Today's post from Leah De Shay is her response to this question posed in the Beyond Sleep Training peer support group-

The idea of letting baby sleep when they need it and that babies and toddlers biologically need to wake up a lot in the night sounds fine. But is it biologically normal for us mama's to be tired as a result? When do I get to sleep?

Leah's response:

It is not normal at all, actually, but due to the abject failures of both society, and medical and psychological fields to address the discrepancies in lack of maternal child health care, it is painfully common and threatening the future of social progress and well-being in the long run.

Western society has all but forgotten that biology never, ever planned for birthing parents to be caring for children, around the clock, alone.

Our forebears lived in tribal-family clusters for thousands of years, in which case there were assigned loved ones on duty to ensure the rest, recovery, and safety of both the new baby AND the new mother/parent.

The industrial Revolution and what is honestly modern feudal capitalist society changed some things for the better but many for the worse in that isolation was never, ever a biosocial part of our evolution.

What I despise from my colleagues is the heavy emphasis on the normalcy of the babies behaviour while completely ignoring his obscenely abnormal, harmful, and at times dangerous current circumstances burden the new birthing parent with. It is irresponsible and delusional to put the burden of the child’s unending needs on the back of a person who themselves has been so transformed that they need help to adjust and survive. As a maternal child health professional who is also a mother, I’ve resented the intentional blindness in my profession to this imbalance for years. Anthropologically there is no excuse for it but it would require our political and medical health care systems to change greatly to acknowledge what discrepancies exist instead of leaving the balance to come out of the primary parents health, well-being, and long term survival. Whether professionals ignore it or not, fatigue absolutely destroys the human body. Parents- especially not women- were never meant to be sacrificed on the altar of infant developmental needs. My profession, the health care field, and the politicians who are pulling it in non-biological directions need to care about birthing parents as much as they do the infants who are born from them if we are ever going to make progress.

So no, mothers were absolutely not supposed to be this tired because they were never evolved to be fully responsible for their own medical, hormonal, and psychological recoveries in addition to all their children’s survival and well-being alone.

We stand to continually fail the entire family unite when we yell “Baby behaviour is normal!” while ignoring that lack of support and matrescent abandonment for the most difficult task humans can ever endure.

You should absolutely be able to honour your babies needs without forsaking your own basic Maslow hierarchy of survival. In this current post-industrial, postmodern social scape, it is nearly impossible for that to happen until we, like many other modern countries that are a bit more egalitarian & humane, prioritize the recovery and well-being of the birthing parent as highly as we do the child.

Some of us- self included- are dedicating our lives work to it, but unfortunately it is still an uphill battle (thanks to medical sexism and the like) in countries such as the United States.

This is why advocacy- on all levels- is sooo important 

Till then, be encouraged that if you feel frustrated that trying to meet your Children’s 24/7 needs all by yourself with no help or support is discouraging, that is normal that you feel this way.

Lean into groups where you can find ways to get the support you need and find those of us who are both parents and providers who are trying to change that- one patient and one policy at a time.

It’s easier when you know you’re not alone, that you’re not abnormal, and that there is a community that exists to help make things more biologically balanced for you and to balance policy to reflect these needs as well!

I say this as a mother of 4- two who are still breastmilk fed- an LC, a doula, and a reproductive health sociology researcher.

We are stronger together. You aren’t crazy for feeling this way. We can change this- for ourselves and for society- one day and as many families as possible at a time 

~Leah De Shay, 2021

Hear more from Leah by following her page Fam Doulala on Instagram and Facebook and in her episodes on

The Beyond Sleep Training Podcast

(Season 1 episodes 18 and 19)