Pure exhaustion can make people do crazy things. Sleep deprivation can lead to symptoms varying from moodiness and hunger to darker symptoms, such as depression and mimicked psychosis. Not everyone can get the recommended six to eight hours of sleep every night, but sleep is an important part of life. Sleep is what helps bodies heal and restores us for a new day. It keeps us mentally sharp and helps keep us healthy overall.
It is fair to say new mothers are some of the most sleep deprived people in day-to-day life. Worrying about how their newborn is doing through the night, having to feed every few hours, and learning what their baby’s cries mean can make for very long nights with little sleep.
Generally, these sleepless nights do not just last a few days, but sometimes for weeks or months. Some moms will joke it lasts about eighteen years. When a new mom is running on a few hours of sleep over the course of a few weeks or months, scary things can happen.
Even the happiest, smartest person can make some questionable decisions with little-to-no sleep. We searched to find some of the scariest things that new moms have done as a result of sleep deprivation. We know we will try to get a full eight hours tonight!
15 I Could Handle The Loss Better With Some Sleep
One sleep deprived new mom said her baby normally did not sleep through the night. Suddenly one night, the baby had been asleep for a few hours, and the new mom only realized after sleeping for a few hours herself.
Realizing this, the mother experienced severe panic, followed by great relief. Her horrifying thought process was that she could handle a deceased child better than she could handle any more sleep deprivation and she would be able to process the death better after a full night’s sleep.
Following this rationale, she went back to sleep for the remainder of the night. Luckily, the baby ended up being okay and Mom did not have to wake up to that awful scenario. We hope both mom and baby got great sleep that night.
14 Adding Insult To Injury
Twitter user Naz Wilson @wnaz37 said that she sprained her foot while trying to cross the baby gate barrier that kept her child from using the stairs. She took to Twitter to share her story and a terrible mom-joke along with it.
Becoming disoriented or clumsy can be a result of a lack of sleep. Imagine falling with the baby in tow! Luckily, this was just a sprain and not a break or an even worse tale for mom or baby. With little sleep, it may take Ms. Wilson even longer to heal than the average person since sleep helps the healing process. This is an innocent incident that — while made comical — should make others proceed with caution when running on fumes and approaching a potential obstacle. We cannot succumb to sleeplessness and compromise our babies’ safety.
13 Broken Down And Wanting To Break Others
Reddit user Tercerero wrote a post on how exhausted and frustrated she was with everyone. From strangers, to her husband, and even her baby, this user was getting fed up with everyone and was feeling more than overwhelmed. Little things — such as her husband’s snoring and full nights rest, as well as people’s not-so-helpful advice — made her want to snap.
She even stated she has to play pretend in order not to break her baby, like she is already broken. That is a scary accusation. This shows the true moodiness and irritability that can come from sleep deprivation. Commenters on this post supported the new mom and recommend therapy, with one user saying they thought they were depressed or that something greater was wrong, but they were just sleep deprived! We hope this mama got some sleep and that the hate stopped flowing.
12 That’s Not Me, It’s A Mirage
Reddit user Milkysecret also experienced scary side effects from sleep deprivation. She said that she would constantly be sobbing or yelling — speaking to the moodiness side of sleep deprivation. While that can be bad enough for some people, this user experienced everything a step further.
She states that one day, while rocking her child to sleep, she caught a look at herself in the mirror. In the mirror, she was laughing manically to the point it instilled fear in her. The scary part is that she was not laughing; she was hallucinating.
This hallucination was so bad that she thought she was dying. This is straight out of a horror movie. Thankfully, this new mommy sought some much-needed help from her husband and worked out a better sleep and feeding schedule.
11 Serving Time For Sleep Deprived Crime
A new mom in Canada had an incredibly fussy baby. This baby would not sleep, would constantly cry, and offered no relief to either parent. The relatively new mom was also pregnant with another baby already, contributing to her overall sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, this tale has a grim end. The mom got so fed up with her new baby that she shook him.
She shook him so hard that it caused brain damage and put the baby in a near-vegetative state. While the baby did not pass away, he will experience severe difficulties in his life due to this brain trauma and will likely have a shorter lifespan. Both parents of this baby were arrested and will be serving time for causing harm to the baby and not providing for him, all in the name of one night’s rest.
10 Where Did The Baby Go?
Memory loss can be a common sign of sleep deprivation. Sometimes, people forget their own names or birthdays. However, one mom forgot to bring her child with her. This new mom had left the house to go shopping to get the household necessities.
Going through her normal motions, she did not realize that she was missing anything. She got almost all the way to the store before she realized that she left the baby in the crib at home! She had to turn around and rush back to make sure the baby was okay before heading back out.
Luckily, nothing happened to the baby and the mom had not been gone too long. The mother was traumatized by this experience and hopes that she never gets to that point of sleep deprivation again. It is a scary thought to think about leaving a child alone — especially a newborn.
9 An Explosion In The Kitchen
Some new moms have a great support system around them. Some of the kind people they know will make them dinners that they can just pop into the oven to cook for the family instead of having to go through meal prep with a new little one.
A new mom on Reddit that goes by Jmee10 said that she had frozen several casseroles and decided she wanted to heat one up for dinner. She took the casserole in its glass dish out of the freezer and placed it on top of the stove while the oven heated up.
She and her family were in the other room when they heard a bit of an explosion and shards flying everywhere. Instead of putting the oven on, this sleep deprived mom put the stove on, heating the frozen glass to the point of explosion. Had she still been in the room, she likely would have gotten hit by some of the shards of glass from the pan.
