I never knew the true meaning behind “the silence is deafening” until we came home from hospital empty handed and broken hearted. The loneliness of the night where it was still and quiet. Where I felt for the first time the silence pounding in my ears and all I could think of is “I should be hearing my baby cry”.
During the day I might be “fine” as much as that word meant now, where I fill the hours with distractions. Where my body can go into this weird unintentional survival mode that shuts down my emotions and dries up my tears. I might be able to have a laugh with a friend over lunch and remain emotionally intact through it. But as the night goes on and the house gets quiet… when the kids go to sleep.. when my husband goes to sleep… there’s only me and the silence.
The silence feels empty and taunting. It leaves you with nothing but your thoughts. It makes you remember that there’s nothing heavier than empty arms. It leaves you playing over every second of before, during and after the birth and sometimes re-imagining the scenes. It leaves you asking questions like “why?” that have no answers. It lets you hear your heart crying out in pain. It makes you know just how much you miss them with every cell of your body. Before Elliott I sought out silence, I found it so peaceful and now it just gives you anxiety and surfaces emotions like anger and hurt, bitterness and regret.
I never knew how loud silence could be.
I tried to combat this by keeping myself busy with anything I could until I couldn’t stay awake any longer. I couldn’t bear to lie in bed trying to fall asleep with the silence screaming in my ears. I also couldn’t bear going to sleep, as every new day that ticked over scared me that I was getting further and further away from our son. And now my body clock has reset to stupid o’clock as my bedtime even when I want an earlier night. It means I’m tired… so tired. Emotionally tired and now physically tired and it makes everything so much harder. I know it’s not good for me or my family and I need to do something about it.
So now amongst everything I have to try do everything under the sun to retrain myself to sleep. What I didn’t realise was how much of a commitment I would need to go to sleep. I lay in bed and straight away no matter how tired I am, what I’ve done to relax or switch off… by brain keeps ticking. My eye lids try to open, my legs get itchy to get up, I have an urge to get my phone out, words and sentences start appearing in my head. Sometimes my heart pounds fast and loud as I’m laying there, like my body is telling me to be afraid of sleep, afraid of the noise that the silence brings.
I’m still not sure how to get used to the silence and everything that brings but I know regardless I have to battle with myself to commit to going to sleep. I say goodnight to my other children and I say goodnight to our angel Elliott. I hope I dream of him, peaceful and happy, and the possibility of such a dream is worth going to sleep for. Yes, it’s still a struggle like so many daily things now. Life has changed, everything in our world has changed. I have changed and even being able to just go to sleep has changed. One day we’ll find our new normal, and I’m interested in what that will look like. But for now its still day by day and facing the battles that each day may or may not bring.