Since my Ripley was born it has been 2 years, 3.5 months of waking every 1-2 hours. Sometimes I lose count of how many times I wake and other times I’m excited because it was only 3 times in a night. We have never had more than 5-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep since he was born. I can feel my bones aching and my face is becoming gaunt. No matter how much I eat, how well hydrated I am, the effects of sleep-deprivation are immense. The thing is, there is a reason he doesn’t sleep well and now we’ve exhausted the medical side (reflux/food allergies/apnea etc), there are now other issues like sensory processing, communication, emotional… it is hard not to fear the future. I feel so limited by the situation and while I could wax lyrical for pages and pages about how this affects us, a blog I love has detailed it really well already – read that here.
I find myself dreaming of our future and what plans we might make, but it all feels futile when I think about the uncertainty of what lays ahead and what issues we may have. It feels often so inevitable – yet so many people tell me not to think that way. I am genuinely upbeat most of the time, but there is no doubt I cannot truly avoid feeling worried about what might come.
Pondering why he might be waking so much despite all of the things we have done to try to improve his sleep; leaves me feeling tired and unwell. This is a sample of the dialogue in my head…
Is it because we are eating less meat but more legumes? Is it perhaps tree nuts after all this time, I know we have tested it before, but maybe… Is he having nightmares, he wakes up screaming often and wants to get up and turn all the lights on. Is it trauma from being in the NICU and being in pain from reflux?
As you can see, the dialogue leaves me with more questions than answers, which is futile and frustrating. Worse still is that the majority of people, well-meaning people who care about us, don’t understand. They don’t understand why we struggle to do anything much, why we don’t want to drive to Melbourne due to being afraid of driving into a tree, why I feel so overwhelmed and worried, why I need to acknowledge the difficulties we face.
While I study full-time as an escape and to access government benefits to survive, I ponder where my life will take me. One thing I didn’t know before I became a mother is how difficult it is to meet your own needs while not compromising too much on being a parent. I’d love to travel more, I would love to have a powerful career again, but I am not able to for so many reasons. Thus I am at home a lot. I feel overwhelmed and burdened by my possessions. I feel tired, stressed, exhausted and anxious. Why? Because my life becomes more about obligations and expectations at times, and it is in those moments where I must remind myself of what is important. I know I can’t do everything; I am enough.
It is enough to be his mother.
It is enough to be a wife.
It is enough to be a student.
It is enough to cook pancakes for dinner.
It is enough to get be a slow minimalist.
It is enough to get a pass on an assignment.
Something I struggle to remember but think is an exceptionally strong idea, is to ask yourself, in those moments of stress and exhaustion; what would my best friend say to me? They would speak kind words and say, yes, you are enough.