8 Red Light, Green Light
Several moms have shared a similar story about having to run out to the store while incredibly sleep deprived. In these stories, the overtired mom will have to pick up an essential from the store. On the way to the store, they see a red light and stop for it. They wait, and wait, and wait for the light to turn red.
Cars may beep at them and it may take forever for these lights to turn, only for them to realize — or for a police officer to tell them — that it is not a stop light that they are stopped at, but a stop sign. Stop signs do not change color. So, they would have been at the “light” for a long time. This can cause quite a scene on the road, not to mention an accident. This story has been told in several forms on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Buzzfeed.
7 Someone Is Watching Me And The Baby
There was a mother getting less than an hour of sleep every day for a couple of years. She felt sick every day and could not figure out why. As time continued on, she started experiencing symptoms of paranoia and depression. She became too afraid to leave the house, firmly believing that there was a man waiting to steal her and her baby.
She felt that everyone was in on some conspiracy to get her taken away and that her family would never know why she was taken from them. She would see things that no one else would — making her believe in the conspiracy even more. All of these thoughts add up to sleep deprivation. This woman turned her pain into something to help raise awareness for sleep deprivation. She is now publishing some of her darkest pieces of writing from that time period.
6 Lethal Delusions
Sleep deprivation can be a key contributor to postpartum depression. They tend to walk hand-in-hand in many cases. A new mom was losing more and more sleep every day. She started having delusions and fantasies about attacking and stabbing her newborn baby with any sharp object in sight — killing him in the process.
She never actually ended up harming her baby, but kept imagining she did. The stress from not sleeping would blur the line between fantasy and reality, making it so this new mama would occasionally think she did hurt her baby. She sought help and learned that she was not alone, but that did not make these daydreams any less terrifying for her. These thoughts can be classified as the mock psychosis and can be a very real problem if they are not addressed.
5 Driving While Sleep Deprived Can Be Fatal
In 2013, a new mom was driving while sleep deprived. In this state, she hit and killed a nanny that was pushing a carriage with a child in it. This child was also hurt. The new mom only had to face two days in jail and six months of house arrest.
Driving in such a sleep deprived state can slow reflexes and have an effect “similar to driving drunk or high on drugs,” as the Deputy City Attorney Nicole Kukas said to the Daily Mail. This new mom never saw the light turn red, which led to the fatality and near-death that day.
While this woman acknowledged that she was sleep deprived, this was only a day-and-a-half after giving birth. Whether she had full knowledge of what the sleep deprivation was doing to her body is unknown. This was a scary situation for all parties involved.
4 Lock Baby Up And Throw Away The Key
There is a whole group on Facebook dedicated to parents that regret having children. One mother has a three-year-old, but is a first-time mom. This little one is giving mom a run for her money and not allowing her mother to get more than two hours of sleep in a night.
This sleep deprivation has led to panic attacks, physical sickness, and threats of separation between Mom and Dad. Frustration built up to the point where the new mom resorted to physical violence against her child while also attaching a lock on the toddler’s door so she could not get out. The toddler continues to wail and take away more sleep from both parents. This new mom feels guilty for all that she has done to try to control the toddler and get some sleep, but nothing is working.
3 Just A Hair Shy Of Shaken Baby Syndrome
Many new moms on Reddit have related to a meme about Shaken Baby Syndrome, which ultimately states that they have to repeat to themselves that they would never shake a baby, as their baby is screaming at the top of their lungs.
One mom thought this hit particularly close to home, since her baby had refused to sleep for about a year-and-a-half of their life, and the mother was particularly young. The mom imagined shaking the baby as she became numb and slipped into a fog.
When she came out of her dreamlike state, she realized she had not shaken her baby, although she was shaking herself. This temporary loss of sanity and extreme irritability correlates to sleep deprivation. New mom’s that need sleep know that they have the power to get their sleep back, but sometimes with very dark means. Never shake a baby.
2 What Has Happened To This Mom’s Life?
One new mom took to Facebook in an anonymous post to relay the importance of getting enough shuteye. In this post, the mother vented about the strain that the new baby was causing on her marriage, primarily due to sleep deprivation and the redundancy of every day. The mother was even so bold as to say she hates her life now, although she feels guilty about it.
She regretted having a baby and decided to share it with a group that was there to sympathize with her, having struggled with the same regrets themselves. This depression and resentment seemed to run deep, and although she admittedly knew it was due to sleep deprivation, she was hating everyone around her.
Motherhood was not what she expected and she wants out desperately, especially since she felt her son deserved better. There was no follow-up to see if this mom kept her baby, put him up for adoption, or got some sleep, but we hope everything worked out
1 Double Deprivation Losses
A mom in Florida knows the truths behind sleep deprivation all too well, since she has took the life of two different newborns as a result of her own lack of sleep. It started in 2009 when she took her her two-week-old daughter's life after she fell asleep breastfeeding her in an improper position.
This lead to police advising her against co-sleeping in an unsafe manner and warning her of the dangers of sleep deprivation. Seven years later, the new mother took her her almost three-week-old baby's life while feeding him with a bottle. Both of these instances related to co-sleeping — a practice that, when done correctly, is actually the safest method of sleep for a baby.
She fed both of these children while sharing a bed with them, as co-sleeping is one of the ways that some moms try to get more sleep. Since two babies were killed in a similar manner, and because she had been warned several times, this mother is facing prison time for the babies’ deaths.