your body is not your own

My baby has been going through some hellish unpredictable sleep patterns recently– due to a series of unfortunate events including our move to a new home, his move to his own room, a never-ending runny nose, holiday excitement–which means I’ve been on a rollercoaster of sleep deprived emotion.

FYI when I’m in a shitty mood I tend to clean. AGGRESSIVELY. If you come over and I am scrubbing counters like they murdered my cat, you know what? Maybe they did.

So my place is pretty tip-top at the moment, and I worked out a night shift system with my husband so that we can each get a stretch of sleep at one end or the other. The baby might be mellowing out again? At least, he slept through till 4 am once last week, and a couple times now he’s only gotten up once before 4. We’ll see how it goes.

The other night I crashed early and left Randy to put the baby to bed. I hadn’t gone to sleep before the baby… ever? Or maybe a couple times when he was a teeny infant, and I only had a 3 hour window till the next feeding? I don’t remember, my short term memory was sacrificed on the altar of god baby.

I laid down, but I could still hear him puttering around in the living room and occasionally fussing, and my HEART WAS POUNDING. I am so physically trained to respond at this point that it was like panic mode. *WEEOO WEEOO BABY IS AWAKE, GET UP, WEEOOOO* I did finally fall asleep and it was amazing, but the incident made it pretty clear that my body is still not my own. You think of pregnancy as the phase where you’re physically wrapped up with another organism but it doesn’t end there. Even if I wasn’t breastfeeding there would still be this aspect of paranoid “where is the baby” care.

This is a hassle but it isn’t a bad thing. I know there’s going to be a sense of loss when I stop breastfeeding for sure, but also when I hit each inevitable stage of further baby independence that is necessary to raise a self-sufficient adult. In the book I’m currently writing, a side character has lost a child and she is kind of all my fears and dark thoughts wrapped up inside a Russian bow-woman.

Because I’ll say one thing for sleep deprivation: your emotions are all at the surface. My mood isn’t swinging, it’s just that every mood I normally have is so clear and convex I could use them as magnifying glasses. They just bubble out around me piercing whatever dares step across my path. Does this metaphor work? It’s 5 am and I’m simultaneously drafting a different blog post in my head about living in a dark, semi-isolated house.

Till then.