I can feel myself sliding backwards. We’ve had two weeks now of coughs and colds, croup, teeth and random sky high fevers. Which means that I have had two weeks of scarily little sleep, alongside ten to twelve hour long shifts at work. I am definitely getting to the point where I perpetually feel nauseous and dizzy and weak, where my brain seems to be buzzing and I can’t seem to listen to more than two connected words. I definitely can’t hold two connected thoughts together. I have totally abandoned any attempts at productive activity. Our continued attempts at sorting the house have been trumped by watching Despicable Me and lying, close-eyed on the sofa. There has been some bickering going on between me and my better half, almost all initiated by me, but tempers generally are a little frayed.
And it’s made me realise something, realise that this was how I have felt the vast majority of the time really, probably for more than five years, but most certainly how I was feeling, and more, when I first returned to work after my second maternity leave finished. It’s made me realise that a large part of my new found positivity, productivity and activity, my recent clarity of thought, my ability to think about the future, probably has less to do with reiki, meditation and Konmari, and a whole lot more to having finally had a few, connected hours of sleep at long last.
I have always imagined myself with three kids. In my head, when I think of a family, that is how it looks. A real team, a gang, strong enough together to weather anything. The thought of never being pregnant again, never feeling my belly hard and swollen with a new life that wriggles and kicks, never again having a beautiful, empowered birth in my kitchen, and meeting that new life for the first time, well that thought really saddens me. I see my amazing kids and think surely there is space in the world for another one this incredible. And just think how much better I am at this parenting lark now, how much I know now that I had no idea about before, wouldn’t it be great to use all the knowledge and skills again when it doesn’t all feel like a total mystery.
Recently, prior to these two weeks, life was feeling pretty great. My kids seem to both be quite fabulous right now. Five is totally my favourite age so far, my daughter is just totally blooming before my eyes, growing stronger in every possible direction. I am loving spending time with her and really learning who she is. My son is definitely in the terrible twos, but when he isn’t having a paddy because we won’t let him chase the chickens with a pair of scissors, he is so funny and silly and adventurous and curious and loving. He is enormously good fun. They get on amazingly well and really support and encourage each other. I was also feeling so great about the progress we were finally managing to make with the house and garden.
When, after misinterpreting where a conversation was heading, my husband asked me if I wanted another baby right now, I instantly replied “Oh God no, everything is going so well I just want to enjoy it exactly how it is right now. Make the most of it!!” He looked pretty relieved by my answer. Alongside all the progress I’ve already mentioned, me and my husband managed to go out alone, for a date, to celebrate our wedding anniversary for the first time ever, I got to go out to a concert, and Earth-shakingly, next weekend I am going away for my first ever child free weekend!
This current feeling of desperate sleep deprivation has rather concreted my sense of appreciating what I have rather than asking for more. That tiny taste of the possibility of some easier times as a parent has been so delicious that I would quite happily remove my womb right now. I think that maybe three isn’t really the magic number. Maybe two, and the possibility of not being sleep deprived, and actually getting shit done in my life, whilst appreciating my two fabulous children, well maybe that’s pretty magical instead.