Sleep deprivation made me not want to be a Mum

Trigger warning: sleep training, mental health and intrusive thoughts.

Sleep training or co-sleeping?

Cry-it-out method or rocking to sleep?

Never wake a sleeping baby or stick to a strict routine?

What’s right and what’s wrong?

What may align with your parenting values are likely to be different to mine and others.

Watching Ms Rachel
Sleep anxiety before baby

Sleep – or the lack thereof – was at the forefront of my mind long before I became pregnant.

“You’ll never sleep again.”

“Enjoy your sleep now…”

“You won’t sleep again until they’re 18…”

Saying things like this was not helpful.

I once didn’t sleep for 40 hours straight.

There is no way to mentally or physically prepare for those sleepless nights.

Rather than give often unsolicited advice, (most people don’t mean it offensively) here’s my suggestion:

Offer to look after bubs for a few hours so Mum (or the unicorn Dad) can sleep.

I say a few hours because I guarantee that that Mumma will not go straight to sleep.

She’ll be in the kitchen cleaning bottles, putting on washing or having a shower before considering taking a much-needed nap.

Sleep deprivation

Because the twins spent two months in hospital, I wasn’t exposed to their overnight sleep antics.

May I take this moment to wholeheartedly thank the NICU/SCN staff from Mercy Hospital for Women & Frankston Hospital who cared for them all night for months <3

When we brought them home, the reality of sleepless nights was a cold, harsh bitch.

Because premature babies are noisy AF!

I’d put my finger under their nose or my hand on their chest to make sure they were still breathing.

Their first night, I’d check on them constantly.

I’d put my finger under their nose or my hand on their chest to make sure they were still breathing.

Until four months old, Levi and Tate didn’t sleep for more than two hours at a time, waking several times a night.

One twin would scream for hours before falling asleep.

As they drifted off, the other twin would wake.


It was a vicious, never-ending cycle.

I honestly struggled with my connection with the twins sometimes in the newborn days.

I was used to 8+ hours of sleep and I resented this huge impact on my life.

I loved Tate and Levi more than anything of course, but…

I was simply surviving.

Going through the motions.

According to Better Health Channel;

Not enough sleep or disruptions to sleep can have a major impact on daytime functioning including poor concentration, reduced reaction times and altered mood.

That is worrying.

As Mums, we’re often driving our babies to appointments, play dates or grocery shopping while potentially in a state of mind that likely should not have us behind the wheel.

What else are we supposed to do though?

Also, reading about ‘sleep deprivation psychosis‘ – where you have gone without sleep for an extensive period and cannot determine what is real and what is not – was truly terrifying.

I, personally, have never experienced that, but I’m sure many others have.

Intrusive thoughts

I once didn’t sleep for 40 hours straight.

I remember sitting in the lounge room at 5am on that second day, watching the sun rise.

I hadn’t had a wink of sleep and it dawned on me the day of repetitiveness that is the newborn phase was about to begin again.

I silently sobbed, thinking how I was hating almost every moment of motherhood.

I was not cut out for this.

When was I going to start to enjoy this?

I was simply surviving.

And it was that morning of 40 straight hours of being awake where I broke.

Dark thoughts swirled in my head.

I knew, for me, nothing would come of those dark thoughts.

However, I’m saddened to say I even thought this – I once hoped something would happen to me – only at the cost of sleep deprivation.

I knew I needed help.

I sleep during the day, Mum!
The husband known as Snow White

Seriously? How do most men sleep through without hearing a crying baby?!

I could give his shin the hardest kick and he’d think he’s playing soccer in his dream.

The few times that my darling husband did wake and help with the twins, I’d tell him to bugger off back to bed because he was so frustrating.

He didn’t do things the way I wanted:

“Don’t talk so loud!”

“Pat their bum while you rock them…”

“Make sure he burps before putting him down…”

I had help in my husband, of course, but I needed him functioning so that he could help me during the day.

Plus, he just got in my way.

The beacons of hope

I felt so much relief when Maryanne and Steph came into my life.

They had watched this post on my Instagram and the despair I had succumbed to.

We spoke in depth about the twins’ sleep patterns, what I needed and what Steph and Maryanne could do for me.

They informed me they’d have the twins sleeping through the night.

Honestly, at first – I didn’t quite believe it. Especially with twins and sharing a room.

Maryanne and Steph explained how unnatural sleep deprivation was for a parent – that it was not normal, yet, it was almost an expected side effect of being a parent.

(Pretty sure sleep deprivation was used as a form of torture in wars past)

Tip: I know not all can afford sleep schools, consultants, psychologists and other luxuries that may get you through your current darkness. I recommend following supportive Facebook groups where you can read posts from others and ask questions that will garnish kind responses from other like-minded people. Two examples of groups that I followed and related to so much: Mums of Multiples Australia and Mornington Peninsula Mums.

And the most important thing – that babies DO want to sleep.

Within a week, the ladies were at my doorstep and for 2.5 days, they helped me recognise the signs of what the twins needed to get to and stay asleep.

And you know what? It’s not magic, it’s not science – it’s just common requirements of sleep for a baby.

Dressing baby correctly for the room conditions, temperature, room settings, lighting and the big one I still to this day struggle with – sleep cues.

L – R: Liss, Maryanne, Steph, Bryce
Sleeping through the night ever since

That’s right!

Since the ladies’ visit all that time ago, the twins have slept 10-12 hours a night ever since.

Of course, they have bad nights; sickness, teething, dogs barking etc.

Otherwise, most nights if they do wake, it’s briefly.

They fuss for a few minutes and resettle themselves.

With the occasion of me cuddling them back to sleep in our rocking chair.

I truly think myself lucky that I get good sleep majority of nights.

Our body and brain need sleep to properly function and Maryanne and Steph quite literally saved my life.

You can check out Maryanne and Steph’s websites below for info: and

I also highly recommend following them on Instagram as they both have regular Q&A sessions where you can ask them any questions about your child’s sleep.

What would you like to read about next? Leave me some feedback below!

4 thoughts on “Sleep deprivation made me not want to be a Mum

  1. A powerful article.

    It was so rewarding to be able to help you get on track with the boys sleep.

    I will never ever forget that video post you did, when you were in the awful pit of sleep deprivation.

    Never ever will I spruik that chronic sleep deprivation is normal for baby or for parents. Ever.

    Keep writing, you have a gift !! xx

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