Sleep

19 Jan

 

I haven’t ‘slept through’ since the birth of my son almost eight years ago. Sleep for me is what happens when I’m exhausted and can no longer stay upright. I don’t look forward to bedtime and I sometimes don’t put on special sleeping clothes, choosing to fall down in whatever top I was wearing that day.

Since becoming a mother my sleep has been patchy at best. Even when I do go out of my way to prepare for bedtime, the moment my head hits the pillow mummy-mania hits. Are my kids okay? Will we get through the next day in tact and happy? I think of all the things that could go wrong. I jump when I hear noises. I worry about how I’m doing as a mother. I wish I was more successful, calmer, more confident. The pillow to me is like a trigger for all my anxiety and the longer I lie there trying to switch off and get some rest to prepare for the next day, the worse it becomes.

I have developed an extremely bad habit of falling asleep in front of the TV. It’s the only way I can switch off and fall asleep at a reasonable time. By focusing on whatever is on the box I forget to worry and I drift off. My husband usually turns the TV off and tucks me in on his way to work early each morning. When I wake up with the TV off and a blanket over me I feel loved and cared for. I feel like he’s trying to help me, even though he usually makes it all worse and harder. He exaggerates and over-reacts. He loves to look up childhood ache and pains on the internet and read out loud the scariest information he can find. My son’s chest pains could be heart failure (it was constipation). My son’s sore eye could lead to blindness (one sleep later and it was all better). My son’s neck clicked when I lost my grip on him and heard a click. My husband said it could be a broken neck and then carried him to the next room. The ambulance officers I called out to the house said he was fine. Necks sometimes make a cracking noise. So I’m my worst enemy when it comes to anxiety levels and my husband is an enabler or and exacerbater.

How do you achieve calm when you have three little lives in your hands and so many unfulfilled dreams of your own? Where do you turn when everything in the media inflames a parent’s concerns. I have to buy shoes that assist their feet. Don’t go cheap or their feet could become deformed? If I immunise them against deadly and debilitating diseases I have to accept autism? There could be arsenic in apple juice. I am an irresponsible parent for not buying organic food. It’s endless and it’s getting worse as I get older.

Take a holiday and you could die. Send your child to school too early or too late and they are ruined. Eat the wrong foods and you’ll get cancer. Deepak Chopra here I come.

La Dolce Vita,

Jo Abi

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