Looking over this whole post, it really is a rambling emotional outpouring, which I am not planning on having as a permanent feature on this blog, but emotional growth is important, so for now, it stays ;-).
Last night I had the worst bout of insomnia I’ve had in well over a year.
Since my oldest son was born, just over five years ago, I’ve suffered from fairly regular insomnia in two forms:
1). Restlessness, which I’ve finally linked to my blood sugar levels. I can pretty much keep on top of this as long as I eat sensibly and do a reasonable amount of activity each day.
2) Anxiety, for want of a better term. I wake up in the night, start thinking about things, and cannot switch my brain off – this is the more distressing of the two because it’s about my mental, rather than physical wellbeing.
In the last couple of years, number 2 has been less and less of a problem and it’s generally number 1 that keeps me awake, if at all. In fact, for the last couple of months I have been sleeping better than ever.
Until last night.
At 2:30am, my oldest son started crying. It’s rare for either of my boys to wake in the night for anything, so I got up to see what was wrong. He was disoriented, thirsty, and had a blocked up nose, so after a bathroom trip, a drink and some Vicks I settled him back to bed and tried to go back to sleep myself.
But I couldn’t.
I was wide-awake, and perfectly mentally alert.
So, then the thinking started.
And that was the beginning of a 2 hour 15 minute long marathon thought session in the darkest hours of the night – and it really was pitch dark last night, with the new moon less than 24 hours away.
For the first hour or so, I lay in bed, not really recognising what was happening. When I finally got to the point where I wanted to cry about everything I was thinking about, I realised I was basically anxious, so I got out of bed and went downstairs.
I then wrote down everything I was feeling and it all poured out of me. So much sadness for the difficult few years we have had. I realised I was grieving in the middle of the night, for how hard it had been for both of us, not only during this struggle to have another child, but for the way that our families and friends have dealt with our bad news and for the way that I have allowed myself to be treated by medical professionals, midwives, and even people I once considered friends.
And not just the sadness for our journey in conceiving, but also sadness for how poorly equipped I was to deal with the transition to motherhood, the lack of help from either set of parents, the lack of understanding about what it would be like. The chaos at home, the fact that our house was in a state of “renovation” when my first son was born and how we lived with doors that didn’t close, and carpets that were still disgusting despite multiple cleanings for years afterwards. About how I was embarrassed to invite people over, and how I ended up socialising with a group of mums that made me feel awful about myself, my parenting and my home, but I was too tired and lonely to break out of it. And about how I felt like an imposter when I first became a mother – like I wasn’t really a *real* mum because I didn’t know how and I’d never had any experience with children or babies. And about horrible mum and baby groups I went to because everyone said that’s what I should do, but I hated them and my little boy cried at pretty much every place we tried, and I felt even worse as a parent because he didn’t seem to like the stuff that other babies liked, and my son was always the one crying or running off.
I thought and thought and I wrote and wrote, until I had a kind of breakthrough.
It really was grief, that I was feeling. The same feeling of loss you get when you lose someone you love. I was grieving for myself, not in a self-pitying way, but in acceptance for what the last few years have included. And that’s not to say they have been all bad, because they haven’t, and there have been moments of wonder and joy and heart-bursting pride, but I have struggled, and I have probably been depressed for at least some of this time.
And I felt a wash of sadness last night for it all. I felt like saying to myself, “you poor, poor thing.”
Which is a kind of crazy thing to be saying to yourself in the middle of the night, so I didn’t do it out loud.
Instead I just silently acknowledged it. That I didn’t imagine it all, that I didn’t make up how difficult things have been. I just acknowledged that I struggled, and somehow, we survived it all.
This might be premature in some ways. This pregnancy isn’t revealing any of its secrets yet, but I feel like the future is different now. I have a simultaneously terrifying and fabulous feeling that everything is going to be okay this time. And it’s a new beginning unlike anything else.
It’s a healing salve I can already feel washing over the wounds. A bright beginning of a time where I feel more confident in my parenting abilities and more able to stand up to what I expect in other people with regards to their behaviour.
It’s a cliche, but I feel like, if this were a movie scene, I’d be walking out of the smoke and dust and background fire, covered in cuts and bruises, black with soot, hair everywhere, looking serene and focused, knowing that the devastation, the utter madness and bitter circumstances left behind me were over. Done. Finished.
At 4:45am I went back up to bed and went straight to sleep.
I am taking prednisolone, which is notorious for causing insomnia (and other mental disturbances), so maybe I’m just freaking out on the meds, but I really felt a kind of closure last night. A kind of full stop after a big hefty chapter of life.
All I want to do right now, is tidy, organise, sort, and finish all those jobs that never get done. The husband says I’m nesting 8 months early, but when you’ve waited this long, it is not early. My life has been on hold and I am chomping at the bit to get it moving. I’ve known I am pregnant for nine days and I have almost three years of life to catch up on.