Exhaustion is an unavoidable mark of motherhood, no matter how easy or difficult your labor was. Besides the physical toll that pushing a human out of your body takes, there’s also the new life you have to take care of (sans owner’s manual), mounting responsibilities like dishes and laundry, and the ups and downs of raging hormones – all on maybe three or four hours of choppy sleep. There’s not much you can do with your baby’s around-the-clock eating schedule and crying bouts, but there are some ways you can fight the fatigue:
- Accept help. It’s time to hang up your Superwoman cape – at least for now. Delegate responsibilities to your partner (if you have one) and try to enlist the help of a family member or close friend. The pressure to be on call every hour of the day (day after day after day) can cause an emotionally stable person to collapse – let alone someone with a rollercoaster of postpartum emotions. People in your life will be more than happy to coo over your little bundle while you catch a quick nap.
- Sleep when the baby sleeps. Yes, this is easier said than done – but in hindsight, sleeping is one of the most beneficial things you can do while your baby naps. Let the dishes pile up, the dust bunnies gather and the nonessential laundry mount. There’s no need to impress visitors; everyone will understand – and expect – your house to look less than pristine. Plus, they’ll only be focused on your newest addition. That said, everyone reacts differently to napping during the day. If it’s making you feel disoriented or more groggy, maybe it’s not the right arrangement for you.
- Remember to eat and drink. This might sound like a no-brainer, but with everything going on with your body right now, listening to your internal cues might be on the back burner. Make sure you load up on nutritious foods (think complex carbs and protein) and plenty of water to maintain any shards of energy you might have left. It’s also good to remember that food is only a phone call or click away with local restaurants and grocery delivery services. Again, take advantage of any help you can get.