux in the early months (still not totally resolved) and only slept for minutes at a time, waking screaming countless times a night and frequently finishing her night's sleep by 3am. For five long months I got virtually no sleep and ended up with bad PND (PND doesn't really cover it. Honestly, I think I nearly went mad). At 11 months she's now a lot better, but her sleep patterns are totally unpredictable - she'll often wake and cry for an hour or two, and be totally unconsolable for no discernable reason; or wake several times for short bursts.

Although I'm now used to operating on very little sleep during the day, the frustration of the unpredictability of the nights and the feeling that she now 'should' be sleeping through (a lecture I got from the HV last week, helpful...) are beginning to really take their toll. The reason I'm posting is I've realised I am becoming increasingly angry during the wake ups, and although I've never shouted at or - God forbid - shaken DD, I find myself whispering out expletives of the "oh just go the F* to sleep you little sod" kind, and I'm having to put her down and leave the room to bang my head against a brick wall (either literally or figuratively, depending on the night!).

It's worrying me as at the time I feel totally disconnected from her, and all I can think about it going back to bed. I fear that one day I will just snap and I might end up hitting her or something worse (violence of any kind would be totally out of character for me). I feel recovered from the PND and nothing else would suggest I'm depressed, but the depression (in addition to a very traumatic birth) did affect our bond for a while and I fear that I'm now can't be a 'proper' mother to her, if those things hadn't happened I would have more patience and calmly and lovingly handle anything she could throw at me. I feel so guilty and awful after I've got angry with her and I'd hate her to start feeling like she has to be scared of the vibe I'm giving off when I come into her at night. During the day I'm very loving and we have a great time together, so it's such a shame the nights are so bad.

I've tried controlled crying a couple of times for stretches of 3-5 days and it really doesn't work for her - she just gets more and more hysterical and I think it becomes counter productive after a few days. The result of my latest attempt is that she doesn't sleep through the night, but now I can no longer cuddle and feed her to sleep like I used to, as soon as I lay her down she screams again as if she's now worried about me leaving her to cry. She doesn't catch up on missed sleep later in the night either - she's increasingly awake and finished with her night at 5am, which means I am too.

DH is sympathetic but can't help apart from at weekends as he has such a demanding job. I'm supposed to be going back to work but don't see how I can when DDs and my sleep is still so poor.

Can anyone give opinion on whether I need to seek help for this anger, or if it's a normal part of motherhood?

Any advice on brilliant books or other resources to help with difficult sleepers?

Thanks for reading!

Locketjuice Tue 05-Feb-13 11:01:07

My lb has only just started sleeping through.. Most of the time, he's just 1. he also had awful reflux, if you are struggling I would get help as it might help just speaking to some one and getting it off your chest, its normal.. To sometimes get frustrated but I honestly have never even debated whether or not I would totally lose it as it hasn't crossed my mind, I would seek help, it is really hard when living on the bare minimum sleep so wouldn't be judged for it


Fivemoreminutesmummy Tue 05-Feb-13 11:11:34

No advice but I can completely understand how you feel. We are in the same position with our nearly 1 year old.
I have often thought angry things like you although I know I would not act on them in a million years.
It's just so frustrating and seems never ending. In my calmer moments, I know it's just a developmental phase and it will eventually pass and I'm trying to hang on to that.
DS is delightful in many other ways but crying for 2 hours nightly is draining for everyone.
You're not alone, hang in there and I'm sure someone will be sling with good advice soon.

Desperate101 Tue 05-Feb-13 14:50:22

Thanks both for your replies. In my right mind I'd never act on those thoughts. Having them at all scares me. I'm a bit worried it could be a form of PND returning, although otherwise I feel pretty happy in myself most of the time and loving life at home with DD, apart from the nights.

Would welcome any more opinions or advice...

SearchingforSleep Tue 05-Feb-13 21:43:25

You poor thing! Sounds like you have had a really rough time. hmm

I think sleep deprivation is utterly horrific and I suspect there are an awful lot of mums (and dads) out there who have had angry and frustrated moments at 3am and then felt supremely guilty afterwards - I know I have. hmm

My DD is 16mo now and we have had months and months of poor sleeping including hourly wake ups for weeks at a time. If it was just the odd disrupted night here and there it would be perfectly manageable but ongoing sleep deprivation is literally torture and very hard to deal with. hmm The positive bit is that my DD is finally starting to sleep for longer stretches and your daughter's sleep WILL improve in time too. Hang on in there! smile

With a history of PND I can see why you might want to have a chat about how you are feeling with a doctor to get an informed opinion but don't be too hard on yourself - you really do sound like a lovely mum doing a great job in difficult circumstances.

