Join Us
Connect with others and find support.
methodology-benefit methodology-benefit
Recently Viewed By
  • Abigail Burd
  • NBP Mama
  • McKenzie Hambsch
  • Amy Saloner
  • Jeanette Albright

My oldest son began screaming when he was 10 days old and his parents, that would be me and my husband Tim, thought it was a brief phase in his baby life. A funny joke we’d write about in his baby book. We’d call it: “The week he screamed his lungs out.” A baby can’t scream day and night for months, we told ourselves. Little did we know that a baby can scream for nearly 18 months, day and night. The joke was on us.

Jacob’s birth, in June 1999, was by far the most significant day of my life. My water broke early in the morning, around 5am. I called the midwives. I remember sitting on our deck on a typical Arkansas day of 101 degrees and humid, eating fresh bread Tim had baked, asking the midwives if they thought I was close to delivering my first baby.

“Oh no,” they laughed. “You’ll know you’re close when you stop talking.”

Eight hours later I stopped talking and had a baby in our bedroom.  

I can’t say my whole life I had been waiting for the moment I gave birth, but when it happened I knew I would never be the same. I had received something I did not anticipate: a fulfilled craving, a journey back to my true self, the place I knew so well as a young child. I had touched my soul. Giving birth was the first moment I felt like I had absolute clarity in who I was as a woman.

I prayed that night: thank you. I said thank you for my baby and thank you for this gift of true selfhood. Thank you for showing me that I am powerful way beyond the physical realm. But most of all I prayed to never lose this sense of harmony and courageous confidence in who I am. I prayed it wasn’t a fluke.

The day after I gave birth I pictured my friend God saying to me, “I’ll always be here for you showing you the way back to yourself.”

When day 10 arrived and breastfeeding would not end Jacob’s screaming Tim dance him around our house for 6 hours trying to stop the loud shrill of noise.  In the weeks that followed we swaddled him. Tried Homeopathic. Put him on a bouncy seat on top of the dryer for vibration and warmth. We even slipped him some brandy on the advice of a family friend whose daughter was now 32 but she still remembered those sleep-less nights when her infant daughter would not stop screaming.

On day 21 I asked God to please help me.

“I know that there are other people with probably more pressing issues, but I think this situation warrants an appearance,” I whispered.

He didn’t come.

By day 60, when I felt the crippling sense of sleep deprivation begin to wrap its band of power around me, I pleaded with God to show up.

Still no God.

On day 120, after seeing dozens of doctors with no answers for the screaming and averaging 3 hours of broken sleep every night, we found God in two words: vacuum cleaner.  Turning on the vacuum cleaner was the only way we could get Jacob to stop screaming.  

For a year we ate every meal with the vacuum cleaner on. Nap times were vacuum cleaner time too.

The day I gave birth to Jacob and his first birthday felt like decades apart.  My sense of self had completely disappeared in the haze of exhaustion. I could barely remember his birth. I no longer had clarity about anything. Did Jacob need changing? Should I try breastfeeding again? Was there a God?

Two months later, in a drunken state of sleep deprivation, I hit rock bottom.

“I can’t do this anymore!” I shouted as Tim walked in from work one evening, the vacuum cleaner on.

Hitting rock bottom has many parallels to transition in childbirth. It’s the point of no return. A place of unknowing that is so deep it’s frightening yet at the same time you are fearless.  If you give in to it, press that permission button allowing yourself to fall apart, you’re rewarded with a gift: freedom.

“I’m going to a hotel for the night to get some sleep,” I told Tim.

I arrived at the hotel with a bag of popcorn, a bottle of water, and my breast pump. I can still remember the cement feeling in my body when it dropped into bed that night, falling asleep to the nighttime silence of my room.

I prayed: Thanks. Thanks for giving me the strength to be good to myself. To receive rest.

God was there after all.



Karen Brody is the founder of Bold Tranquility, a yoga nidra meditation company helping people be good to themselves. She is also the playwright of the critically acclaimed play Birth and founder of the BOLD Method for Birth, called “a powerful and poetic union of women’s empowerment and childbirth education.”    



Topics: parenting, sleep