Only last month new mum Zoe Marshall posted a desperate message on Instagram sharing how overwhelmed and exhausted she felt at not being able to settle her baby in the night.
"This is me," the Kiwi TV host and blogger wrote alongside an image of her in bed with tear-stained cheeks.
"Overwhelmed, after crying in my room for an hour. Benj had been playing away and I just couldn't handle any of it. I felt bad for wanting some space to breathe and weep. I felt scared that I didn't know what Fox needed. I was so incredibly exhausted."
Sleep deprivation is a harsh and distressing reality for new parents - with unsettled babies and round-the-clock feeding making the night a busy time. But even after babies become more settled and can last longer between feeds, there are still wakeful nights with teething, illness, bad dreams and simple things like over-tiredness keeping your child (and you) up night after night.
Sleep deprivation can play havoc with your mental health, feeding conditions like postnatal depression. It cannot be underestimated. If you feel like you're hitting the wall, speak up and ask for help.
While it's small consolation, knowing you're not alone can give comfort.
The video below, posted on Instagram by American mum-of-three Melanie Darnell, has resonated with mums for this reason. The time lapse footage, which she recorded over a typical night when her husband was away for work, shows her going to bed alone. But not long after she's joined by her 10-month-old baby and then her two-year-old.
The 10-month-old is unsettled and constantly on the move. Her toddler reportedly had an ear infection.
Alongside her video, Melanie wrote:
"Parenting doesn't end when the sun goes down... Realizing that the last sweet hours of restful darkness are almost over. The 4am wake-up call is especially excruciating. Still, we haul ourselves out of bed, and with bleary eyes pull our babies in close."
Melanie encouraged other parents to remember they're not alone in the night:
"During these moments let's think of all of the other parents that are up with their babies at the very same middle-of-the night moment and take comfort in the thought of each of us cradling our babies in the dark of our homes, together in shared experience. Rather than feeling isolated and exhausted, we can feel connected to the other tired mothers that are also awake #momsunited.
"So, to all of the tired mothers out there, breathe in and breathe out. These days are intense but short lived. Both you and baby will be sleeping more soundly before long. For now, cuddle your babies, nurse them and love them no matter what time the clock says..."
With more than 1,300,000 views since the post went up four days ago, her message clearly struck a chord.
Said one parent, "That is my life. Much love fellow mumma bear."
"Thank you for sharing! Exactly what I'm going through these days," said another.
The comments continued:
"Omg, thank you for making this video. People often don't see how long the hours are and forget that even at night, we still parent..."
"So true that at every moment through the night there's another parent out there up with their baby too! ...I needed to see this, makes me feel so much better about waking 3/4/5/6 times a night!"
"Your video made me realise that no matter where we are from all mothers are same and so kids are. I am an Asian and felt like it's my video."
"I have been feeling all alone and it's so nice to be able to see that I am not the only one going through this."
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