It is well past midnight, and here I sit. I've gone through periods in my life where sleeping has been difficult, but I've never experienced anything like this. It seems to be taking over, and like many other moms dealing with this, I am at a breaking point.
According to an article I read by Olivia Gordon from The Sunday Times, postpartum insomnia (or postnatal insomnia) can morph from difficulty sleeping after the baby is born into a chronic habit. Many women have trouble sleeping in the first few weeks after delivery. This is natural, especially if breast feeding. The baby needs to eat every 2 hours or so and hasn't quite fallen into a routine. Eventually, the baby begins sleeping through the night, and the mom is supposed to let out a sigh of relief and get much needed rest as well. What are you supposed to do when that doesn't happen??
My daughter is 4 months old today. She has been sleeping through the night for months, but I can't sleep. If I do fall asleep, it seems to be around 3:30 in the morning. The baby wakes up at 5:30. Yay for me! Two whole hours of sleep! Even when I do fall asleep, the slightest movement or noise wakes me because my body is so on edge. Oh, and what do I do from the time I try to go to bed until the time I actually succumb to the overwhelming desire to rest? Why, I imagine the absolute most terrifying, horrific scenarios possible, of course! My brain is on overdrive and pulls my heart through the ringer. I can't stop thinking. The worst part is that the house is dark, the husband is asleep and does not understand at all, and I obsess over the baby monitor. I hear sounds that do not exist. I am completely alone and can't stop my brain from dragging me into these horribly dark places.
Morning finally comes and as happy as I am to see daylight and have the baby to distract me, I know that I'm only getting up to do the same thing all over again. I'm exhausted, so forget accomplishing anything productive around the house.
For many women, postpartum insomnia is part of postpartum depression, but I don't have the depression. I find myself incredibly depressed in the middle of the night when I'm in those pits of darkness, but during the day, I'm the happiest I've ever been. I don't know what to do, but I know this has to stop.
My husband actually calmed me down enough tonight to where I felt as though I would fall asleep. Just as I was drifting off, he woke me up. Naturally, he came back to bed and immediately passed out as soon as his head hit the pillow. This isn't fair.
Every article I'm reading says to try sleeping pills. All of the women say they didn't want to take medication to help with sleeping but regretted waiting so long once they finally decided to start. I know I should probably find some sort of pill to take, but my fear is that I won't wake up if the baby needs me. What if I'm so out of it that I don't hear her cry? Lord knows my husband wouldn't wake up if a train came crashing through the house. Plus, I hate taking medicine anyway. I feel as though I'm alone on an island here. I wouldn't mind trying therapy (recommended in another article I read), but I live 2 and a half hours from the nearest city. It isn't possible at the moment.
I don't know what to do, but it is slightly comforting knowing that postpartum insomnia is a real problem, and I'm not just losing my mind. I need help.
If you think you might be suffering from postpartum (or postnatal) insomnia, I've included links to a few interesting articles below.
When It Isn't the Baby Keeping You Awake
Insomnia in the Postpartum Period
Therapy Instead of Meds