An Open Letter to Sleep
Why have you forsaken me? I promise, we can work this out.
I know what I said before, in my utmost ignorance. I know what I said while I was pulling all-nighters in the name of finishing assignments in college: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
I didn’t mean it. I swear, I didn’t mean it.I know now that I need you desperately. Please, come back to me.
I’ve tried to romance you. I’ve tried to remind you of what we once had together. I’ve attempted to draw you in with dimmed lights and fresh, clean sheets, to lure you to myself once again by reading boring teen novels in bed. I’ve bought into the promises of pregnancy pillows, meditation rituals, and even night-time teas, believing in my desperation that they would somehow bring you back to me.
Oh, what I wouldn’t give to return to the days of my youth, to our passionate love-affair.
Even when I avoided you, you came to me with open arms. You would even surprise me sometimes, in the middle of my mundane life, like all those times in biology class. You would sweep me away off into another world, off into a dream. Literally.
The weekends were ours. My family was surprised--they wondered how I could spend my whole Saturday with you. They wondered how I could neglect my friends and forsake all responsibilities to spend time with you. We were together then, and nothing else mattered. I needed you, and you were there.
Now, somehow we have lost it all.
Perhaps it all started with my first pregnancy. Waking up to pee every two hours--well, that put a damper (no pun intended) on our usual uninterrupted time together. Suddenly I was just too uncomfortable to be with you: aching hips, sore back, a giant watermelon-belly in the way of my usual resting position. Then anxiety would find me there, awake staring into the bathroom mirror for the tenth time that night. Anxiety would find me and talk me even further away from you, talk me into a whole world of what-ifs.
Then when the baby came, and you slipped out of my reach even more. I often wonder about you. I wonder who is with you, and why they are so lucky. I wonder what you are like, because to be honest, I have mostly forgotten.
You tried to find me in the rocking chair while I was holding my sweet newborn baby, but it just wasn’t safe. So I did what any good mom would do. I scrolled through Facebook and played endless rounds of candy crush, all to keep you away.
But now, I want you so bad. I can think of nothing else. So, what is keeping you away? Is it the random night-waking of my teething toddler? Is it the grocery lists and unpaid bills running through my head? Is it the return of watermelon belly, threatening your confidence?
I don’t think I can make it without you.
Desperate for you,
Pregnant again, anxiety-disordered, mother of a toddler
Relationships change. Everyone knows that. I know we will never be like we once were, and I am okay with that.
I’m okay with meeting up just for a second during an episode of Doc McStuffins that you’ve seen a thousand times. I’m okay with surprising you when you try to do adult-like things such as paying bills or answering emails. I’m okay with our always-interrupted sporadic time together.
Sure, you could use a nice weekend getaway with me once in awhile (ask your husband about that--I’m sure we can arrange something. After all, he and I are pretty close). But we’re just not going to have a solid, committed, day-in-day-out relationship anymore. Just accept it.
Besides, I’ll be honest with you. You are doing just fine without me. Who is up most nights with a teething toddler and ready to get up at dawn the next morning to prepare breakfast for said toddler? You. Who is up all night pondering life’s questions (can’t you do this during the day?) but still manages to create milk to nourish a toddler and sustain the growth of a tiny human inside of your womb? You. Who is killing it at this whole mom thing?
Maybe you don’t need me as much as you think you do.
Don’t lose hope. I know you’re tired of everyone telling you “this is just a phase,” and “they grow up too fast.” But hear me out: there is some truth to that. There will be a time when we can be together again, a time when the nest is empty and quiet. Will you hold on? Will you wait for me? Until that day, listen to what they say. Hold your babies while you can. Forget me. Spend your nights staring at your sleeping baby boy and wondering when he got so big. Spend your nights counting his eyelashes and pondering what this new tiny human you’re growing in your womb will be like. We’ll be together again someday. Until then, enjoy this part of your life. You’re killing it.