For the last 3 mornings I have laid back against my couch, spent, exhausted and cold, and watched the sun rise, yellow and fiery against the pale light of morning. But today the sky was darker when I woke, not the intense pale blue waiting to be warmed with golden light. It was red, the sky suffused with scarlet emotion.
When I said I was tired yesterday, I did not mean it idly. I mean that every part of me hurts. My muscles are sore and weak. My brain is fuzzy and hungover. My tongue dry. My temper non-existent. Everything that the girls do is annoying me. Every squeal, every adventure, every demand they make of me. Bingley can do nothing right. I held the Possum yesterday and it made me cry to hold him because I did not want to. I wanted to put him in his bed and for him to sleep. Which of course he didn't.
I wanted to call someone, anyone, to come and watch my children so that I could sleep, but there was no one that I could invite into the cesspit that is my house, so I just sat there and stared numbly at the mess. Cried a bit when I realised that the girls had been playing with a tin of condensed milk and robotically changed nappies and walked around with my shirt undone because the feeds never really ended.
The Possum has a headcold, and I am willing to bet an ear infection. A slight temperature and a new tooth. He is still smiling and happy, so long as he is in my arms. He is sick, so I can't leave him to cry, but I am exhausted. I need to sleep, but I am letting Bingley sleep in this morning because he is working ridiculous hours including weekends and needs it more. He is also doing the bulk of the housework other than the cooking. He deserves sleep.
The girls are antsy and frustrated. Because I have no energy they are being left to entertain themselves, and then I get angry when the result of that is mess/destruction/sticky floors. It's my own fault but I just can't get up these last 2 days to direct them. So I just watch impotently as they upend yet another bucket of toys, yell a bit, and then cry when the Elfling gives me a letter "MUMMy [Elfling] Loves YouR hAir and prette face".
I know that this too will pass. I know that the Possum will sleep, that I will sleep again some time. I know that I will regain my sense of humour and that I'm only one 5 hour stretch away from feeling a million dollars. But it's so goddamned hard. People talk about sleep deprivation with a baby like it's a joke. Or something you just get on with, stiff upper lips ahoy. They never talk about the fact that it's soul destroying. That it makes it so hard to cope with even the activities of daily living. Of how punishing it is to have a horrendous night, and then still need to get your school aged child dressed, fed, home reader signed and packed off to school. Of having your threenager want and need your attention and guidance when all you want to do is "sleep when the baby sleeps".
When I fell pregnant with the Possum I was afraid. Not of labour or birth or even the cost. What I was most terrified of was the lack of sleep. The way it twists your emotions and thoughts.
I am not depressed but I am so very very tired. I fell into myself yesterday, succumbed to the numbness, but the dawn today, in all its glorious splendour, reminded me that sometime it will be different.