How to Live with Sleep-Deprivation
If you are sitting in the darkness of your bedroom and reading this at an ungodly hour, I am not going to judge you. If you are sitting curled up, still in your pjs, nursing a cup of coffee/tea or any other poison of your choice and dreading the night ahead, i am still not going to judge you. You perhaps don’t recognize your life anymore. You have perhaps resented your baby for making you feel so terribly and inexplicably exhausted only to regret those thoughts moments later. Hello, sleep-deprived mummy! Ahoy, surviving on adrenaline and caffeine lady! Greetings from another one of your species.
The sleep-deprivation that accompanied the birth of my baby hit me like a truckload of bricks. While I was aware that the birth of my baby was going to herald broken nights, I wasn’t worried about it. I was waking up a few times at night in the third trimester to pee anyway, wasn’t I? I counted that as practice and was quite happy to note I was only mildly groggy but mostly okay. How bad could it get from there?
In fact, pretty bad is an understatement. I got to the point that I could not function properly, seeing that I was oscillating between the resentment I experienced at nights to the guilt I felt during the days. Why didn’t anyone tell me it was going to be so hard? They told me birthing is hard but that seemed like cakewalk compared to the endless nights of little to no sleep. I quickly steered myself towards a steep decline, entertaining thoughts like “I sure wouldn’t have had a baby had I known how little rest I am going to get.”
But one day, I snapped out of my sleep-deprivation induced coma and stepped heavily on the brakes. This had to stop. I had to do something. If I couldn’t fix Gini’s sleep, I had to at least fix how I dealt with my sleeplessness. And I did what I usually do. I plotted a plan.
I will spare you the details of the trial and error phase and dive straight into the plan that’s working to help combat sleep-deprivation:
1. Find a Poison – Most swear by coffee. While a cuppa even when you are breastfeeding isn’t likely to hurt anyone, I have steered clear of it. My poisons are a mug of frothy hot chocolate in the colder months or a cup of zingy mint-chamomile tea with honey in summertime. Mmmm. They do nothing that caffeine does but taking 5 mins off to sit with a cup helps perk me up.
2. Have an all-time buddy – I seriously couldn’t have got through those hazy, exhausting times had I not had my army of soul-sisters who saw me through the dark times. It helps to have them in different continents so that one’s always handy!
3. Get a punching bag – I don’t mean it literally (though that could be helpful too). A friend, a diary, the husband, mother, commenting anonymously online, dictaphones, the mirror…anything works! Let that steam off.
4. Acceptance, acceptance, acceptance – I really want to stress this point. As long as you keep fighting the situation, you will never rest at ease. Accept that things will be all over the place for (quite) sometime now. You created a human being. Kudos! I know you want to put up your feet now but remember, it’s a human being you created, not a machine. Your baby won’t learn things at the snap of your fingers. Even if she does, she won’t necessarily do it all day everyday. Accept it. And move on.
5. Don’t compare – From thighs, butts, tummies, hair, complexion, moments with dear husband to the hours of shut eye you get in a day, do not compare anything you do currently to how you did them in the past. I know pity is a snug little comfort zone we all like to wallow in but trust me, stay clear. It does nobody any good.
There are a number of other things like reading a good blog before bed time, a long hug with the husband, a feet massage etc. but they don’t happen everyday so I haven’t listed them here. The above 5 have helped keep me sane everyday. So what are your go-to tricks to battle sleep-deprivation?
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