So like all parents of new babies I have spent the last 2 and a bit weeks discovering just how little sleep I can function on, and how much sleep I need to feel “human” or “normal”!
Thank goodness it’s no longer the 8 hours I needed at least 3 nights a week before having my first child! And I am in a small way grateful that my eldest son was a sleepwalker, and did not give me more than 2 consecutive nights of more than 6 hours until 2 years ago! It means my body has not fully gone back to expecting lots of sleep. Plus add in to that the joys of pregnancy and the aches and pains, and constant toilet trips needed in the night, that do prepare you for having a baby and losing sleep.
However, less than 2 hours is a limit I’ve never even hit when my insomnia was bad. And when those precious two hours are not even consecutive I’m really starting to struggle. Plus in my waking moments I not only have to function for myself, but I also have to function enough to provide for a small person who is totally dependent on my. I also have to still function as a parent to my elder son, and at times be able to help with GCSE homework.
Last night was the first night of me doing the majority of the work in terms of changes, winding, settling the baby back to sleep, on my own. Hubby has been a great support, but he is back to work today. For the last couple of weeks he has taken the baby early in the morning allowing me a longer block of sleep – as much as is possible between feeds! Yes I have been very blessed by this, and I know not all new parents are able to share the load in this way. But boy do I know about the difference this morning.
All the health professionals, and mums out there are probably now screaming at my post that I need to sleep when the baby sleeps. Yes I know this theory. I’ve even shared this wisdom with other new mums, but it’s hard to do when your body has decided it is now up and awake for at least the next few hours and sleeping at this time of day is an alien concept that the brain has not yet processed. I also know I still need to eat and drink and do all those other things you need to do just to function as a mum each day.
Am I unique in these feelings of tiredness…..nope! I know other new mummies that are part of my amazing support network are feeling it too. I know mummies all over the world feel the same on a daily basis. So why am I writing about it?
I am writing it down because it helps me process what is going on. It helps me rationalise and realise I am just normal. I don’t have to be super mum and achieve everything in the first day of being on my own. I just need to do enough that my children have what they need to survive the day. I don’t even need to worry that they and I have what we need to get through tomorrow (tough when I am a control freak at times, and like to be planned and in control!) I just need to worry about today. About the now. This for me is the biggest challenge in many ways. Yes a new baby comes with many new challenges, but the biggest ones are the personal challenges, where you have to learn to let go.