I Didn’t Sleep


I didn’t sleep.

For the two nights that you spent making your descent into the world, your pushes and shoves becoming more insistent as you drew ever closer to your journey’s end. ‘Mummy,’ your sharp movements told me as you determinedly moved forward. ‘I’m coming. I need you.’ As you made your tricky traverse, your progress felt keenly throughout my body, slumber eluded me. And so I stayed awake, waiting eagerly, to see your face, ready to scoop you into my arms and give you succour and comfort as you transitioned from the dark to the light with an earth-trembling shriek of confusion.


I didn’t sleep.

The night we brought you home, your precious, tiny body so small and alien within the four walls of the home that had once only provided shelter for two. Uncertain and anxious, I drifted in and out of slumber constantly, waiting for you to awaken and let me know, with your vociferous cries, that you needed me. I stayed beside you, watching you, a faithful servant, ready to do your bidding, even if I wasn’t quite sure what that might be.


I didn’t sleep.

For the six months that you lay beside me in your crib, wrapped in the bedding that I hoped would replicate the warmth of my arms. I woke night after night and watched you breathe, my hand gently hovering above your chest, feeling the soothing rise and fall, and the sweet wisp of your breath on my arms. It gave me peace and comfort, at least, for an hour or two, when I would jump up again to feel that unmistakable movement and allay my constant concern, for a while at least.


I didn’t sleep.

When you moved across the landing and into your own room, into a cot that seemed too large for you, so different from the crib in our room that you’d easily outgrown now. How could you be so big and so small all at once? I’d wake in the night and look around for you, panic gripping my heart until I saw your blurry face on the monitor. I’d lie for a while and just watch you, watching the grainy motion of your chest. But it was never enough and I’d tiptoe into your room and stare at your face just to reassure myself that you, magical you, were real.


I will not sleep.

When you stay away from us with friends for the very first time. I will fret that you’re remembering to brush your teeth and are being good for your hosts. And I’ll worry too that you’re getting along with the others, that you’re not being teased or bullied in the way that young girls can. I will hope that you’re not awake all night yet my own eyes will struggle to close as I worry for you on your big girl adventure, so grown up but always my little one.


I will not sleep.

When you pack your bags and leave for your own home. ‘Finally. Dad and I get the house back,’ I’ll laugh. But inside my tummy will churn and the worries will flurry around my mind like a thousand fireflies flashing across the sky at sunset. Will you have enough to pay your bills? What will you eat? Will you remember to lock the doors? But most of all I’ll think about how much I’ll miss you, the beautiful girl who has been down the landing all these years. I’ll tell you though: ‘It will do you good to be independent,’ and you’ll smile a gorgeous, proud smile as you take this momentous step into your new life.


And I will not sleep.

The night that you’re awake waiting for the arrival of your own child, knowing that you’ll be feeling every movement he or she makes as they travel along to meet you, their mum. I will be hoping for you, my girl, to stay safe, and for the new life to arrive quickly, minimising the pain for you. And my heart will burst with pride, knowing how fortunate your precious bundle will be to have you as their mother.


And now, at the end of each day, we three seek out slumber; you exhausted by the sheer effort of growing and your daddy and I overcome by the tiredness from the busyness of the hours preceding. But the welcome of sleep is temporary as it’s a bridge that keep us at a distance.  And as I watch you snoozing contentedly, I look forward to when you will rouse again, so I can see your smile, hear your voice, feel your strong little hands grip onto my neck. I feel like a child the night before Christmas, waiting for the glorious gift of the morning when I will wander into your room and scoop you up into my arms and see my world light up once more.

Dear Bear and Beany
Prose for Thought

31 thoughts on “I Didn’t Sleep

  1. This is absolutely beautiful, and words that I can relate to very much. So much love and emotion captured. I love the movement through the different stages too, past, present and future. Just wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing with #Prose4T x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this. My mum says that she still doesn’t sleep well when she knows either my brother or I have big things happening in our life. I think it stays with you forever. I remember those days when I couldn’t wait for my babies to wake and be in my arms again. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi I loved this and the journey through the various stages of growing up and not sleeping. I am close to the final stage of not sleeping as my eldest prepares to leave home and i move into a new zone of not sleeping and worrying. I loved also how it reminded me of those early stages which can sometimes seem such a distant memory. #SharingTheBlogLove


  4. Thank you so much for your lovely comment. It sounds like the lack of sleeping never goes away – I hope you manage to get some rest 🙂 Even when we were much older, Mum used to wait up for me and my sisters to return from nights out. I think it’s part of the deal of being a parent x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a beautiful post. Totally makes me think of my experiences too and it made me feel quite sad thinking about the time when my girls will leave home. You’ve really captured the true feelings of being a mum in this one x #Sharingthebloglove

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What totally beautiful words. I loved reading every line of this and it is all so true. I hadn’t really thought about how I would feel about when Grace has her own kids – but it has made me now! So sorry for my delay in commenting and thank you for linking to Prose for Thought hosted by Mum Turned Mom that week x


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