“I Was Afraid To Throw My Baby Across The Room: Exhausted Mom Talks The Reality Of Sleep Deprivation

For new parents, an unsleeping baby is their worst nightmare. It was the reality of Nicole Ratcliffe.

The new mom had done absolutely everything to stop her daughter’s incessant crying. The exhausted mum had even called 111, as she feared her daughter was ill.

Eventually, Nicole dropped off her newborn, returned to her room and collapsed, the Manchester Evening News reports.

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“She just didn’t want to fall asleep,” Nicole said. “I fed her, rocked her and sang to her; she screamed for two hours.

“I started banging on the bed. I felt that if I didn’t let that frustration out, it would be dangerous for the baby.

“It was that fear factor that I could end up lobbing her across the room. You can’t describe it – sleep deprivation is a form of torture; it bothers you completely. If you don’t get the right help, you can really go in circles.

Nicole, from the Sharston area of ​​Wythenshawe, says the problems with her eldest Sofia started when she was born. Complications meant the 41-year-old needed a caesarean section, a far cry from the natural birth she envisioned for her first-born.

The problems continued when Sofia, now six, struggled to breastfeed and they both contracted infections. But life as a new mum really got worse when Sofia wasn’t sleeping, pushing Nicole and her husband to the brink of divorce.

“You are told that newborn babies sleep, but mine does not. Nothing was what I was told it would be,” Nicole continued.

“I had always intended to have four children and was very confident that I was going to be a wonderful mum, being extremely motherly, having read loads of books and taking prenatal classes. The truth is that is that I was totally unprepared for the reality of motherhood.

“As the months passed with no improvement in her sleep patterns, I became even more exhausted. For others, I pretended everything was fine, but I struggled with extreme sleep deprivation and my mental health suffered.

“I was experiencing feelings of great anxiety and rage and my marriage was at breaking point. Everything was a challenge from day one.

Nicole’s relationship became so strained that the couple were forced to take advice to save their marriage. When Sofia was almost nine months old, the couple sought professional help from a consultant who eventually managed to improve the toddler’s sleep.

“By the time she was four months old, my husband and I tried to go out for the day and had the most terrible argument,” Nicole said. “Sleep deprivation had affected us so much that we couldn’t cope.

“We hated each other, really. None of us could stand each other. I kept being labeled as an anxious mom; that didn’t solve the problem. We weren’t sleeping.

“In August, we started marriage counseling. We thought it was the last thing we could do because we didn’t know what else to do. It was cheaper to do that than to divorce.

“When Sofia was eight and a half months old, someone told me about a sleep consultant. We changed her routine, which helped her sleep more. I thought, ‘This is so different ‘ She was happier, we were happier and we were able to start functioning again.

Driven by her own exhaustion and desire to help others, Nicole began studying sleep herself, eventually becoming an expert and starting her own business, Baby2Sleep.

As well as being able to help other parents, she felt better able to manage sleep issues when their second daughter Alyssia was born, three days before lockdown.

“When Sofia was eight and a half months old, someone told me about a sleep consultant. We changed her routine, which helped her sleep more. I thought, ‘This is so different ‘ She was happier, we were happier and we were able to start functioning again.

Driven by her own exhaustion and desire to help others, Nicole began studying sleep herself, eventually becoming an expert and starting her own business, Baby2Sleep.

As well as being able to help other parents, she felt better able to manage sleep issues when their second daughter Alyssia was born, three days before lockdown.

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