Before I became a mom, I was fairly confident in my ability to function on little, or even no, sleep. I’d survived four years of college and a dozen or so finals weeks, and I’d been a counselor at two different camps that held staff meetings at night while the kids slept. However, I’d never had a newborn and, as such, had never known what it was like to finally experience that blissful yet ultimately terrifying moment when a baby sleeps through the night for the first time.
Unlike the previous experiences that I had naïvely assumed were adequate prerequisites for the exhaustion that accompanies motherhood, being a tired new parent is an ongoing, seemingly endless undertaking. There is no crashing on the couch after you take your test or at the end of the week, when the campers go home. You are at the whims of a tiny infant, who controls your own rest and well-being and who wields that control by needing you on a consistent, never-ending basis.
For these reasons, and countless more, the first night your baby sleeps through is arguably one of the greatest nights of one’s life. Or at least, the greatest night spent unconscious. Once you get past the initial shock and concern of waking up and realizing you did not get up in the middle of the night, it’s the best feeling ever. There is now a light at the end of the tunnel. You can start catching up on sleep. You can start functioning like a human again. And you can send texts to everyone you know and love, which say things like: