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Mary Anne on sleep deprivation and babies

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I think there are a lot of things that we as a society don't like to talk about, a lot of stuff where the polite thing to do is for everyone to collectively act as if certain problems and issues aren't there.

One thing I've always admired about Mary Anne is her willingness to talk about some of those things.

Much too early this morning (it says 6:33 a.m., but that's Chicago time, and she's currently in California), M posted another letter to her kids, in which she notes (among other things) that we as a society like to maintain the polite fiction that parents undergoing sleep deprivation are just a little tired. And sure, some new parents do okay. But I think a lot of new parents manage to look to the outside world like they're holding up better than they really are. Most of us who aren't parents (and who aren't in medicine) have never experienced the level and duration of sleep deprivation involved in dealing with an infant; and I think many people who are parents tend to later forget how bad it can get. (I think a lot of people (including me) have a remarkable capacity for forgetting just how bad things were during some kinds of difficult situations.)

This all ties in with some stuff I've been meaning to post about for weeks, about the difficulty I have in remembering that other people are, much of the time, just as insecure and uncertain as I am, no matter how good a façade they put up; I think there are a lot of contexts in which people look to others like they're doing pretty well, when inside they're a mess of one sort or another. But that's another topic for another day.

I've also been wanting to write about trying to educate myself a little about disability issues, and about invisible disability, and a bunch of related stuff. But that too will have to wait.

For today, I just wanted to recommend reading M's letter to her kids. Which in addition to the sleep deprivation stuff, is also sweet and funny.

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