And You Are Not Alone!
I know this because I felt it. I still feel it most days (although much less so now – thank goodness)! That intense feeling builds up the more out of control I feel, the pressure I put on myself to make sure my boy is not overtired, undertired, hungry or uncomfortable.
Trying to recreate the perfect conditions that, one time, meant I got 4 hours of solid sleep!
Oh, and the arguments it caused. I’d become this unrecognisable person because my husband closed the door too loudly or stood on that notorious creaky floorboard.
Not to mention the need to cook! To clean! Do the washing! To look half-human! You know, because I’m at home all day! It was an awful feeling, and I was the only one putting all this pressure on myself!
I believe I did generally suffer from postnatal anxiety (not diagnosed) as that is when it was at its most intense for me, but I know I felt worse if my baby had not slept well. It was a snowball effect. My baby woke more, and I was more tired. I felt more anxious about the day ahead, my baby was cranky, and I was grumpy. Oh goodness, just the memories are enough to get my heart racing – and not in a good way!
What Changed…And When?
It took time, but everything started to settle down once I had a handle on my baby’s sleep, and I don’t think I could have found that as soon as I did without the support from our sleep consultant.
Knowing I had an age-appropriate routine helped. Knowing I had a support network and was not alone was a massive leap in the battle. Having that time to shower or a hot cup of tea – what a dream!
Now, do I think the lack of sleep caused my anxiety? NO! But do I believe that sleep deprivation exacerbated it somewhat? Absolutely!
We all feel a strange, fuzzy version of ourselves when we are tired after one bad night. Draw that out for an extended period of time, and we are met with increased clinical depression and anxiety rates.
It’s not an unfair connection to say that babies and toddlers (and sometimes older children) not sleeping well could be the cause of us having these low moods after everything we go through when becoming a parent, and I’m not just talking about first-time parents!
Bringing an extra small human home is an exciting and magical time, but after baby number one, when you arrive home with a level of ignorant bliss, you are now faced with Pandora’s box of memories that I know I’d like to keep locked away.
The experience of birth is often exhausting, emotionally and physically, for both Mum and Dad – my husband constantly reminds me of how much his feet ached after the long ordeal! But, his sore feet aside, it is a rollercoaster for them too.
To add to this rollercoaster, we find ourselves woken at all the small hours we’d forgotten even existed.
Now, I’m not by any means saying that if you are suffering from anxiety, this will be your panacea! It wasn’t the only answer for me, and sometimes, the idea of a schedule can create more stress. I can’t deny that either. But what I can tell you is finding the right sleep consultant who will work together with you to find the right solution for your family, maybe exactly what you need.
Was This The Right Choice For Me?
Once my boy was sleeping better, it gave me the time to work on myself and my relationship.
Ultimately, if you don’t have time for that headspace and self-care, you don’t have the time to focus on getting yourself right and well.
Not to mention the crazy long list of health benefits from sleeping better, but I’ll save that for another post.
For me, there are only positives gained from the whole family getting better sleep because when my favourite people are happy, I’m happy!
If you think better sleep could help you and your family, please book a free 15-minute discovery call, and we can talk it over to see how I can help.
Keep safe and well,
- About the Author
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Alexis Halley Reade is a Certified Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consultant® based in Cheshire, England. She’s a mum to one, with one on the way!
Read more about Alexis and book a FREE call with her HERE.