26 Dec 2011, 10:50pm
brains life nature
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Who Needs Sleep

Every new mother parent knows about sleep deprivation. I was curious (and fearful) to see how it would impact me. In high school and college it sometimes seemed like I hardly ever slept, but somewhere in the following years sleep karma came crashing down and I turned into a zombie anytime I got less than a solid 8 hours.

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I got my first taste of long term sleep loss in my final trimester. It wasn’t so much the frequent bladder demands- I am a rotten sleeper generally, so frequent waking wasn’t too much of a change. The bigger issue was the pain… one of the pregnancy hormones, I think its relaxin (?) makes all the ligaments stretchy, and it gets excruciating in the middle of the night, mainly around the hip region (not coincidentally).

But of course a newborn is a totally different ballpark.

Things got better around the 2 month mark, then much worse for a while, then way way better (with a few hiccups) around 4 and a half months. It’s all relative though. I’ve always assumed I was nocturnal through practice rather than nature, but it seems I lean that way even given incentive to change: now, waking consistently at 7 or earlier, I still have trouble falling asleep before 1 most nights. It’s a problem.

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I have certainly adjusted though. I have not (that I am aware) become a zombie. I’m pretty much always tired, but you get used to it.

This weekend, thanks to an abundance of extra willing hands, I got some sleep. Every morning Ender went down for a two hour nap and every morning I went down for a two hour nap too.

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Now, I have never been a great napper, but since having a baby I have managed to start taking naps at least when I REALLY need them. When I’m especially tired I do try to take naps in the morning with Ender. It’s amazing though what a difference having family there makes. Sleep is far more restful when I’m not sleeping with my ear cocked for the sounds of him waking up. When I know that I don’t HAVE to get up right when he wakes because someone else will go and cuddle him when he starts crying. Matt usually can’t fill that spot because generally if I’m tired enough to need a nap, so is he, so

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we nap together, and when Ender wakes up, we get up together.

It’s funny. Getting a bit of extra sleep seems to be like having a bit of food after starving for months. I was more dopey with sleep this weekend I think than I have been the weeks before.

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Today though? I feel great. It’s hard to pinpoint the difference, but it’s not just mental, even my body just feels better. Usually holidays, as fun and enjoyable as they might be, wear me out. And this Christmas, especially seeing it as I imagine Ender must be seeing it for the first time was no less tiring than any other holiday, but I feel energized instead of exhausted

Now if I could just start getting to sleep before midnight, maybe I can hold on to this lovely feeling of rest.

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  • What an incredibly beautiful baby my grandson is!!

    I can definitely empathize. That said, we were fortunate that when our child was born, I wasn’t working outside the home (until almost 8 months later) and my wife had almost 3 months of maternity leave (followed by a couple months of teaching and then three more months for summer). So even though we didn’t take the very good advice to sleep when our baby slept, we *could* when we really needed to, and we pretty much only had the stress of an infant to worry about, with neither of us working at the start. Now, what the next one will be like this spring is an open question, since our situation will be different, but we’ll just have to take it as it comes, I suppose.
    Sherck´s last [type] ..I Choo Choo Choose to Write About Trains

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