Posted by: Louise | April 12, 2010

sleep

5.00am. A very familiar time of night/morning and possibly not the best time to write. All the thoughts whirring around my head at this hour have usually dozed off to sleep by the time the alarm goes off and another day demands my attention. But here I am birds singing merrily and, much as I love them, I preferred it when whole years elapsed without me hearing their chorus.

So what is it this time that has pulled me from my slumber? The kids go back to school in a few hours after the Easter break. There is a strong possibility that in the school yard will be a Mum with the latest addition to her family – a little girl, her surprise fourth child, perfect, breathing. Her other kids are the same age as mine. She, too, is an academic. This Mum is the same age as me. She could be me. Why could I not be her? I haven’t been able to look at her for her whole pregnancy. And its not her fault. It is ‘Other People’s Babies’ syndrome. A new affliction.

When Laura died the pain was sharp and raw. Every beat of my heart hurt. We two came home from hospital, she in her little white coffin, me, empty, in my maternity clothes. And I woke about this time from my first unmedicated sleep in days and looked with longing at her little white coffin beside our bed. Still in shock. She could have woken, looking for a feed, and it wouldn’t have surprised me. But she didn’t, so we buried her.

These days the pain is different. It is like the cold irish damp. It has clawed itself into my bones. And when I get up and move around I feel ok, but when I stop it returns, the dull heavy ache of loss. K says it is like the default setting is now ‘misery’. When all goes quiet – misery. I don’t know when I last really looked forward to sleeping.

And now I’m looking at the clock and thinking 40 minutes before the alarm goes off. Under pressure to sleep. And I’m sure I heard little foot steps a few minutes ago so there is no guarantee there will even be a place for me in the bed. And I can’t sleep in a bunk bed with hotwheels and lost socks catching on my toes. And after two weeks of relaxing, I’ll be going into the schoolyard, yet again, with puffy, tired, red-rimmed eyes.

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