Friday, February 20, 2015
What I heard when I finally listened
Late last year when my baby son was waking every two hours all night through, I prayed for a miracle. I had been reading Marianne Williamson's A Return to Love and to seemed like the only thing to do.
The night after I prayed, he woke every hour-and-a-half, taking half an hour to resettle each time.
I fell apart.
That was actually the miracle.
Because after that, I started a "teach to sleep" program and my son started sleeping through the night.
Over time, of course, our technique got a bit sloppy. My baby gradually grew to rely on me again to settle him. Sure, I wasn't singing the same songs or rocking him in the same way. And he was mostly sleeping through the night. So told myself it wasn't a big deal.
Until the waking every hour-and-a-half started again, taking half an hour to resettle.
And I started to fall apart again.
Leonard Cohen, in his superlative song Anthem, sings of the cracks letting the light in. I have seen the truth in that.
But when I am falling apart, my cracks get filled pretty quickly. Mainly with nasty self talk.
You are not allowed to make mistakes. You are doing a terrible job. You are not allowed to leave any mess. You must anticipate, plan for everything. You are the most ungrateful girl in the world. You are the most useless mum in the world. You are the most selfish wife in the world. You are lazy. You are fat and still you stuff your face with chocolate. You're so stupid, you can't get anything right. You cannot ask for help. You cannot mess this up. No wonder you are on your own right now.
Looking back, I'm not surprised that this prompt threw me. "What is the sound of your own voice?" The cacophony of nastiness may have been a big part of the reason I stopped blogging for a while.
But one day, as recently as last week, I stood by my son's cot, rocking him for the millionth time for the millionth hour, I realised that I had nothing left to do but listen.
I got quiet.
And then I heard my own tiny, plaintive voice. And it said:
That night I resumed the "teach to sleep" program.
This post is in response to the fifth prompt of the Reverb14 reflective writing challenge. All prompts can be found here; you are warmly invited to share your response and link to it in the comments below, if you feel called to do so.
The next opportunity to connect in this way is April Moon and we'd love to have you join us!