After Odin died I had a lot of trouble sleeping for a few months. I was prescribed a sleeping pill by my doctor that really helped me get through that period. Otherwise, I have been a boastfully good nighttime sleeper all my life. Until the third trimester of this pregnancy, that is. According to the internet, 75-80% of pregnant women experience insomnia at some stage (usually later on) in their pregnancies. I am always torn about complaining about my symptoms (unless it’s to N, whose patience, I’m convinced, goes unmatched by any other human on the planet) because underneath the back pain, breathlessness (I’m pretty sure I have pregnancy-related asthma now), and general fatigue I am so so grateful to be pregnant with baby girl. The insomnia, though, is really starting to mess with me.
Generally, my witching hours are 3-6am when I am wide awake staring into the darkness. I know there are rules and tricks to try for sleeplessness, but it feels very wrong to me to get out of bed in the middle of the night to putter or read. What if I could fall asleep if I just stayed in bed? I’m not sure how I manage to just lay there for 3 hours, but I do. And it’s getting harder and harder the more exhausted I am to keep my mind from wandering back to that delivery room where we spent our only time with our very missed baby boy. This insomnia feels like a cruel joke. The vicious cycle of being tired and then feeling rotten and being vulnerable to my emotions.
I stayed home from work today because I was feeling so anxious and tired and sad and weird. And maybe Halloween has something to do with it. Yet another kid-centric holiday that reminds us of what we’re missing. An 18-month-old in a dinosaur costume waddling around and giggling with a bit too much sugar in his tummy.
And even as I sit here writing this, I’m thinking that I’m not even saying anything worth reading. Exhaustion brings doubt. So, I’m going to cheat and use someone else’s words to wrap this up. A blessing sent to me a while ago by a dear friend whose baby died last year and who now has a living daughter.
Blessing for a Mother-to-be
Nothing could have prepared your heart to open like this. From beyond the skies and the stars this echo arrived inside you and started to pulse with life, each beat a tiny act of growth, traversing all our ancient shapes on its way home to itself.
Once it began, you were no longer your own. A new, more courageous you, offering itself in a new way to a presence you can sense but you have not seen or known.
It has made you feel alone in a way you never knew before, everyone else sees only from the outside what you feel and feed with every fibre of your being. Never have you traveled farther inward where words and thoughts become half-light unable to reach the fund of brightness strengthening inside the night of your womb. Like some primeval moon, your soul brightens the tides of essence that flow to your child. You know your life has changed forever, for in all the days and years to come, distance will never be able to cut you off from the one you now carry for nine months under your heart.
May you be blessed with quiet confidence that destiny will guide you and mind you. May the emerging spirit of your child imbibe encouragement and joy from the continuous music of your heart, so that it can grow with ease, expectant of wonder and welcome when its form is fully filled. And it makes it journey out to see you and settle at last relieved and glad in your arms.