Ah yes, I remember this feeling. Welcome back, my gnarly old nemesis, my Achilles Heel, my focus of hatred… and prepare for battle. Sleep Deprivation has returned. We are about five weeks in, or significantly more if you factor in the late pregnancy insomnia, nocturnal pregnancy indigestion and 3am womb karate that my foetus used to indulge in. Five weeks of a new baby. Welcome B, and help yourself to my breast milk, my sanity and my sense of humour. What’s mine is yours and what’s yours… well, quite frankly, as it pretty much consists only of yellow poo, a loud cry, trapped wind very dry skin, you can bloody well keep it.
When you have kids, I didn’t realise that you get two free extra large bags for life. They’re the ones under my bloody eyes. The only saving grace is that I don’t have time to look in the mirror these days, and if I do accidentally come face to face with one, I avert my gaze quickly. After all, no one wants a wizened old hag with bed hair and slightly smeared eyeliner for a reflection, do they?
The extreme fatigue comes unbidden, not even stopping to wipe its feet, infiltrating my brain and my bones, seeping it’s leaden evilness into my marrow and deadening my synapses. It forces my brain to play tricks on me, so I can be found putting fresh milk in the mug cupboard, asking M the same question three times in five minutes and still not comprehending the answer, and all this whilst wearing my jumper inside-out and back-to-front and not noticing until I take it off to go to bed.
A few nights ago, I woke up as B started to cry. As my eyelids scraped open I tried to focus into the inky gloom of the bedroom. It was then that I realised I had absolutely no idea whether I was lying in bed, or had fallen asleep in the chair that I use to feed B at night. That’s bloody ridiculous, I thought, not being able to tell if I was lying down or sitting up. I remained still, waiting for the knowledge to come. Tumbleweed skittered across the space between my ears where my brain used to be, before the lack of sleep shrunk it to the size of a small pea (or petit pois, if you want to be a bit more middle class about it). No, I am still not sure if I fell asleep in the chair or managed to get into bed, and it was starting to freak me out a tad. I reached out to touch something – anything – that would give me a clue as to where I was. I touched fabric… probably the duvet… but it could be the feeding cushion. For fuck’s sake, this is bonkers. Finally, as I poked a leg sideways, I orientated myself and realised that I was in bed. But not for long, as B’s cries for milk were getting more insistent, so I got up, picked up B from the Mose’s basket and sat in the feeding chair. At least I think I did.
That little episode, probably lasting less than ten seconds, alarmed me greatly. What kind of a sodding idiot does not know the difference between sitting in a chair and lying in bed? I could think of an answer to this, but quite frankly, I am too fucking tired…