Sleeping Between Contractions


When I was in labor with my daughter, my doula advised me to "sleep between the contractions." For hours, I waited for a break long enough to sleep through. Contractions were coming every ten minutes, then every nine then every eight. Frustrated and exhausted, I reached out to my doula again. She explained what she meant--when there is a break in the pain, sleep. Sleep for seven minutes. Sleep until the next one.


How can we find time for ourselves when there is no time?

As a mother and as a therapist, I am often in conversation about how we can take care of ourselves. How can we make space for what used to matter to us when our lives are so busy with family and work and the countless minutia we manage every day? How do we do all this and also cope with the things we can't control? The losses? The career changes? The illnesses? The relationships? The state of the world?

Several years into my own journey, I remembered the answer I learned at the very beginning. We must sleep between the contractions.


We must claim the time we have.

Pick up a book for five minutes. Take out the yoga mat even though the baby may wake up any minute. Turn off your phone and pay attention to your feet as you walk from your office to your car.


This is your time. Take it.

Anna Stern