Things have improved greatly, regarding my sanity, since Shira started sleeping through the night. All you Moms out there probably know how frustrating it is to try to fall asleep, knowing that in just 2-3 hours, you'll have to wake up again. Perhaps some people deal well with sleep deprivation, but a few weeks of it left me totally incapacitated and desperately trying to sneak a nap here and there whenever our little one slept during the day, or simply was willing to quietly be on her own.
These days, when Shira falls asleep at night, there's a fair chance I can look forward to 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. What a blessing. After a night of sound sleep, I can face almost anything. After a restless night, I'm discomposed and unproductive.
Still, at the end of a long day, I'm ready to crash when she does, and am extremely irritated if anyone or anything tries to keep me awake when I might be sleeping.
I can reason with myself about self-denial and tending to the needs of others, but a few restless days will quickly do me in, until I'm good for nothing. That's why, when I come to the midday dilemma of "housework or a nap?" I often choose the nap, and don't feel guilty about it.
Another important thing is to eat well. I used to be proud of myself because I didn't have time to sit down and eat a nutritious meal (yes, this is coming from someone with a degree in nutrition, if you can believe it), since I was so busy taking care of my baby and my home. Last week I looked in the mirror and was startled to see bones where I never saw them before. I didn't realize how rapidly I'm losing weight.
Then I caught myself and said, hey, adequate nutrition for a nursing mother has a double purpose – providing a good milk supply for the baby, and keeping Mom strong, cheerful and able to take care of herself and those she loves. Ever since, I have tried not to go hungry, and to eat wholesome, while often very simple, meals.
However selfless we might try to become, eating and sleeping is a priority.