A resource for sleep-deprived mothers everywhere
Many a mother will attest that the postnatal period is an existence of foggy, sleep-deprived haze. Here are five tips to help you fight the fatigue!
Many a mother will attest that the postnatal period is an existence of foggy, sleep-deprived haze. I recall thinking the only possible solution for my sudden-onset cloudy vision was glasses, before realising my vision impairment was actually related to the four hours of interrupted sleep I got last night (and each night for the past week for that matter). I once so knackered I put my bowl of cornflakes in the microwave. There’s no mistaking it, friends, this dozy, dopey state is sleep deprivation!
‘They’ say to try and sleep when the baby’s sleeping. Well, maybe that’s ok when our bub is a freshie and it’s acceptable to live in pyjamas while our sole focus is on the baby’s survival, along with 100 nappy changes and feeds per day. Unfortunately, that grace period eventually lifts (I vote when the baby is six) and at some stage, we need to re-enter the real, live outside world. WAHHHHH!!! Maybe we’re going back to work, dropping older kids to school, running the endless errands; and unfortunately, unless you have a special talent for sleeping standing up with your eyes open, it’s seldom possible to catch up on the sorely missed overnight sleep during the day. Alas, mamas, we must soldier on.
So what can you do to lift the fog and manage to feel slightly human when all you want to do is crawl into a ball and attempt the Guinness World Record for record hours of uninterrupted sleep? Check out these five basic tips to get you through the day and add a spring to your step in an otherwise sleepy postnatal bubble.
That’s it, I’m out. Mic drop. What kind of ridiculously outrageous blog are you writing here, woman? We’re sleep deprived mothers not marathon runners!
But wait, don’t stop reading! I know undertaking any type of non-essential physical activity sounds absolutely ludicrous when you’re sleep deprived, but surprisingly, postnatal exercise like a brisk walk helps those lovely endorphins rush in, and you’ll likely feel unexpectedly refreshed. Timing it for bub’s nap or if you’re lucky enough to have someone mind bub, is a great way to spend some much needed ‘you time’.
On some days I feel I can take it to the next level and head to a Bootybarre class where I attempt graceful ballet-esque moves, but largely look like a newborn Bambi. Scrambling to leave the house with little ones often feels like climbing Everest, but by the time I’m finished pirouetting the room with my posse of other weary mums I feel reenergised with a smile on my face.
Postnatal exercise is also a considerable risk reduction factor for postnatal depression, so as difficult as it may some days feel, it’s something all mums should try and incorporate into their regular routine.
A refreshing shower (uninterrupted if you’re really stinking lucky), under soothing water to wash away the spilt overnight breastmilk, baby vomit and foggy head can provide a much-needed refresh of a morning. Watch your water temp though – hotter showers will actually make you feel sleepy while a cooler variety will give your lymphatic system a bit of a wake-up and make you feel brighter.
Speaking of brighter, I always find a lick of concealer and mascara gives my face a more refreshed look, which, miraculously seems to flow on to make me feel slightly better, too. Whilst I may not feel a million dollars, my super mum mask is on, and to others, I look like I’m halfway to getting my shit together. Some days that’s enough!
So I have plans to catch up with my mummy friend for a morning coffee and chat-fest, but I was up last night feeding the baby, toileting the pre-schooler and settling the restless dog. Fun! All I want to do is sit, unshowered, in my threadbare PJs, hair askew for a good ol' Netflix binge and a nana nap. Where will I possibly find the energy to go on?
Don’t cancel the catch-up! If you’re a person, like me, who draws energy from those around you, the best thing we can do for our postnatal wellbeing is remain connected in the postnatal period. Rally yourself, put on your big girl pants (probably quite literally in the postnatal period), ‘refresh’ as per the above, and get your game face on, girlfriend. You’ll feel approximately 285000% better after a catch up with your bestie or Karen from mother’s group and it will also reinforce you’re not alone in this motherhood gig. A little unload of our current list of concerns can often be all you need to feel like you can live to face another sleep-deprived day. Sleep deprivation–what sleep deprivation?!
For most of us this creamy, liquid gold, this nectar of the Gods is a total essential item for a semi-conscious postnatal existence. Don’t go crazy on the caffeine though as it may start to interfere with your sleep. Us mothers don’t get too many sleep opportunities – so you need to be primed and ready when they come our way!
Early to bed
What’s with getting a second, or sometimes first, wind of the day at 7.30 pm when the kids are finally in bed? Shouldn’t the energy be surging in the morning after at least some sleep instead? For me I think it’s the excitement of knowing I have a tiny window of time in which to fit my entire adult life into and I don’t have to tend to anyone else’s needs except my own. I casually crack out the dark Lindt chocolate, Shiraz and Netflix and lay back for a few minutes of peace… until 11 pm! What?! How did that happen? I know I will be woken early to a high pitched chorus of “MUUUMMMM I’M AWAKEEEEE!” Why did I stay up so late?! If I’d gone to bed at a reasonable hour perhaps I’d feel part Supermum tomorrow!
With all that said, I’d love to say I’m completely virtuous by exercising, looking alive whilst swanning between social engagements and going to bed early every night, but of course that isn’t the case. Real life gets in the way. I do find, however, these little tips help me to remember there are ways to decrease the daily fog and increase my postnatal wellbeing.
Good night everyone. Wishing you all a full eight hours of blissful, uninterrupted sleep!
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