To me there is something hauntingly beautiful about night feeds, After waiting so impatiently for what seemed like a lifetime to meet our baby, and wishing for a time where I could wrap my arms around him, there are often moments in the dead of night where I catch myself wishing he could be back in the womb instead.
It's difficult to rouse myself as his cry pierces through the silence, and I beg him to go back to sleep, without daring to glance at the time. At every single wake up I wish we were formula feeding so that my husband could get up and deal with him, leaving me to roll over and go back to sleep. However it always has to be me. It's hard, and it doesn't appear to be getting any easier. Despite this, my heart aches when I think about how 'this too shall pass'.
Motherhood, as I have come to learn, is bittersweet. In the dead of the night, as I cradle that little boy in my arms, I feel more connected to him and my role as a mother, than ever before. Feeding during the day can also be lovely, but is usually accompanied by the television, a scroll through Facebook, and a lukewarm cup of tea. Whereas at 2 in the morning, and 3 and 4 and 5, and all those other ridiculously unsociable hours, it really is just the two of us. It's like being pregnant all over again and having him back to myself, but this time I can study him up close,. every inch of him.
His little hand often grasps my hair too hard or rests on my chest. He whistles through his nose and makes faint drinking noises as his tiny tummy rumbles. My eyes won't stay open, but they don't need to be as I can picture every feature of that familiar face, and smell that unmistakable baby scent. I am all he needs in that moment, and it's at night when that overwhelming sense of responsibility doesn't feel at all terrifying. It's liberating, and it doesn't feel selfish like it does during the day when my arms ache for him to be given back as I watch somebody else rock him to sleep.
I always knew I'd favour attachment parenting, breastfeeding and co-sleeping, and it delights me that these work for him as well as they do for me. Pregnancy and childbirth certainly took their toll on my mind and body, but those times where it's just my baby and I, remind me why some parents go through this newborn phase time and time again, I know I certainly want to.
Every night as I begrudgingly pick him up I remember how much he fills my heart with something more than love, and I find myself thanking a God I don't even believe in for all of this. I always knew being a mother would please me, but I never knew quite how deep my still waters ran. One day I will have to stop having children, and there won't be another 4am feed. So for now, in the dark of the night while I listen to the silence and envy those who are peacefully dreaming, I remind myself how privileged I am to have my sleep broken for such a beautiful reason.