The old adage, “sleep when the baby sleeps,” is not my favorite. There needs to be six to twelve caveats added, like, “as long as somewhere else is watching them,” and, “as long as you’ve had a chance to change out of your days-old clothes and shower,” or, “as long as you’ve had something to eat in the last few hours so you don’t confuse fainting with sleeping.” Of course, yes, sleeping while the baby sleeps sounds logical enough, but the emotional stage of trying to sleep with a newborn in the house tell a slightly different story.
I should probably take a moment to mention that I’m, um, slightly more anxious than some other parents I know. No, no, it’s OK; I can admit it and I've learned to live with it and, well, I'm just not ashamed. However, I also think there are more than a few parts of the parenting experience that make us all, collectively, nervous, so allowing ourselves to drift into a state of unconsciousness while our tiny person is present takes some getting used to. Couple that somewhat odd situation (I mean, how in the hell do you sleep when the tiny person you made may or may not need something?) with the very real fear of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and, well, no one is sleeping anytime soon. (Yes, this just took a very real, very dark turn. Welcome to the wonderful world of parenthood, my friends.)
Thankfully, we have baby monitors, sleep-training systems, and that new-parent exhaustion that eventually catches up with us to make it all come together. However, in the meantime, here’s what the reality of trying to sleep with a newborn nearby actually looks like: