Phah! What joker came up with that line?
Sleep is something I knew I’d get less of when I had a baby. The thing I didn’t know was how much sleep deprivation would mentally and physically effect me. I have always been a person that needs a lot of sleep. Pre-baby I used to always get at least 9 (straight) hours a night.
I think it was after about 4 or 5 months of waking at least every 2 hours at night that I started to really feel the effects. My anxiety was growing and that meant that I found it impossible to sleep while my son was sleeping during the day. He was a serial cat-napper anyway so I’d get 30mins at best and that just wasn’t enough time to sleep.
I know that the sleep deprivation was a major factor in me getting PND. I don’t doubt that, even if I had a perfect sleeper, I would have got regardless. However, it may not have hit as hard and fast as it did.
I got to a point where I felt I was losing my mind. I couldn’t function. Day to day life was becoming impossible. I couldn’t eat and I was scared that I’d be unable to look after my son properly. Luckily, I had my mum living with me at the time so I was able to share that responsibility. However, the thoughts of not being able to cope were loud and clear.
My body was also failing me. I had chronic pain, for which I was seeing physiotherapists weekly for. They didn’t doubt that my pain was real but were sure that the lack of sleep was exaggerating it.
I had constant thoughts about my body and mind failing at being a mum. However, I can now see that sleep was a major factor in this. My son is now 9 months old and (after a visit to Tressilian) usually sleeps 11hours a night with 1 wake for a feed. I feel relief just typing that – sleep is just so important for your wellbeing.
If you are “unlucky” like me and have a baby that would prefer to explore the world than sleep then I can only advise you to take as much help from others as you can. This was my only saviour. If you can’t sleep while they are sleeping at least try to rest. Just sit down and do something mindless like watching a TV show. You’ll be recharging and please don’t think you don’t deserve it because – YOU DO!