A bird sings outside her window, just for us: I can’t believe she is asleep

It's 5am. My mind collapses in exhaustion. I hear something perfect, the best soundless sound I have ever heard: My baby is asleep.

Her eyes flutter so gently, I think I might have made it up. I make up stories of boats with wings just for her, but I could never create something so pure as her sleepy-eye flutter. It must be real. It is real.

I can’t believe she is asleep.

I lean in to check if she is real. I watch her tummy, peeling back her ducky duvet to make extra-sure. Her breath (like her heartbeat) is quicker than mine, the books say. But the time it takes for her chest to rise and fall feels like forever. I panic for a second until I know for sure. Yes, she is breathing.

I can’t believe she is asleep.

‘What’s peace?’, she’ll ask me someday. My baby makes a sound like nothing ever made before. Soft, glittering snores. In and out. They are the most perfect lyrics. I listen like it’s the last song I’ll ever hear. A bird sings outside her window, just for us.

I can’t believe she is asleep.

This feeling is making me brave. I lean in too far. So far, my breath tickles her cheek. I inhale her and she stirs. I hope I haven’t broken the spell.

I watch frozen silent as one small, strong arm punches in slow motion towards the glow-in-the-dark galaxy above. Each part of her face squishes up. Her barely-there eyebrows raise, confused. Her pink cheeks puff out, the cheeks I spent all day kissing. I concentrate on her eyes as they flicker. My baby sighs and gets all comfy again.

I can’t believe she is still asleep.

I float away on tiptoe. I have learnt my lesson: will never ever disturb her again. At least for an hour or so. I think of all I can accomplish. My future is limitless.

I can’t believe she’s still asleep.

At 5:05, a sound tears through the gooey peace, shattering it. I feel myself sink down, onto the bottom step…in a mother-shaped heap. The walls are plain and dull. The spell is broken.

I can’t believe she is awake.







With her daughter Evie as her muse, Anna writes about mumhood and all its intersections from mental health to movies, social issues to pop culture. Anna lives in Dublin with her daughter, partner, three younger sisters and parents. She is a dreadful cook, a fair guitar player and thinks caffeine should be given as a yearly vaccine to parents - courtesy of the HSE.

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