Monday, September 19, 2011

Night Terror and Normality


Last night I lay awake in terror. I couldn’t feel my legs the panic was so strong. Kiki hadn’t woken when she usually woke and I woke two hours after she usually woke and looked at the clock and thought:
Oh god.
She’s dead.
I know this is a common thing to think but it still feels shocking.
As an aside – doesn’t it drive you crazy how things you feel can be ‘justified’ as ‘normal’? Something absolutely terrifying such as thinking your child has died of cot death in the night, when brought up at mothers’ group is met with a chorus of
Normalnormalormal, yes, normal.
It’s not normal. It happened.
And what is normal?
As a further note to the aside, the reasoning/justifying/ of things in general makes me want to scream. Everything is true and random, surely? Even if it happens to lots of people. No?
I have to believe that or I will die. Otherwise we’re all the same, we’re all just animals. What’s the god damned point. I just have to believe in a small amount of magic/uniqueness.
Particularly infuriating encodings which spring to mind are:
At least it wasn’t sudden.
Oh well, she had a good innings.
Anyway - so I lay there in terror – not a sound from the baby monitor. Kiki likes to roll onto her belly in her cot now and all those awful voices saying ‘lies on front, cot death’ echoed in my head. Oh god, she’s dead.
And somewhere inside myself I knew she wasn’t dead but even the thought that the possibility existed that she might die caused my legs to disappear. I knew I could easily rectify the situation by getting up and checking on her. But I couldn’t move for the terror.
Finally I willed myself to standing and crept into her room. She had wriggled right down to the far end of the cot on her side, a piece of my torn striped t-shirt in her tiny fist buried deep in her face. She was still.
From the light of my phone she didn’t seem dead, but she wasn’t moving.
Before my legs gave way under me I held my hand out to her chest, buried deep under the wearable doona thing.
It moved.
A tiny, baby breath.
Relief. And though it was perhaps normal to feel such depths of gut-wrenching fear I tiptoed back to bed and felt I'd lived through something. Of course there was plenty to come. But that didn't stop it being real.

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