Today I have a guest post from my friend Cat over at Oh no! We've got to go through it. It is on a subject that is very close to my heart indeed!
It's halfway through January, and, if you're like 88% of the population, you've probably given up on your New Year's Resolutions already, if you made them in the first place.
I have made a few this year, mostly relating to work and hobbies. But in order to achieve any of those, I have to do something that has eluded me for the last four years. Get more sleep. I'd love to make this into a resolution, but I have come to realise that we can only resolve to do that which is in our control. Because when you have babies and children that don't sleep, they tend to set the agenda, whatever the books would have you believe.
There was a startling piece of non-news last year - that women who are sleep deprived are at greater risk of getting postnatal depression. Yup, the Pope is also Catholic and bears do...well, you get the drift. I would say that in both cases, sleep deprivation was a key factor in my PND. And was also what put me off getting help in the first place. Because all new mothers are sleep deprived. Unless you are in the tiny minority of parents whose new babies sleep through, the first weeks and months will pass by in a blur of night feeds and pacing the floor/driving them around the ring road/pushing them in a pram at 1am - whatever it takes to get them to sleep.
Sleep deprivation turns anyone insane - it's not used as a method of torture without solid evidence. But it was only when the sleep started getting marginally better that I realised that I was still feeling terrible - and sought help with my GP.
My search for a solution to my PND, and the various things that I found really helped, can all be found in my book, The Postnatal Survival Guide. These included nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, comedy and work - amongst many other things.
These days I am very much better - and yet the sleep issue remains. I suspect most parents of young children would like more sleep, even if they do "sleep through the night". I know from experience that time works when nothing else does. And that once you're doing everything you feel comfortable with to help your child sleep, it's about making the most of the time you do have to rest, and using your energies wisely. But I still can't help wishing that one of my children would make "give my parents a decent night's sleep" one of their New Year's resolutions. I'll put it on my Christmas list now...
Cat Dean is the author of Fertile Thinking and The Postnatal Survival Guide (available to download on all e-readers). She can also be found blogging at www.postnatalsurvival.com