The loneliness of 3AM

3AM. I am sitting between my children’s beds, holding a hand each as I wait for them to go back to sleep. Listening to my husband snoring. In this moment I feel so utterly alone.


Successive nights of interrupted sleep have broken me. 3AM is when I snap, when it all becomes too much to bear. For the last few nights it seems I have only just drifted off to sleep before being woken yet again. And then when the children finally seem to be sleeping soundly, my brain decides to wake up and take away what little chance I have for sleep.


3AM, I hate you. This is the time when I am at my lowest, when my thoughts attack. The children are finally asleep, the husband still snores but sleep is elusive. I sit in the darkness and cry. I am so tired. Why won’t my mind now let me sleep?


Jessica asleep in her bed - "The loneliness of 3AM"


All those worries, all those fears that seem manageable in the day now become huge and overwhelming. Mummy guilt gains power. It taunts me, tells me that I’m not good enough. Reminding me of the harsh words I couldn’t hold back at the moment when I reached the end of my tether and snapped. Reminding me of the journey that lies ahead and the moments that I should be cherishing.


Mummy guilt is an evil beast at the best of times and even more so when you have a child with complex medical needs. It constantly reminds you of how lucky you are and how thankful you should be for every single moment. That every moment is a precious one. No matter how exhausting, how relentless, how challenging it may be. Be grateful, mummy guilt scolds. Remember how different this journey could have been. Think how terrible it could still become…


I know that parenting is hard. That being a heart mummy is hard. That all these thoughts, fears and feelings are natural and normal. No matter how overwhelming, how frightening, how intense they may be. And at 3AM they are so very, very intense. And I am so very, very alone in this moment while they torment me.


This is the moment when the fear of the road ahead gains strength. That reminder that as hard as this moment is, there may come a time when I long for it. Because to be able to sit on the floor and hold my children’s hands is a gift. And tonight it is a gift I am ungrateful for as mummy guilt reminds me. In a few short weeks when I sit next to a hospital bed, I will long to be home with my babies and to have normality again.


And the fear that I dare not express? In this moment it comes up to me and stares me in the face. It is so hard to push away. It is too real, too strong.


In the darkness I am alone with my thoughts and my fears. Fighting my demons while I listen to the gentle breathing of my sleeping family. All around me is calm. But my head is a swirling storm of emotions and worries. My mind will not switch off.


Sometime before dawn, exhaustion will eventually win over. My mind which is so wide-awake now, will be foggy and groggy when it actually needs to wake up. The fear and the guilt will lessen but I will carry them with me as I go through the day. And when tiredness makes my temper short and my tongue sharp, they will rise up to berate me once again.


The children are asleep. I return to my bed, listening to the soft breathing all around me and try to push the thoughts away. I pray for strength for the road ahead, and hope that my fears will be unfounded. Maybe tomorrow will be a better night. Maybe sleep will give back the patience and courage that seems elusive tonight. And if not, at least there’s coffee and the healing power of a hug.


And when I have to face the journey ahead, I will not be alone. No matter how alone I feel at 3AM. I have love, I have prayers, I have support and I have faith. I will hold fast to these things and know that I am surrounded by them.


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29 thoughts on “The loneliness of 3AM

  1. Aww! Bless you! Sending big hugs!
    I have been there at stupid o’clock in the morning letting my mind go into overdrive. It’s not good at all.
    I hope you manage to catch up on your lost sleep. xxx

    1. Thank you Kim. I’m trying to get some early nights in to catch up – it makes such a difference to my mood if I can get a bit more sleep at times like this x

  2. I feel your pain, 3am is an arsehole. I’m sorry you are going through this at a time when you already have so much on your plate. I hope you all manage to get some sleep soon.

    1. Thank you Nat, the weekend was a little better. Going to focus on trying to get some early nights this week x

  3. We’ve all been there letting our thoughts run away with us in the early hours, but with the operation looming it’s no wonder you’re going through this now. Wishing you a decent night’s sleep soon. X

    1. Thank you Sarah – it definitely doesn’t help having that worry on my mind at the moment x

  4. I totally understand the misery of 3am – it’s the hour that breaks me too, and yet I don’t have to worry about any of the things you do. There’s something about when you reach that point in the night and you know that the window to get any sleep in has gone really, and your mind starts stressing and wandering. I really hope that you manage a better night soon, but I know that you’ll find the strength to carry on from your gorgeous family. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    1. Thank you Katy. It is such a horrible time of night, isn’t it? I’m focusing on getting some early nights for a while to help counteract the effects that 3am brings!

  5. 3am is the worst possible time, you can see the time ticking by and that soon its going to be morning and that chance to get anymore sleep is gone. My mind is terrible for wandering off and that really does add to it all! I hope you get some sleep soon. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    1. It’s so hard when they don’t sleep well. Thankfully it’s been getting better again here. Hope that re-sleep training has helped your youngest.

  6. I really feel for you – my two year old has only just started sleeping through the night (sometimes), and I’d already had two years of sleepless nights with the older one before he was born. Sleep deprivation is just horrible – and especially when it has been going on for a long time. I don’t have anything like the worries you do, but I really hope things get better for you on the sleep front soon. #SharingTheBlogLove

    1. Thank you Sarah, it is hard when the sleep deprivation goes on for a long time. Glad to hear that your two year old is getting better at sleeping through the night.

  7. My mind has a mind of its own at 3am. I try so hard to reason with it. But there’s no getting through until morning, when it’s more reasonable x #SharingtheBlogLove

  8. I love this post – I too am at a similar place at 3am, I can no longer remember what it feels like to have a full nights uninterrupted sleep. #sharingthebloglove

    1. It’s hard when you haven’t slept well in so long. Hope that you start getting some more sleep soon as well.

  9. It is so hard to stay in control of your thoughts and fears when you’ve had a broken nights’ sleep. The more you try to switch off, the more vivid the thoughts become and the more frantically they spin around your head. I am sorry to hear that you are facing this. Try to be kind to yourself. It is not possible to cherish every moment of parenting so try not to command yourself to. #sharingthebloglove

    1. Thank you Lucy. So true that it isn’t possible to cherish every moment – there are many moments that are challenging and exhausting but mummy guilt is not always so easy to reason with at 3am!

  10. Awww Louise 🙁 My mummy when through a bout of her mind racing through the night and not sleeping well. It’s hard to switch off at times 🙁 so hope you get through this tough period x we’re all behind you x #SharingtheBlogLove x

  11. Oh I really feel for you. I struggle with sleep when I’m stressed about things so I can’t imagine how you must feel. Have you tried some relaxation/deep breathing? It really helps me. There are a couple of apps out there (one is called Thrive and it’s great for calm breathing exercises). Sometimes when I’m really restless and have been for an hour or more I then do it and I’m surprised I do drift off. Wishing you and your family all the best for the future xx #SharingtheBlogLove

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