It’s motherhood, and exhaustion doesn’t even come close to describing it. Every day (and night) has been a struggle for me since my daughter was born, but it was particularly bad in those first few months postpartum. The fatigue is unbearable at times, but I survive it.
For this post, I decided to include some tidbits from the chapter in my book addressing sleep deprivation. Enjoy.
I’m going to quote my OBGYN here (I hope she doesn’t mind). “There is a reason they use sleep deprivation as a form of torture.” Seriously. I mean seriously. Throughout history, militaries and soldiers have used sleep deprivation to extract confidential information from prisoners of war! It is legit. Please don’t let yourself get to a point where a lack of sleep can interfere with your wellbeing. We’re mamas after all. We’re some of the fiercest creatures on the planet, but even we have a breaking point.
I did a little internet searching on the matter. According to Healthline, 11 things can happen when you don’t get enough sleep (1):
- Memory Issues
- Mood Changes
- Weakened Immunity
- Risk for Diabetes
- Low Sex Drive
- Trouble Thinking & Concentrating
- High Blood Pressure
- Weight Gain
- Risk of Heart Disease
- Poor Balance.
Seriously, sleep deprivation causes all of the above and then some. When you don’t get enough sleep, it completely wrecks your physical and emotional wellbeing. As a new mom, it is easy to become a shell of the person you once were, especially if you do not get enough sleep.
After my daughter was born, it was like I had forgotten how to let myself relax enough to fall asleep. I had no idea I was probably in the midst of postpartum psychosis. You can’t take this lightly. I know that as new mamas, we tend to think that a lack of sleep comes with the job. It doesn’t have to be that hard, so don’t make it that way.
Don’t be like me.
Here is some advice that I wish I would have taken after Izzy was born: sleep when the baby sleeps. Everyone says it. Listen to them! It seems impossible in those first few weeks, but anytime your baby is sleeping, you should be, too. I’m serious. Please don’t fall victim to the supermom mentality. You don’t have to do it all. To care for a child, to properly nurture and love a baby, you have to care for yourself. You have to. I did not, and my health suffered. Izzy probably suffered too by not having the best me in the first part of her life. My entire family was terrified by the experience. Ladies, please, just freaking sleep! F*ck everything else. F*ck the housework. F*ck the dishes. F*ck the laundry. F*ck all of it. Your brain and your body will thank you.
- Waston, Stephanie & Cherney, Kristeen. “The effects of sleep deprivation on your body.” Healthline, Alana Biggers, MD April 19, 2019. www.healthline.com/health/sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body