When Sleep Won’t Come

It seems as if the creating phase of any venture lends itself to both excitement and worry. Am I making the right decisions? Should I have done it this way? What if…? are all questions my head will flip and squish and analyze from every angle all night long.

And as the project nears completion, when there is less to be done but also less that can be changed, the stress builds.

I recall long-ago college thesis papers or global marketing launches in my former corporate life or more recent community events for several hundred people.

But nothing that I have experienced compares to creating a human life. This building of flesh, blood and bones, this “project” of growing another being is nothing short of a miracle, and all by simply nourishing my own body and mind.

For months now, but especially in these last few weeks of creation, I am finding sleep to be an illusive, teasing foe. It comes only in small increments and often evades me completely in the darkest hours of the night.

When sleep won’t come, my mind takes over. How I wish I were a peace-filled person! How I wish I stuck to my yoga and meditation practices for more than just a string of sessions at a time! How I long for the discipline to shut off the mind, bid the body comply, and turn back to my slumber!

But at this juncture in life, I am not such. And while it’s said that these last few sleepless months are preparation for when the baby arrives, what I see happening (in my near-delirium state), is the assigning of an exhausting task to an already exhausted soul.

It makes me laugh.

I have never looked so old and tired. I have never felt more achy and swollen. It is a happy yet uncomfortable time and I chuckle at my own misery.

The nesting energy hit with a gusto and I tore apart my house in attempts to clean, minimize and purge. And then just as quickly the energy and motivation moved on, and I was left with a dozen huge tasks that in their unfinished state bother me to the core. Especially when sleep won’t come.

So much to do in these last short weeks, yet all my mind and body want are rest.

When sleep won’t come, I am bugged by nagging chore lists, by wonder and excitement at our changing family, by existing parenting stresses of doing right by my five-year old, even by worrying about this very column and how far I’ve gotten from writing about The Angle.

I often recall the concept of “let go and let god,” but wow is that easier said than done. I must be addicted to control and fearful of surrender. My trust is obviously misplaced. The know-how of relaxing into the flow of the universe or the lap of god or whatever you want to call it is simply gone. I have so much to relearn. I have so much to do.

And when sleep won’t come, I can beat myself up about that too.

It’s why I have to laugh. It’s why I sometimes sob in my exhaustion and ask my man to hold me without questioning my tears.

It’s why we need a village.

When sleep won’t come, I think most about the missing village. We have both sets of grandparents here, friends near and far, many acquaintances and visiting relatives. But the true community, the co-parents, the ask-anything-of-nearly-anyone faith, the open-hearted, confiding relationships that salve a woman’s wounds and lift her back to herself when she has fallen is missing. And it impacts nearly everything, right down to the developing neural pathways of the being growing in my womb.

I can’t laugh about this lack of community because I don’t trust that there’s an answer. I don’t know how to fix it. I worry in the quiet of the night how to ask for help, whom to ask and what to even ask for.

I pray that soon, somewhere in the stillness of the small hours, the answer will ring. “Rest, little one. When sleep won’t come, I will see to what’s left.”

But I haven’t heard it yet.

(Published in the November 27th issue of the Warroad Pioneer)




Author: Angle Full of Grace

A writer, woods-wanderer, and internal peace seeker who raises two free-range children in the wilderness, I escaped the wasteland of corporate America a few years back never to return. I write about love, family, mental health, addiction, parenthood and personal growth all through lens of place and connection to the land. Most entries are my weekly column for our local small-town newspaper, and there's an occasional feature story thrown in the mix as well.

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