"I'll take a quick nap, honey. It will only be 20 minutes."
Guess which gender uttered this statement?
If you guessed female, you are right. What guy ever apologizes for taking a nap? Which guy even asks to take a nap? Guys just go and lie down, and then you find them, sleeping.
Our sweet baby girl made her appearance on Tuesday morning. She is healthy. As with my previous labors, I ended up laboring through the night, after being up and taking care of the kids all day. Luckily, I got a short nap in the afternoon, and a bit of sleep in the hospital bed while being monitored. But overall, I was running on a sleep deficit. This baby slept pretty much the entire first day, and I slept, too. I even joked with my husband how being in a hospital feels like a vacation: all I do is sleep, eat, read, relax. So quiet, and so different from the hectic life at home.
But then those newborn nights started. She was up and up and up. And I was nursing and rocking and walking and bouncing. Changing diapers. Patting the back. Nursing in bed, ignoring the spit-up stains taking over. More yelling, more responding, more taking care of a tiny human.
I have been taking it very easy. My wonderful friends took care of dinners for my family for the next two weeks. I have not been cooking, or cleaning. I firmly adhere to the rule of not driving anywhere for the first week postpartum, not because it is contraindicated, but because it increases the amount of running around and stress. I have been focusing on just nursing and taking care of the baby, spending the rest of the time with 2 yo and 5 yo.
Newborns are exhausting. Not sleeping during the night is also exhausting. So why am I apologizing for taking a much needed afternoon nap? Why am I begging to watch the baby so I can sleep? Why are we, as women, conditioned to justify our actions?
My husband had no problem at all with my nap. He did not issue the permission grudgingly, or indicated in any way that I need to explain myself. So why the apologetic tone?