When you deeply miss the thing that’s breaking you.
It’s 2am and I can’t sleep, but that’s not out of the ordinary. Sleep is something that has been hard to come by for almost two years now. But this time, when I roll over or simply just open my eyes, I don’t see my baby next to me. There is no tiny human squeezing my finger, crawling on me in their sleep, insisting they be in my arms while I lay on my back, or sticking their fingers in my mouth (and eyes, and ears, and nose). No tiny human for me to watch as they sleep, or feel breathing, or hear move before they even do.
But it’s no longer safe.
It’s pushing me towards my breaking point and over the edge into postpartum psychosis.
The thing that I have come to love the most about parenting and the bond it infuses with my child, is no longer safe.
I find myself laying in my bed alone, wavering back and forth between the relief my exhaustion feels and the grief in my heart that my baby is no longer sleeping next to me. I can roll, stretch, sneeze, and toot without worry now. I don’t hear things that aren’t there anymore. And most importantly, I can rest my eyes and soul with deeply desired sleep I’ve been needing for so long. And I am. I am grabbing ahold of those things and not letting go because I know how much I need them to get and be well. I’m grabbing ahold of them and not letting go.
While also letting go.
Sometimes we, I, have to let go in order to heal and see what the next right move may be. Letting go of my attachment to co-sleeping and instead sleep training Wilder, absolutely needed to happen for me, my mental health, and Wilder’s safety. But just because we know something needs to happen, doesn’t make it easier to let go.
This has been one of the gifts recovery has given me: the ability to let go and let God (who I like to refer to as my Higher Power and the universe). After a year of co-sleeping, Wilder is asleep in their own room in a crib and hasn’t cried all night. There is relief there too, I can feel it. A deeper sleep for Wilder and more comfort. Wilder know’s Papa might not be right next to them, but that I’m still right there.
Wilder might not be right next to you Papa, but they are still right here.
Here’s to letting go in parenthood and all of the complicated, mixed emotions that may bring.