You’re my second child, my baby boy. Loving you is terrifying.

Exhaustion blankets me today. We’re working on sleep training you, a concept I’m struggling to follow. Hearing you cry creates anguish filling and consuming me.

Perhaps it’s out of my conscious control. I once read an article in The Atlantic about the biochemical changes that take place in a new mothers brain. The studies of various neurologists found the way a mother reacts to her child directly after birth is correlated with the biochemical reactions taking place in her brain just before and subsequent to birth. The regions of the brain most effected control emotions like anxiety and empathy.

It’s clear a new mother’s brain is chemically altered in order to attain hypersensitivity to her child’s needs. It’s likely this contributes to my anguish when letting you cry. It never lasts too long, I can’t stand it. Instead many times I bounce you until you stop crying, until your eyes close, until you fall asleep.

Bouncing you I notice your eyelashes, so long but straight, just like mine. I fade in and out of conscious thought. It could take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes for you to finally fall asleep. My back hurts as I bounce, bounce, bounce you on the yoga ball I bought on Amazon before I had you, not knowing just how much I’d actually use it. 49, 50, 51, 52, bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce… then through the heavy weight of your eyes closing my fatigued mind assembles a thought.  It whispers, “you’ll miss this one day.” The moments I can provide you a place to rest and know with certainty you’re ok.

Aubrey Cofield