I have always been aware of the fact that I need a good night’s sleep. I always needed at least seven and a half hours to feel like myself. Except, I didn’t realize how vital to my existence to my being did I need a good night sleep until I became a mother.
When JuJu Bean was first born, I existed off of pure adrenaline. They say that it’s this mom hormone that makes you act like a rabid animal who fiercely protects her cub. But then, exhaustion sets in and it made my brain fall apart. I imagined it to be liken to a bowl of overcooked spaghetti: a hot, glutenous mess. Mix sleeplessness with postpartum depression and you’ve got a one way ticket to crazy town.
When I first began my treatment, my doctor told me that I would be in a sleep mode for about two weeks. My brother-in-law, a psychiatrist, told me that getting sleep was the first step in the healing process for postpartum depression: my brain needed to reconnect the misfired wires so that I could get back on track.
For a few weeks, I was falling asleep at about 8:30PM every night. Mr J had to take night shift for the Bean. My doctor and bro-in-law were right: getting sleep changed a lot. It didn’t change everything, but it helped give me the strength to work through each hurdle and each day and, most importantly, to be there for my daughter.
When I see the clock on the wall reaching past 9:30PM, I am thinking about getting comfortable and going to bed. If I can’t be at my best for my daughter, then I am of no good to myself – and vice versa. I get a strange feeling of joy when I put my daughter down for the night and she falls asleep right away because I was able to keep up with her and to wear her out. I have an incredibly active daughter who naps no more than an hour each day, but boy does she get a full night’s rest. Of course, this rhythm is always changing and that’s why I obsess about getting enough sleep.
After a while, I got tired of feeling sluggish in the middle of the afternoon and taking long naps during the day. I thought, Ain’t nobody got time for that! I rather get all of the sleep I need during the night and be alert during the day. Doesn’t mean I don’t take naps every now and again, however, but with a kid that barely naps, there literally is no time for that!
Now that I feel that I’ve made my way through the thick of postpartum depression, I don’t take a good night’s sleep lightly. A lot of people will say that it’s just all a part of being a new parent, but when it comes to mental health, I say never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep! There is no wonder why people say the expression, sleep on it.