06/30/2014 05:10 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

A Sleep-Deprived Mother's Breakup Letter to Sleep

This isn't going to be easy for me... but Sleep, my darling, we need to talk.

For a while now, I've not been feeling quite as connected to you as I once did. To be honest, I feel like we've drifted apart. Once upon a time, we were so happy together... but now, I feel like I barely even know you anymore.

I'm sorry, this is really tough, but you must know that it's not you; it's me.

You see, I've changed. These under-eye shadows and the sprinkling of fine lines are just the surface of a deeper, more powerful change. My belly, That Belly, with my cherished roadmap to motherhood painted upon it, is not the only thing that has stretched. You see, my sweet Sleep, my heart has grown in ways that I cannot even explain.

I know that this must be hard to hear. It's hard for me too, but I've been feeling this way for some time now.

Do you remember the girl that you used to wrap your arms around for eight hours each and every night? She has changed irrefutably. I honestly didn't mean for us to drift apart and I never dreamt that I would change so dramatically, but seeing as we are drifting and I am anew, it feels like the right time to make a clean break.

And yes, my dear Sleep, there is Somebody Else...


A certain Somebody who takes my breath away... who is demanding, intense and erratic. You, my cherished Sleep, were always so... regular. So steady, so reliable and safe. I'll be honest; sometimes I find myself looking at your predictability and I realize that I took you for granted. Sometimes I wish for just one more night with you, my darling Sleep. Just one.

But then my Somebody Else smacks me square in the face, sometimes literally, but mostly metaphorically. My Somebody Else plants a slobbery, sticky, toddler-gooey kiss on my cheek and my energy renews. It turns out, sweet Sleep, that I do not need you like I once assumed. I will be OK without you. Because I have my Somebody Else. And my Somebody Else needs me.

You see, I've always felt like you'd be fine without me and I'm sure that you'll find another (child-free) girl to call your own. But for my Somebody Else, I am irreplaceable. It is only my hand that my Somebody Else will hold onto during bothersome dreams. It is only my breasts that my Somebody Else will root towards for that ultimate midnight snack. It is only my face that my Somebody Else will pat from 3 a.m. onwards (yes... face-patting... from 3 a.m. onwards.)

We've had a good run, my dearest Sleep, and I'm not going to lie; I will miss you. Particularly at 3 a.m.... 3 a.m. is hard. But I am now free of time and of blind notions of Night and Day. I am pure and alive and in love... if it weren't for my aching back and foggy brain I would have the coordination to perform a happy dance for you right here and now.

Perhaps one day, my darling Sleep, we will meet again. Although after everything that has happened, I doubt that it will ever be the same.

You see, my Somebody Else will be forever in my dreams. I will, for all of eternity, sleep with one ear finely in-tune with sniffles and sleepy mutterings. And as the years pass by, my ear will become attuned to new sounds; the click of the front door and the ring of the telephone. Even when my Somebody Else has found a Somebody Else, I will be first and foremost Awake When Needed. You and I, dearest Sleep, will simply have to wait.

Oh Sleep, my sweet and distant Sleep. I wish you well, I truly do. And may I take this opportunity to wish you good night (metaphorically speaking, of course.)

This post originally appeared on Mama Bean Parenting. You can connect with Mama Bean on Facebook.