When I was 47 I gave birth to my daughter, my son was 18 at that time. I was a first timer again. I expected that all would go well and yes she was a healthy beautiful baby. I wondered why I was so tired. My tiredness was increasing over those first few months, I was responding to her regular three hour intervals of feeding all through the night.
I relied on my meditation practices to get myself back to sleep anytime day and night.
I also discovered that I needed an outlet for my irritation. One of the unfortunate side effects of lack of sleep is frustration with minor details. Like the loud clock tick tick TICKING away at my nerves. I found that I also needed a quick release of this pent up emotion so that I could come back to providing a loving safe space to be with my baby girl.
I also found it useful to write down my experiences and emotions in my journal, and that way I could close the book when I needed a break from all my worries or concerns. Did I have enough breast milk? Was I happy enough? Was I social enough, active enough, was I providing enough stimulation and enrichment for my daughter? Then around five months latter I had some routine blood test and we found out that my thyroid gland was not functioning due to an thyroid specific auto immune disease. A condition related to pregnancy and birth. When the thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroxine the whole metabolism slows down. Every cell in your body has a metabolism switch and mine was off.
The doctor prescribed my a thyroxin replacement and my energy levels started to improve and my sense of humour return. I was glad to have my energy levels back and to be able to keep up with her growing needs and curiosity about everything . However, she did not sleep through, even when I stopped feeding her during the night. My son had been a fantastic sleeper and I had expected by 5 months she would be just like him. I was doing all the same techniques – She kept waking, though she was quiet happy to put herself back to sleep. I was hyper-vigilant to her slightest sound and so regardless I would wake too. For the next four years I had 3 to 4 hour blocks of sleep through waking during the night. I had to switch off the hyperarousal response in my self, because each time I woke I was in the alert ready to feed, or tend to her needs. She didn’t need me to do any of that, it was just an automatic response in me. So it finally dawned on me in the wee hours before dawn, that I needed to meditate at those times to quickly switch on the automatic relaxation response through mindful meditation practice. It worked so well and continues to work for me and for other parents. Instead of lying awake irritated, or bogged down by negative thoughts or unhelpful ruminations I did my one-pointed focus and went back to sleep quickly. My body mind spirit was calm.
Those four years of her life, saw me getting at most 4 hour blocks of sleep, I wrestled with my own lack of patience and worked hard to let expectations and attachments go. I became more resilient and today I feel I am a much better person for this experience of sleep deprivation. I meditated often and I used to listen to my own guided meditation CD’s and I thought I need to record some guidelines and meditations to support mothers and fathers who may also be feeling the effects of sleep deprivation. Mother Nurture Her was the perfect title, often Dads can sleep through and Mothers are more hyper alert, waking instantly to the needs of their baby. The meditations are for Parents – and make a lovely gift from fathers to give to mothers.
Essential sleep technique provides you with a quick and easy method for getting back to sleep when you need to, anytime day or night. This is an important skill to develop as it will help you manage the effects of sleep deprivation. When you listen to “Mother Nurture Her” you will be guided to relax deeply, to let go of any frustrations, and to connect with your loving heart and return energised and attentive to the needs of your baby.
Being a parent and choosing to follow a spiritual path that grows from a deep commitment to family life, I believe is one of the best self-development courses you can ever attend.
A spiritual practice can be one which focuses on building relationships where difference is embraced and understanding thrives: where trust, love, integrity and honesty are encouraged. Life gives us all that we need and when you love life, life just keeps loving you back. In my book being a Parent is one of the most transformational spiritual practices.