You are not lost on me, new mamma with 3 children under the age of 6. I get that quality sleep is not going to be something that you have access to at this time. Quite frankly, you are not who I am talking to right now.
Your nights have turned into days and days into nights. You are in the trenches. When one child has finally fallen asleep at your breast, another child has woken from a nightmare. You are exhausted, overwhelmed and doing your very best to keep it together. You are not feeling fantastic, because you are not supposed to during this beautiful and challenging season of your life.
It is all about damage control at this phase, to minimize the cost to the body due to all of those missed hours of restorative sleep. So you rest, when you can. It used to piss me off…big time when people told me to nap when my daughter was sleeping. I would sarcastically think to myself (and sometimes if I was especially exhausted) say out loud “Nap? To help my exhaustion? I never thought about that?”
My nervous system and tendencies in behaviours do not work like that. I tried, believe me, I tried. With babe napping beside me in bed, I would turn on the white noise, shut the blackout curtains and begin to deep breathing. The whole time, waiting for my daughter to wake up as my mind spun with thoughts of all the things I needed to do. In those rare occasions, when I was able to let go, my daughter would wake up just as I was about to drift off. Torture, true and utter torture. So trying to “nap when my daughter slept” caused me more stress than support.
So… to my sleep deprived, exhausted new moms, I am asking that you create space to rest. I don’t mean sitting in front of the TV watching back to back episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, I suggest lying on the floor, hands on belly taking 10 deep breaths or sitting down with a cup of tea and calling a friend or having a warm breath with Lavender Essential oils. These 5, 10, 15-minute rest sessions will go a very long way in ensuring that the cost to your body from those sleep deprived nights is as minimal as possible.
As a side note: To be clear, I have absolutely no issue with back to back episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, it just does not count as rest time. Sanity? Yes! Rest No!