2:34 a.m.
Saturday January 13th 2024, 10:15 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Years ago there was an article about a woman who got a McArthur Genius Grant that made it possible for her to continue her research into why some women get so ill in pregnancy that they can’t keep food down. Or certain types of food.

One of the things I remember was her delight that that money meant she could indulge in buying papayas, her favorite–and not even have to worry about the cost! I always wondered if she ever got pregnant after that and if she could eat those while she was. Because you know sometimes life has a twisted sense of humor like that.

So here’s my Genius-wannabe take on another aspect of womens’ health: why does insomnia become so prevalent after menopause?

When our second child was born, my mother-in-law came to town to help out after my own mom had left, and one of the things my MIL did was to get up when the baby cried at night, wait while I nursed him, and then show up in the doorway and tell me to go back to bed while she burped and changed him.

Sometimes I was desperately grateful for the break, sometimes I didn’t actually want (though I would never have said it) to hand him off because it was my alone time with him without a two year old bashing a book in my lap while the babe was in my arms nursing demanding that I read to her (ie, pay attention to ME, Mommy, ME!) but I knew my MIL’s time in which to get to make those offers was short, so of course I let her have some baby time too. Zzzzzz.

I couldn’t believe she would wake up like that for me, night after night the week she was there. That she was willing to wake herself up and be sleep-deprived along with me when she didn’t have to be.

What follows is in no way meant to downplay that sacrifice on her part because of course that was far, far more than rolling over, looking at the clock, and rolling one’s eyes at it.

But here’s my theory: that evolution designed us to help the next generation survive those first few days or weeks or whatever of motherhood and get more rest so that there would BE a generation after that, while increasing the bonding between all the generations at that most tender of times.

Which is why I was telling my stupid body at 2:34 a.m. (and 2:36 a.m. the night before that) that the youngest grandchild is now four bleeping years old. There’s nobody to go help in the night. Knock it off, willya!

6 Comments so far
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If it’s any consolation, I’ve always been a night owl. It’s 2:46am, and I’m not at all sleepy … even though I definitely should be asleep.

Comment by Anne 01.14.24 @ 3:47 am

I would say “welcome to the club” but it’s really not something to celebrate. Melatonin is your friend.

Comment by Jayleen Hatmaker 01.14.24 @ 7:12 am

I quite like your theory. No grandchildren and I’m usually a sound sleeper, but the times I’ve helped with newborns (a friend had twins when my son was 10) I “turn on my baby ears” and awaken with every sound. Works for helping elderly family too. The occasional insomnia wake up time for me varies, sometimes it is 3:33, the time of my birth.

Comment by DebbieR 01.14.24 @ 9:34 am

Such an interesting idea! One does have to wonder.

Comment by ccr in MA 01.14.24 @ 12:28 pm

My own mother is post-menopausal and sleeps 10-12 hours a day. I bet she’d sleep even longer if she didn’t have stuff to do!

Comment by NGS 01.14.24 @ 7:34 pm

Not sure what the cbd/thc/gummy laws are in California (am I even asking that???), but I can highly recommend Incredible snoozeberry gummies. They help you sleep, stay asleep and not feel yucky in the morning. If so inclined, start with 1/4 or 1/2 of a gummy. Life changing on this end!

Comment by michele 01.19.24 @ 10:51 am

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