It made me remember how you don't appreciate just how brilliant sleep is until you are deprived of it over an extended period of time. For us, it was brought home very suddenly and forcefully when our daughter was born and of all the things that we thought we were prepared for, going without sleep wasn't one of them . The change from being able to make up for getting in at 3am by staying in bed until 2pm to being woken every two hours to then stay up feeding for an hour is pretty challenging and more than a little mood-altering. I am not ashamed to admit there were more than a couple of dark moments mixed in with the joy of our new arrival.
I was counselled by friends and relatives to 'sleep when the baby sleeps' and, of course, completely ignored it because I was going to 'carry on as normal'. I scheduled myself silly but when it got to the point that I got lost on the way back from a hospital appointment (in the village where our daughter was born of all places) and had to call my husband to direct me home I knew that I had to listen to what these smart ladies (and my body) were saying.
Sometimes we need a reminder that there are times our body needs to rest for very good reason. Times when we should switch off the phone, the pc, the outside world. My reminder was in the form of going round in circles in Wallingford for twenty minutes feeling like I had lost the plot. For other friends it was crying in the supermarket, being reminded by a bus driver that they needed to take their baby with them when they got off the bus and for some ticking 'those' boxes on the questionnaire you fill out at your six week check-up with the midwife.
But this is 'Reasons to be Cheerful' and so I will end with another, happier, reminder. It was the joy of waking up after a delicious two hour nap that was gifted to me by my friend Nimisha when my daughter was about two months old. She arrived with a box full of home made Indian sweets rich in sugar and condensed milk to recharge my depleted energy levels then joined forces with my mother-in-law to send me to bed while they looked after the baby. It was exactly what I needed and absolutely priceless.
So if you're wondering what to give a new parent for Christmas, give them the best gift of all - some sleep :)
Soundtrack: Insomnia by Faithless