Earlier this month I posted a photo on Facebook feeling and looking shattered. We’d had our New Idea photo shoot the day before where I’d only had three hours sleep, and I was just so unbelievably tired.
But there were two little girls who needed me, housework to be done, emails to be answered, puzzles to be played, not to mention a massive pile of neglected ironing.
The show must go on.
‘Keeping it real. Feeling shattered.’
Truth be told, I have struggled with exhaustion and sleep deprivation since Ava was born which has lead to insomnia. I’m writing this at 2.55am while my hubby and girls are asleep. It seems so mean that when my two children are FINALLY sleeping through the night, I can’t.
Looking back at 2013, I spent most of it in an exhausted fog. I was pregnant with Chloe at the beginning of last year, Baz was away and I was experiencing early pregnancy symptoms like nausea and headaches, all while looking after an energetic toddler. I then had a prolapsed disc in my back which meant I couldn’t walk properly for a few days. It was excruciatingly painful.
I muddled my way through until March when we put Ava in a big girls bed.
Oh. My. Goodness.
First we struggled with keeping her in the bed at night time, sometimes having to put her back into bed at least a dozen times. Then she would wake up throughout the night with bad dreams and night terrors. It got to the point where I was so anxious worrying about when she was going to wake up that I just couldn’t sleep.
Ava also dropped her day time sleep at the same time.
In May last year I wrote this post I Can’t Get No Sleep after waking up at 3am with Ava. Looking back now, it was a bit of a call out for help and understanding.
I made it through until July when I found out that I had incredibly low iron levels and needed an infusion. Thank goodness I insisted on having one (I was initially told just to eat more iron rich food) as just a week or so later I felt like a new person!
Then in August our sweet Chloe Bear arrived, and along with it the usual sleepless nights that go hand in hand with having a beautiful new bubba.
Up until now Ava has also still been waking up a few times at night.
(Goodness knows how my hubby has managed early morning radio, working at Channel 7 during the day AND travelling for his AFL commentary work on the weekends through all of this! Massive respect!).
It has been completely overwhelming at times and I have been in tears of frustration at being so exhausted and not being able to be the best mum and wife that I want to be.
I’ve definitely not been a great friend.
One of my coping mechanisms with sleep deprivation and exhaustion (and a way of pulling myself together) is to do my hair and pop some lipstick on and just get on with it. I tell myself this is part of being a mum and I need to toughen up. So I guess to the outside world, apart from some dark circles under my eyes, I seem OK.
I also hate feeling like I’m whinging, as I feel so very lucky and grateful to have the life I always wanted – to be a mum and a wife.
So I’m not entitled to complain about being exhausted.
And feeling exhausted is just part of the job description, right?
When I’ve recently shared with close friends and family how much I struggled last year and felt very isolated, they told me they would never have known.
Appearances are often very deceiving.
Which brings us to now. While I feel like I’m emerging from the fog of exhaustion, it’s still a vicious cycle that I have to manage like so many other women out there.
A blog post by Susie Burrell ‘Are You Tired All The Time?’ (to which women everywhere would scream YES!) has definitely helped me along the way.
And coffee is the ONLY way I can start my day. I don’t think I could have survived motherhood without my Nespresso machine!
It’s now 4.20 am and my hubby’s alarm is about to go off, so I should try and get some sleep before my girls wake up.
It’ll be an extra strong cup of Trenta in a few hours time.
A x x x
How do YOU cope with being tired and exhausted?
Do your children sleep through the night or still wake up?
Have you ever had insomnia? How did you manage it?
For anyone out there who is struggling with anything – sleep, anxiety, depression, parenting – please pick up the phone and talk to someone or see your GP. Don’t suffer in silence!0