Lots of luck... smile

BabiesNeedInstructions Tue 05-Feb-13 21:54:51

I'm not an expert at all so have no advice on whether you need a more formal kind of help. But I used to have similar feelings about ds1 and he was nowhere near as bad as yours sounds. All I can say is to try and get through it as best you can, hang onto the thoughts of the fun times in the day, and in the end it will get better. Make the most of any time your dh can help so you get a better night.

And cut yourself some slack. To a certain extent we react to others' behaviour towards us regardless of the intentions behind that behaviour, so it's only human nature to feel overwhelmed by being pushed so close to breaking point. Imagine how rightfully cross you'd get if an adult treated you the way a baby does! You're doing a good job in very difficult circumstances. This is the worst it's going to be for a long time. Just breathe, and hang on in there.

Seriouslysleepdeprived Tue 05-Feb-13 22:03:01

I would seek help for this. You are essentially having (or acting on with the head banging) thoughts of harming yourself or your DD. I would have a chat with your GP (forget the HV), as it sounds v much like your PND is returning.

I can totally sympathise, sleep deprivation is a terrible thing. It has driven me into PND. I have shouted at DS a few times, much to my disgust, pulled my hair, hit myself in the face, thought about leaving DS somewhere, just so I can get some sleep. There are times I haven't been able to go to him when he wakes (for the umpteenth time) as I'm worried I might lose it and hurt him. hmm

Its awful but the GP has been v supportive. They have referred me for CBT, GP sees me every two weeks, I have a special HV etc.

If you are struggling your DH needs to help out more. My DH also has a demanding job but chronic sleep deprivation to this extent, is a two person thing. Yes he has to go to work while you 'stay home' but it's unfair that one persons life is devastated by sleep deprivation, to the point if mental illness, while the other gets to get up and go to work each day.

My DH is currently sleeping on the floor in the hall this week to give me a break before I totally crack up Unfortunately I think it's a much more 'normal' part of motherhood than people care to admit...

Seriouslysleepdeprived Tue 05-Feb-13 22:05:55

Hope you have a reasonable night smile

lyndie Tue 05-Feb-13 22:15:52

I think a lot of the feelings you are describing are common, I doubt there is a parent alive who hasn't at some point said/felt/shouted 'what do you want child?!'.

My DD (my 3rd DC) sounded like she had a similar sleep pattern until 9 months when I had had enough! I read loads on sleep problems including tons of threads on here and several books.

DH and I picked a method and started on a Friday night so we had the whole weekend to catch up on sleep during the day and look after our other children. It worked in 4 days! It is torture doing it and very tiring but worth it. It wasn't controlled crying btw but the gradual retreat method, there is a thread on here from a while back called 'what worked for us' and it's long but the original poster put in loads of helpful details.

How much is your DH helping out? I know it's controversial but even with a demanding job can he not do any more to help you? Other couples split the nights or take turns, even if one works. If you decide to go for it with a sleep training method could he take some time off to make it work? Or could he do it all himself while you have a few nights away? DH and I have always split things, the only exception being if he had to get up early for a flight or drive somewhere.

Anyway I do hope you get some ideas and as others have said be kind to yourself.

Levantine Tue 05-Feb-13 22:18:53

I think your DH needs to do nights at weekends so you can get some proper sleep.

ct148 Wed 06-Feb-13 22:15:50

Just to say I second at least having a look at the 'what worked for us' thread. I was at my wits end with my DS who was a truly awful sleeper. I knew something had to change when I started to feel angry with him, even though logically I knew it wasn't his fault. The first night is tough but after that it gets easier. I never actually moved further away from the cot as you're supposed to, even now if my DS waskes up I just go and lie down next to his cot and say 'lie down now, time to sleep' over and over, and Pat him, and he drifts back off to sleep no problem usually, sleeps thru a lot now. Its hard to begin with as you still have to see your bubba upset, but I just got to the point where something had to give. I realised that my son was completely and utterly dependent on me getting him back to sleep every time he woke, its all about them learning to do it themselves. Good luck whatever you decide. X

crazypaving Thu 07-Feb-13 09:28:47

oh op this sounds awful, you poor thing. you must be absolutely at the end of your tether.

our situation with ds1 wasn't as extreme as yours but was pretty bad. dh and I split the night to survive. so I'd go to bed at 8pm with earplugs in and he'd take the first shift, til midnight or 1am. then I'd be on duty til morning. it meant we both got a solid block of unbroken sleep. might that work for you?

Seriouslysleepdeprived Thu 07-Feb-13 10:43:58

How are you doing OP? smile

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