Why do women keep secrets from other women? We are supposed to be a sisterhood. None of you told me what would become of my bladder after childbirth. No one warned me that almost the exact day that I turned 40, my once supple face, would begin to exhibit a slight sag. No one told me how hard it would be to maintain my weight. AND no one prepared me for how little I would sleep.
I understood that when I had babies I would spend many months trying to get them to sleep through the night. I knew that little kids often get up early, sometimes even before daylight. What I didn’t know is how your very own body begins to work against you as well.
I managed to survive four babies. I have always been a light sleeper so it wasn’t hard for me. A cough in the middle of the night and I was up checking to make sure everyone was okay. I have also figured out that my bladder will wake me for relief. At least once a night I stumble to the bathroom. I accept that. My kids ruined my bladder.
But what about when everyone else in the house is sound asleep and I don’t even have to pee? Okay so maybe I always have to pee post-babies but I mean bad enough to wake? What about those times when I just…..wake up….for no apparent reason? It happens. ALL.THE.TIME.
As a mother of four I don’t make it to bed until late. You would think that I could hit the pillow and sleep like a baby. I actually have no problem falling asleep. But about four hours in, my eyes just…….open.
Once my eyes open my woman brain springs to attention. She begins thinking about all of the things that I have to do that day or all of the things that I should have done yesterday. I quickly try to shut my woman brain down. I think to myself, just stop thinking. To which my woman brain responds: Are you actually THINKING that your woman brain should stop THINKING? And there it is. I am now having an argument with my woman brain. I might as well get up and do something constructive.
I don’t get up though because I am not going to let her win. Maybe if I let her think for a bit then she will let me go back to sleep. She goes through several random, meaningless thoughts. Just when I think she is winding down, she starts wondering if my children eat enough veggies or if any of the girls at school are mean to my daughter. Really? You can’t think about this when it is daylight?
Next she runs through all the scenarios of how I am damaging the kids with my horrible mothering. So after we get that sorted out and mental notes made on how I will do things better THEN I am certain it must be my turn to rest. Goodnight woman brain.
That is when my woman brain begins to wonder if my husband will ever lose his job. Really? Now we are on to financial matters? He’s had that job for years I scream at her! Why are you making up things to worry about? IT IS 2:30 AM FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE! Next she ponders where we will take a family vacation and if we will have money for the kids to go to college.
My husband is sleeping like a baby right next to me so I am able to convince my woman brain that with all of the sweet, sweet rest that HE is getting, I am sure he will go into work tomorrow AS ALWAYS. Therefore I am pretty sure she doesn’t need to worry about financial matters anymore tonight.
Then just when I think she is done and I am going to get a little more sleep before the kids barge in, demanding breakfast, I hear her whisper softly: I wonder if you have cancer? I am speechless. I cannot even talk her down from that one. She has officially worried about everything that one brain can possibly worry about now.
What has happened to me? When I was 20 if I woke in the middle of the night, it was because my arm was asleep and lying on top of my body in such a way that I was convinced it had to be a serial killer. I would throw it off my chest, realize it was actually my own arm, then simply turn over and go back to sleep. Those were the days.
I hear women talk about taking sleep aids just to get a solid four hours some nights. I don’t think it is fair that we have to fight our own bodies. I go though my Facebook feed every morning and see posts from moms awake in the middle of the night, looking for other moms to chat with. And you know what? They always find someone. (Note to self: Next time just get on Facebook.)
We have to take our sleep back. This is an epidemic. Listen to me young women: SLEEP WHILE YOU CAN. There will come a day when it is much more difficult. Don’t take it for granted.
I am a positive person. At least I get some good thinking time in the middle of the night. That is the only time that my house is actually quiet. I look over at my husband. I could literally ram my finger into his ribs and he wouldn’t even stir. Not that I would do that or anything. Unless he keeps lying on that pillow, looking like something out of a Tempur Pedic commercial, that is. I mean, look at him. I am pretty sure he is mocking me now. And men wonder why women seem irritated with them, and can’t figure out why 😉