Every tiny new member added to our family has brought with him or her each a different adjustment period, a new "normal" that we have to adapt to as a family unit. With our first born, we struggled with all the things brand new parents find so challenging: diaper changes and midnight feedings and hours of colicky crying in the late evenings. When our first son came along, things went much more smoothly; he was an easy, almost effortless fit into our family and life quickly settled back onto an even keel after his arrival.
This time, however, it's Mama who is having all the adjustment trouble. Or rather, Mama's sleeping habits. Postpartum insomnia isn't something I ever really considered when I thought of all of the possible "after effects" of labor, birth, and settling in with a new baby, but for the past two weeks I've struggled to get more than four hours of interrupted sleep a night. Most nights I'm awake by two a.m. If I'm lucky, I get to "sleep in" until around four if I can hold my bedtime off until eleven. All this while baby is snoozing peacefully beside me in the bed.
It is definitely a struggle getting through the days with a preschooler, a toddler and a newborn when I've had so little sleep! But on those days when the kids seem that much more rambunctious and determined to disobey and my patience is worn paper thin because I don't have a restful reserve of sleep to back up my day, I just have to remember:
This too shall pass.
I won't be struggling to sleep forever (hopefully!). The kids won't be trying my patience forever. My natural optimism will return with good rest. It's only a matter of time.
Until then, I'm doing my part to encourage my body back into a healthy sleep rhythm: taking valerian at night before bed, taking my placenta capsules three times a day to keep my moods from swinging, cutting out caffeine as much as possible, and eating healthier whole foods. Slowly but surely, my body will get back to normal and before I know it I'll be enjoying seven to eight hours of restful sleep. (Or, as much restful sleep as one busy mama can expect with a nursing newborn!)
And until then, I just have to keep in mind that this rough patch will not last forever. Just like the good things, all bad things must also come to an end. So instead of whining and feeling sorry for myself because I'd love another couple of hours of sleep, I'm choosing to look at the bright side. To do what I can with the energy I have instead of being miserable about what I'm not getting done. To spend the sleepy days cuddling with my kids (when they let me), and treasuring all of these quiet midnight times with the new little one. To remember, as always, that This Too Shall Pass, and it will pass before I know it.