I would argue that the cliche advice, most often told to new mothers would be: “Sleep when the baby is sleeping”
Whoever first thought of this, must have thought themselves clever. Well sir, I don’t think you’re clever, because that has got to be the most obvious tip on motherhood, I’ve ever heard. OF COURSE I’m going to sleep when the baby is sleeping, surely I’m not going to sleep while she’s awake? I know, I’m being a bit critical. This advice almost always is in reference to napping when the baby naps, not necessarily bed times.
Regardless, I still thought it was silly advice. I had every intention of napping while the baby was napping. I was exhausted during the last trimester of pregnancy [despite having a few occasional days with crazy nesting energy…] and was already taking naps, so it made sense to me to also nap as a new mom, in order to recover from the past 9 months, 5 days and 12 hours of pregnancy, late pregnancy, and labor.
There is this little teensy thing no one tells you about though…. insomnia, otherwise known as habitual sleeplessness. Luckily it never hit me at bedtime. My body is like clockwork and when 9:30 pm rolls around, I automatically start winding down. No, this insomnia would kick in after a 3am feeding. I’d be awake from 3-5:30 am, then I’d actually feel tired again. Just as I’d drift off into sleep around 6 am, I’d hear a newborn cry and it’d be time for the next feeding and the insomnia would inevitably reset. Most nap times during the day, I would also experience this.
It’s horrible, frustrating, exhausting, and it makes you want to punch anyone who tells you to “sleep when the baby is sleeping.” My dear dear husband, to this day, will say “why don’t you at least try to go take a nap?” Try? TRY? You think I *want* to be awake? Of course I’ve tried! Insomnia doesn’t care how much you’re trying to fall asleep, and it sure as hell doesn’t care that you should “sleep when the baby is sleeping”
Anyway, I still don’t have a cure to this problem, nor did I set out to resolve it in this post. I felt the need to write this post because insomnia was definitely a misconception I had about motherhood, and what sounded like the easiest bit of advice ever, turned out to be one of the hardest for me to accomplish.
So if you’re up, reading this, I’m in solidarity with you sisters! Good Luck…