I laid awake a lot last night. It was the night before my lactation exam--that I have been preparing for now some 7 years--and I was pretty anxious. Normally I have the luxury of having my head hit the pillow and sleep just comes. Sometimes within seconds. But last night, hour after hour, I sat there and stared at the ceiling fan.
I am sure I did sleep a little, as I somehow got through the test and didn't fall asleep on my answer sheet, but I think I watched each hour go by. This is so new to me, but what a compassion builder. It made me realize how many mamas are dealing with this night after night. Lying there when baby has finally gone to sleep, and yet...sleep doesn't come (or comes at a struggle).
Did you know that anxiety is a major cause of insomnia in the postpartum mother? That many moms find it challenging to go back to sleep, even with the baby is finally ready for some slumber?
We work with many moms who find it hard to nap as well. Even when their doula is magically keeping baby happy while doing dishes, laundry or meal prep, mamas tell us they just can't seem to let go and actually drift off to sleep.
While this isn't always anxiety, and certainly not necessarily postpartum anxiety that would need some kind of treatment, it is still a hurdle that mamas have to tackle. We do know that mamas who take more than 25 min to fall back to sleep are more likley to have some kind of postpartum mood disorder (and I tell you this to help you assess yourself...not to make you feel guilty or make yourself more anxious!).
Here are some signs that our bodies might be experiencing some postpartum anxiety (from www.postpartum.net):
Constant worry Feeling that something bad is going to happen Racing thoughts Disturbances of sleep and appetite Inability to sit still Physical symptoms like dizziness, hot flashes, and nausea
Just thought it was worth sharing how sleep neglected we can get, and how much a body can take...for awhile. Eventually our body starts to show signs of not getting enough sleep. These show up in a myriad of ways, but none of them very pretty (or easy on our relationships).
So if you are one of the many mamas who do your share of staring at the ceiling fan...think about assessing yourself. Do you feel like your old self (except now with a baby)? Do you feel like you can never let down and relax? Think you might be experiencing more than just the new mama exhaustion?
Just some food for thought. Now I am going to bed (test is over and the anxiety left with it!).