Special Needs Parenting: Oh Sleep, How I miss you!!

Emmy Heaton by Emmy Heaton Additional Needs

Emmy Heaton

Emmy Heaton

Hi I'm Emmy, mum to AJ who has cerebral palsy.

This will be the 1,033rd consecutive day I've had little to no sleep.

(My son is almost 3 and has never slept longer than 4 hours at a time).

Helplessly watching my son thrashing around, rocking and crying whilst not knowing what's the matter or what I can do to help soothe him.

Sleep is something I think a lot of people take for granted!

I know I never thought of it as something to look forward to, that was before I had my son anyway!

Staying awake until the early hours used to be the, 'norm', for me, and it was never this hard to do!

Seriously...Where did I get all my energy from?

Sleep is so important to every one, but possibly even more so for families caring for little ones with special/extra needs.

It is an important part of development.

It's when the brain rests, recovers from the day and and repairs itself, ready for the next day.

It's vital for concentration throughout the day, and little people need to concentrate to learn.

And little people with special needs, need that concentration sooo, so, much!

So when your getting less than 4 hours sleep a night, things can get tough. In fact, everything gets tough.

A lack of sleep can make even the happiest of people grumpy, short tempered or just less tolerant than they usually would be.

It puts a LOT of tension on day-to-day family life.

Apparently 50% of all marriages end in divorce.

This percentage jumps to between 80% and 90% for couples who have a child with special needs.

Eighty percent!!

That's a terrifying statistic!

Parenting is hard at the best of times, but the stress and strains of raising a child with extra or special needs really does put your relationships and even friendships to the test.

Friendships start to wither away when you've got no energy to do the things you used to.

Fun days out become more like chores.

You end up having to make excuses to not go because your too tired to function and eventually, friends stop asking.

You don't want them to stop asking, you want them to understand.

But no one will ever really fully understand until they're going through the same thing.

No matter how many times they've been up all night with their new teething baby.

At least they know that'll pass eventually!

As with friendships... Relationships can be much the same.

Whilst longing for a, 'night off', to go out and/or just spend time with your partner, the minute you realise you have the time, all you want to do is sleep.

A lack of alone time with your partner can also lead to arguments, and those teeny, tiny arguments usually end up blowing up into world war 3 because your both so tired and grumpy!

I complain, a LOT about being tired, but I'm lucky in the fact I have some real friends who've stuck around and an understanding partner, who just looks past my grumpiness (or ignores, probably the latter, lol!)

Just getting through the day sometimes without wanting to scream or cry can be a reward in its self.

Keep going mummies... and daddies!

Your doing the best you can.


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