The Best of the Web: Middle of the Night Motherhood

Surviving middle of the night motherhood are popular topics! Here are some of the best words around the web for you middle of the night mamas. Get ready to laugh, cry and shout, "YES! Someone else actually GETS IT!"

"Be You Bravely" by Amena Brown (at MOMCon)

"Thriller" Parody by Vintage Marquee Lights - "TODDLER"

Journey by Moonlight: Middle of the Night Motherhood

This is a guest post from a wonderful soul-sister, the brave and beautiful, Kelly Pappas of Beautiful One Birth Services.

The phone rings.  The worst iPhone ring that you possibly could choose (the incredibly annoying siren) ringing at top volume, waking me from the depths of sound sleep. A mom is in the midst of journeying towards motherhood. Underneath the moonlight. She needs encouraging words, comforting hands, and a breath of fresh air. Her husband needs the same.

I am a birth doula, and my middle of the nights tend to look like this. With my own two young children sleeping soundly (another reason I know I was called to this work: my children both have been solid sleepers from the get-go. I know, not really the blog series to be discussing children who sleep well…I digress), I often find myself venturing to sleep with my phone on the loudest setting, and my prayers focused towards sweet couples who are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their sweet little ones.  I get dressed and grab a snack, only to creep out in the middle of the night, unsure of when I will return and what the night will hold. There is a thrill in it, there is a reverence in it.

While we often talk of motherhood as a society, we rarely speak of birth.  If we do speak of birth, it is mostly in jest, or in horror, and often not in the sacred reverence it truly deserves. By definition birth is bringing forth new life. What a thing to be in awe of, what a God to be in awe of!

Has there ever been such a juxtaposition of intensity (or discomfort, pain, or whatever else you want to call it?) and beauty?  Has there ever been a more intentional process that has God’s fingerprints ALL over it?

It’s funny what the middle of the night does to moms. Mamas become mammals in the dark. The more you learn about birth the more you see how wisely God designed the process (duh!). With melatonin at its peak in the very wee hours of the morning, and melatonin having been shown to help encourage contractions, it all makes sense.  Kind of like how cats love to hide in the back of your closet in the dark to birth their kittens, human labor often begins in the depths of the dark. And for good reason. Comfort. Security. Relaxation. Trust. Even in the dark. Especially in the dark.

There is a spiritual parallel here, yes? The depths bringing beauty, the pain bringing joy, the surrender to the tough stuff bringing GOODness. God’s best for us.
This is birth.
This is life.
This is good.
Even if it doesn’t always feel good.

So To You Sweet Laboring Mamas in the Middle of the Night,

You are not the only one awake right now, timing her surges and wondering what the rest of the night will hold. You are not the only one who is moaning and swaying and trying your hardest to just. keep. breathing. You are not the only one gathering your hospital bag goodies together, wondering if it’s time to head in. You are not the only one calling your midwife telling them it’s time to come over. You are not the only one wondering if there is any way she can possibly handle the cup that God has given you to drink, wondering if it is all too much handle and second guessing your whole idea of letting things play out naturally. You are not the only one who just wishes she could fall back asleep and let the harder work start in the morning. Other mamas are on their journey with you, whatever that journey may look like. Doing the hard work of bringing new life into the world.

What I have found in my own journey as a birth worker is this: There is no greater parallel for life in general than what we experience during labor and birth. There are no greater spiritual truths that I have learned than those I have learned supporting amazing women and their husbands in the journey of a lifetime. There is no greater surrender than I had to offer than that I did throughout my own two births (both happening in the middle of the night). This is my body. This is your temple. Even in the darkness, do with it what you will.

And that couple with the annoying siren ring on my phone? As I reach their house in the middle of the night and I hear mom moaning and groaning, I know she’s close. When she looks at me and tells me in a quivering voice, with tears in her eyes, “I just can’t do this anymore.” I know she’s close. In the darkness her midwives arrive. In the darkness she climbs a mountain unlike any mountain she has ever climbed before. In the darkness her husband watches his wife transform in to a warrior unlike anything he’s ever seen before. And in the darkness she moans and sways. and works. And in the darkness, the newest life on earth arrives.

And guess what happened next?

The sun came up.

Praise The Lord for the Light.

This post is part of the "31 Days of Middle of the Night Motherhood" series.

Kelly Pappas is a wife and a mom to two littles, along with being a birth doula and childbirth educator. Her heart is to glorify God through serving others. Read more from Kelly's heart and learn more about her doula services at Beautiful One Birth Services. 

The Beautiful Ugly: Middle of the Night Motherhood

This is a guest post from the wonderfully wise Dana Matas of Confessions of a Busy Mama. (Reposted with permission)

The phrase “beautiful ugly” is a term used to describe a fashion model whose striking features could be considered either beautiful or ugly, depending upon the eye of the beholder. An apparent contradiction, it prompts one to reconsider their natural inclination to separate two extremes that are inherently related. It is a saying that in many ways describes characteristics of another highly esteemed occupation. Motherhood.

As a child, I grew up watching shows like The Brady Bunch, Little House on the Prairie, and Leave It To Beaver. The mothers depicted in these shows always had the perfect response to their children’s disappointing situations. Whether they lived in the suburbs or on the prairie, they were not only well dressed; but, at a perfect size 2, they had enough time to shower, put on makeup, clean the house and serve a home cooked meal. These mothers never scolded their children or lost their cool. They were the standard-bearers for what it meant to be a mom; and we as a society put them on a pedestal for all to emulate.

