The Five Stages of Grief Over Sleep Deprivation or “Attachment Parenting a Breastfeeding Infant.”

Although Elizabeth Kubler-Ross may have had loftier ideas in her head about these stages, she has admitted that they can apply to any personal catastrophe. I think this qualifies.

1. DENIAL

I’m getting enough sleep. Of course I’m getting enough sleep. The clock is wrong. Who needs 7 hours of consecutive sleep?– not me!

Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual.

2. ANGER

Why does everyone else’s baby sleep but mine? Why me? Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!! I hate all the moms whose babies sleep!

Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy.

3. BARGAINING

I will nurse you from 6pm to 10pm without stopping if you’ll just let me sleep. Just let me sleep four straight hours. Just let the older kids sleep til 7am.

The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay the inevitable. Usually, the negotiation for an extended sleep time is made with a baby in exchange for a reformed lifestyle.

4. DEPRESSION

Why even bother going to sleep? I’m just going to be awake in 2 hours. I’m not even going to bother watching The Bachelor while I’m nursing.

During the fourth stage, the sleep-deprived person begins to understand the certainty of sleep-deprivation. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.

5. ACCEPTANCE

It’s going to be okay. At least I’m not operating heavy machinery other than a car with five children in it while this tired. I’ll get used to functioning on so little sleep.

In this last stage, the individual begins to come to terms with her sleep deprivation.

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2 Responses

  1. And what stage are you in? I think I’ve made it to acceptance (though, admittedly, I regress to anger occasionally…)

    • Tonight it feels like depression! I bounce around. When all my hormones were kicking in, I didn’t mind a bit that I was glued to the chair with my boobs out 24/7. Now I’d like to wash my hair and eat dinner with the rest of my family.

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