Time to rest


From the early days of my daughter’s life, the need to perfect her sleep has been very high on my priority list, but not just for wanting to control potentially ‘bad’ sleeping habits. Mostly, for the desire to be able to continue on with other aspects of life while she sleeps- housework, business, sleep, even basic care like showering and peeing. And the fact that (particularly the days) have been nothing short of a broken record of catnaps, crying, and bouts of only sleeping on me, has left me frustrated and frazzled that nothing else has been done around me. 

But then the other day, I heard something that made me want to reevaluate this desire we seem to have to  ’make’ our babies sleep. And it was this- perhaps these moments are designed to provide us time to rest.

Perhaps, the babe sleeping in my arms is unconsciously saying ‘mama, stop for a moment, be with me’. Perhaps, although actual sleep may not come for me in this short nap of hers, perhaps it is an opportunity for me to stop. To not have to sing the nursery rhymes, or do laps around the garden, or worry about the washing piling up. Perhaps it is a chance to rest. 

Instinct is an incredible thing. Our bodies grow, birth and nurture these babes without need of an instruction manual, and they in turn instinctively know how to search for the breast, have a cry designed to make us protect them, and fit within the bounds of our arms like two pieces of a puzzle. Could it not also be that instinct is telling us this is nature too? 

We live in a need to always be on the go, on the move, constantly connected to the outside world, but perhaps sometimes lacking a connection to what we can’t hear- the instinct of the bond between mother and babe that no textbook can explain. Even the fact that I’m writing this while my baby sleeps in my arms proves we can’t seem to stop.  

It’s hard. When baby clings to you for every waking moment of their day, we crave just a little relief in those moments when they sleep. And it can break your spirit just a little more every time they wake and cry out seemingly only seconds after they finally go to sleep. To then find yourself trapped under them yet again, sacrificing food, comfort- even your bladder.  

But then I sit here and realize that I don’t have to do anything else. I don’t have to cook, I don’t have to clean, I don’t even have to make conversation with anyone. I can sit here, snuggled under the warmth of my babe, and I can breathe. I can watch her sleep, commit the lines and curves of her face and hands to memory. I can revel in this perfect tiny human who calls me home. 

And I can rest. I may still be just as tired- if not more- when she finally wakes, but I’ve had the chance to stop, to just be with her, with my girl. 

 So let’s embrace these moments. If they can’t be changed just now, let’s go with the flow, and hold them close as they sleep more soundly pressed against our heartbeat.

Rest, mama.