My Child's History With Insomnia

Of all the things my child will and has inherited from me, I do so wish for her that insomnia is not one of them. She has that same fiery personality and can be as stubborn as the day is long. And believe me, some of those days are long.

I just wish I could lessen the chances of her struggling with certain hard things in life. I know these things shape us and build character. Struggling to sleep is charter building - I wish was optional.

This or That

Is your relationship with sleep better or worse since being diagnosed with insomnia?

Newborn baby

Sometimes the most obvious things are right in front of us, and our ability to see them is somewhat impaired. "Why?" you ask, I have no idea.

Since my little one took her first breath, she was not a good sleeper, she simply came out that way. People said that it would pass in a day or 2 and to be prepared, as newborn babies sleep so much. Not mine, she did no such thing, she slept the sum total of 30 minutes at a time.

It was like clockwork, you could set a timer to her. Day and night, somewhere between the mark of 28 and 30 minutes those little brown eyes would be staring back at me. And just to add the proverbial cherry to the cake, it would take me anything between 45 minutes and 2 hours to get her to settle for another sleep.

I was a ghost of a human.

Slowly, slowly

As she got a little older she started sleeping a little more. Now, let's not get too excited. I am talking in increments of about 15 minutes and halfway through the year heading for birthday number 3. She started sleeping for 3 hours at a time.

I persevered with her sleep and routines as I had never persevered before. For her own health and for my need to sleep. In and out of doctors' rooms, ideas, thoughts, and remedies. There was no set reason as to why this little girl did not want to sleep.

Adding hours of sleep

Importantly, as the years have crept on, smaller bits of time got added and by the lovely age of 7, we were getting about 5 hours of consecutive sleep. When I tell you I thought I had died and gone to heaven, it is not a word of a lie.

As she continues to get older, things have changed and to date there has not been an explanation for why she has and does struggle to sleep.

These days at the lovely age of 10, she can match her years in hours of sleep. They are not always restful, and they are not always easy to come by. Sleep however is no longer our greatest challenge.

Having a parent that gets it

It is so hard to regulate yourself and your emotions when you are always tired. Not to mention, be a decent human being and mother when you are running on empty for literally years on end. It has, however, been priceless to our joint sleep journey that I get it.

I understand that she is not being naughty by not sleeping. She is not mischievous waking up 10 times a night. Having walked my own path made this so much easier to understand and go through with her. Some nights were harder than others, and they still come around. However, now she understands sleep hygiene, and how to handle these nights. She also knows that I know what it is like.

I do not allow it to anger me, sometimes it can be frustrating. I am very keen to remember that at the same age, I was starting to struggle with the same things. Sometime you just need a hand to hold through it all.

Helping my child cope with insomnia

Believe it or not, children who struggle to sleep are not out to get you. They are simply awake. So, you sit quietly and read books, sing songs, and watch the moon outside the window, holding their little hands and bodies in yours.

Sometimes you weep quietly from sheet exhaustion. Hold them close and love them, teach them about sleep hygiene, and don't be cross with them. Most of the time they are already feeling bad about keeping you awake.

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