The lady in the Ganges

Saturday, September 10, 2011


This photo has nothing to do with this post. But it makes me happy. So there.

My child is not sleeping much. This fact dominates my walking hours and plagues the sleeping ones. It's causing a toll on my mental health, my appearance, my marriage, and my overall well being. I've been wanting to open up about it here, as it is what I do,complain blog, but then I think about the woman in the Ganges River and I close up my laptop in shame.

We all have the woman in the Ganges River. She is the person who has it worse than you. She is the woman who brings her five children down to the fetid river to bathe and drink and she would curse her horrific, cosmic joke of an existence if only she had the time to do it because one of her kids just tried to drown another and she has to walk the six miles back to her shared hut barefoot before sundown.

So how dare I complain that the defining drama in my life is a baby who is still getting up 2-3 times a night (and napping only 30 minutes a time)? Hell, other moms in my circle have older kids who still don't sleep through the night, and D is only five months old.

I shouldn't complain.

But I was at birthday party this morning, chatting with parents as our kiddos bounced and ate cupcakes, and one dad, tellingly referring to his cherub of a 10 month old as The Beast, said he is still up 2-3 times a night and then raring to go at 5 AM.

5 fucking AM. It's supposed to get better from here, right?

It was the most depressing thing I ever heard.

I know. Ganges, right? She is hobbling after her four kids (she just lost one somewhere in the market), and she's all, you want depressing? I'll take your 4 hours of sleep, lady, and make you a g*ddamn rainbow out of it.

But it's bringing me down low. I can't help it.

I've been reading books and downloading pdfs and consulting online sleep gurus, getting one school of thought here and the complete opposite there. Some assure me that exclusively breastfed kids can sleep from 7 to 7, while friends swear that formula is what set them free. A lot advocate crying it out, and none offer answers as to what to do if said baby then wakes up the 4 year old, the only sound sleeper in the house. But I have been trying arm myself with knowledge, a plan, something to try and change this current situation as my family is having a hard time functioning. I'm having serious memory problems and trouble staying patient with the 4 year old. I know things will eventually get better, but eventually makes me feel powerless and dumb and so, so tired.

So my apologies to the lady in the Ganges for bitching about my big fucking deal.

I just want some sleep.


  1. Poor old lady Ganges, but hey poor you too! Both my bambinos were entirely breastfeed, neither slept. It will get better!! All kids are different blah blah blah but what you'd give for a full 8 hours?! I feel your woes and send you sleepy love x

  2. It's not because someone is worse off than you that your own problems should be effaced. Empathy and sympathy in different forms, prayers even, are good ways to keep that Ganges lady your heart and mind, and to help relativize your personal situation.
    As for sleep and breast-feeding. I am currently exclusively breastfeeding my five week old, and we have managed a few seven hour stretches out of her. I am not bragging, I am simply here to tell you our secret: we swaddle the shit out of her. I am talking tight, merciless swaddling, not a flailing hand in sight come morning. I'm sure you tried this, but if not, do you think five months too old to give it a whirl if you haven't already?

  3. I am not a mother so I have no words of wisdom or advice. I just wanted to let you know that I read this and it really touched me. Sending you love over the ether! I will give you a real hug when we meet in person one of these days!!! Hang in there, sistah!

  4. I have three kids, my oldest is 8 and my youngest is 4. The worst thing about my sleep patterns is not my 4 year old. It is not my (two days from now!) 7 year old, it is not my 8 year old. It is not even my 43 year old mate. It is me.

    I do not get myself to bed. Seriously, it is 11:30 now and I was meant to be in bed at 10, but look at me, typing like a fiend!

    But I can sympathise. I look at people with babies, people with one year olds and two year olds and I say (out loud even) so glad it is them and not me. As much as I loved all of that sweetness and softness and babyness, it was an incredibly intense time of life and I'm not at all sorry I am finished with it. But you know, sleeplessness because of babies is like a really bad cold. You suffer, suffer, suffer, and then one day you wonder when the cold left you.

    Oh, and I met that woman in the Ganges, only she was in a little village in Indonesia, the wife of a polygamist, dirt poor with quite a few (5 maybe?) beautiful children. She looked beatific all the time, with a Mona Lisa smile, but when I started to help her to cook treats to sell at the school a village over, going to her kitchen at 4 am everyday, I learned that she handles it pretty much like the rest of us, bitchiness and all. And you know what? She was thinking about her own woman in the Ganges when she got down too. ;-D

  5. Thank you for those big fat virtual hugs, all of you. Seems that when you holler at the universe, it listens - and grants favors occasionally. Baby has only slightly stirred these past 2 nights, and my super duper hubby has been on duty both nights. I forced myself to go to sleep at 10:30 last night, and I was up at 5 (baby's trade off for not eating during the night) and I felt somewhat human again.

    Thank you for listening to the bitching - and Karen, how amazing you met her. And that she has her own Ganges!