Your little body is swaddled up as tightly as I can manage. I have you against my warm flannel encased chest where you must be able to feel my rapidly beating heart. My left arm is supporting your tiny bottom while my right hand rubs smooth circles on your back. As I bounce rhythmically, my lips purse and release the “shhhhhhhhshhhhhh” sound I am desperately hoping will soothe you.
This is our secret weapon, one which we only use in dire situations. Lately it’s been impossible to settle you; I am lost, past my depths of understanding. Aren’t I supposed to be able to soothe my own baby? I’ve researched everything and none of the suggested tricks have worked.
This has me in our living room at 3am with the blue light of the moon highlighting our constant movement. As your cries become louder so does my “shhhhhhshhhhh” sounds, as you begin to relax so my sounds quiet.
Sitting is impossible; I must remain in fluid motion…walking, rocking and swaying to calm you, struggling to convince you that slumber is to be embraced.
I cannot imagine what is going on in your little mind, why do you become so over-stimulated during night-time feeds? Every 3 hours we repeat this pattern lately, I’ve ensured aren’t hungry or wet and have tried all the tricks known to Mothers online and still I battle to settle you.
Seeing your little arms flailing in your crib as you scream and gurgle out your frustrations is just too much, you’ll only be this small once in my life I think to myself as I hold you.
As your cries continue I am wearing thin, lack of sleep and self-confidence have overcome my bravado. The tears stream down my face as I unswaddle you, and lie down with you on my chest. Your body flails and your face reddens and I am at a loss……I am truly empty and lost for ideas on how to save my precious child from this pain.
Through my sobs I hear my Mother’s voice singing…it’s a memory of her English accent singing to me as a child on sleepless nights. The moment the memory tickles the edges of my consciousness I begin to hum.
Embracing the internal echoes of my Mum’s voice, I am singing softly…You are my sunshine….through my tears with soft, deep breaths I sing myself into relaxation. I feel you upon me, your movements slow down and your cries soften. Lightly and soulfully I sing my childhood song to you and within those effortless breaths we take together, my baby and I fall asleep.
***I wrote this in response to the following prompt to “free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments” on Just Write with Heather***