While wholesome entertainment, I eventually found that these shows offered a warped sense of reality, raising up a generation of mothers who fault themselves for not living up to a standard that isn’t possible outside of a television studio. I tried my hardest to mirror these examples once I became a mom, bending over backwards to make certain every childhood milestone was a flawlessly captured for the family scrapbook. I managed to snap plenty of photos worthy of a Pinterest pinup, but behind the scenes our life was less like Leave It To Beaver and more like Teen Mom 2—or at least somewhere in the middle.

For those unfamiliar with Teen Mom 2, it is a reality show that chronicles the lives of several teen moms, handicapped by immaturity, lack of a higher education and a broken home. The show offers an honest portrayal of the highs-and-lows of motherhood under less than ideal circumstances. Such reality shows often get a bad wrap for being a “train wreck,” particularly when participants display their less than stellar moments for public consumption. But isn’t that what motherhood is at times—our own personal train wrecks, bloopers and retakes?

We might not broadcast our mommy-meltdowns for the rest of the world to see, but those who count (our kiddos) witness them all the same. And yet, our children love us despite the scenes from our life we’d prefer left on the cutting room floor. They’d never call us as a “train wreck.” Instead, they affectionately refer to us as “mom.”

After 13 years, four kids, and many mishaps along the way, I’m learning that the unconditional love of my children is much more visible from the battlefield than way up on a pedestal. Certainly there are plenty of days when I seem to have this motherhood thing all figured out. The kids are happy. The hubby is happy. Everyone’s needs are met and then some. Loving me is easy. But it is during life’s struggles that our children come to understand the depth of our love for them and have the opportunity to reflect that love back at us.

In 1 Corinthians 13:7, God tells us that love “[…endures through every circumstance]”—good and bad. Through sleep depravation. Through raging hormones. Through financial woes. Through sickness. Through misunderstandings, mistakes and frustrations. When our children love us through those moments that most of society considers ugly, we must not beat up on ourselves, assuming that our children are victims of having a less than perfect mother. Rather we should rejoice upon witnessing the evidence that our children are becoming the person our perfect God desires us to be—and that is beautiful.

This post is part of the "31 Days of Middle of the Night Motherhood" series.

Dana Matas is a wife, mother of four children, and Bible teacher for Community Bible Study in Carlsbad, California. To learn more about Dana and her life as a busy mama, visit her blog at  

Learning to Trust: Middle of the Night Motherhood

This post first appeared on Missional Motherhood, eloquently written by Caroline Saunders. (Reposted with permission)

At one time in my life, the middle of the night wasn’t anything to dread.
But I’m a new mom, and I’ve discovered that there’s a loneliness that belongs to the middle of the night. At first my baby needed me over and over again, her cries startling against the stillness, shaking me, the only one who can give her what she needs, the one who must navigate the stormy waters alone. Too alone.
She’s been sleeping through the night for a while, but now I’m the one who needs to learn to sleep. Too many thoughts, and tonight they sit heavy upon my chest and keep me awake. Today was like any other day. She’s a good baby, I am told. And I know it. But good babies are still babies, and today, like many other days, she had a spell of crying that I couldn’t diagnose. Sometimes the crying is deep and desperate, and its effect on me is like a punch in the gut. “What’s wrong, baby girl?” She doesn’t have the words to tell me, and my mother’s intuition fails, but eventually we make it through. We always do, of course, but it makes me uneasy. I hope she’s okay. I hope I’m doing okay.
Because what if she’s not? Or what if I’m not? I cannot even formulate these questions without my chest tightening and my hands shaking. I want to throw up. On nights like this I have to get out of bed and shake the words out of my mind and onto a blank page where they can’t haunt me.
This being a mom thing is the scariest thing I have ever done. It has revealed a dark piece of information I was not prepared to deal with: I do not know how to trust God.

Click here to read more on Missional Motherhood...

This post is part of the "31 Days of Middle of the Night Motherhood" series.

Whispers: Middle of the Night Motherhood

This post first appeared on Bronwyn Lea’s blog. (Reposted with permission)
Photo credit: Georgie PauwelsFlickr Creative Commons
I went to bed too late. Bleary eyed and grumpy, I made all the mistakes: there was a screen in my bed, I ate sugar too late, I did not look at my husband eye-to-eye before clicking off the light. 
Sleep came hurriedly but, like taking a turnoff on a highway only to discover yourself going too fast on a suddenly-gravel road, I bumped in and out of consciousness. A fly buzzing, a light on and off, a memory of something undone, and then – within an hour – the thump thump thump of little feet making their way to my bed. Whoever spoke of the pitter patter of little feet wasn’t describing how pitter patters echo in the pumpkin hour.
I grizzled and leaned into the little face enquiring. Something about scary. Something about not being able to sleep. Something about wanting to sleep with us. I opened up the covers and felt his warmth clamber over me into the Parental Valley of Bliss. Asleep within minutes, he flung his arm out in slumbering joy, and whacked me in the eye.
Clearly, this was not working.
And, for what was surely the thousandth time in these years of mothering, walking the thousandth weary step in a path tread bare between our bed and theirs, I gathered him up and sighed a martyrs sigh to relocate his tangle of limbs to his own bed. 
The bathroom light flashed across his face as we walked, and his eyelashes made a dramatic shadowed sweep across his cheek’s contour. He stirred, and I spoke a hybrid of comfort-warning close to his ear: “shhhh. sleep.”
His breathed his reply: a whisper, a benediction of night time love: “I love you, Mommy.”
Oh, my baby. Mommy loves you too. 

This post is part of the "31 Days of Middle of the Night Motherhood" series.
This post first appeared on Bronwyn Lea’s blog where she writes about motherhood, life and faith: the things that make her laugh and the things that make her think. Bronwyn is a South-African born writer-mama raising three littles in Northern California. You can find more of her words at, and follow along on Facebook and Pinterest