No Sleep: A Reflux Mom’s Point of View
Any mom will tell you, long term sleep issues from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) causes your child to be irritable, fussy and difficult to live with. Not surprisingly, most children with GERD would probably agree that moms and caretakers are irritable and difficult to live with due to sleep deprivation! It is like “new mother’s haze” but it lasts much longer. Friends and family expect the mother of a newborn to skip the makeup and suddenly prefer sweats to suits. But what if you are still disheveled and overwhelmed when your reflux baby is 18 months old or three years old?
Long term sleep deprivation from GERD made me feel:
I had serious word recall and name recall issues. In addition, I would lose things or forget where I was driving, even in the middle of the day. For example, I am normally organized and systematic about running the household yet somehow I managed to lose the electric bill.
I was irritable about the smallest problem and had a very short frustration tolerance. An ordinary event like being disconnected while on hold with the pediatrician’s office felt like a big deal at the time. Yet on a full night of sleep, it wasn’t even worth mentioning.
I would wake up tired, feel tired all day and go to bed tired. If I sat down to read a story out loud or sit with the kids to watch Sesame Street, I would fall asleep. Church? Dark Movie Theater? Gone. Out cold. In minutes.
I was angry and frustrated by my life, my inability to fix the sleep and GERD problems and make others understand how awful my quality of life was. I also felt misunderstood by others. How could they possibly understand the depth of my fatigue?
Oh how I waited for Mary Poppins to come in and rescue us! It just didn’t happen. I finally started figuring out how to conserve energy while I was on the night shift. I severely cut back on my standards from making simple meals to ignoring the dust and piles of stuff. Just about every day, I took a nap. As soon as the baby was asleep in her crib, I would gather everyone by the couch for a 30 minute TV program. The kids knew that I was not to be disturbed for 30 minutes unless the house was burning down or worse. Most days, I immediately went into a deep sleep and woke up ready to face the demands of caring for a high need baby and two preschoolers as well. As soon as the kids went to bed, I would pull on my sweats and sign in for the night shift.