A Book to Save Your Sanity
When I had my first Baby, we received so many beautiful, special and thoughtful gifts.
I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity from family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, friends of friends and people I’d met once, or not at all.
Among the gorgeous designer baby wear, keepsake hand painted music box and cashmere knitted booties, there were also practical items… nappy bin, bottle steriliser, vaporiser. A years supply of hand sanitizer.
This gift was bizarre to me for a couple of reasons….
1. I am not a Buddhist. I sometimes practice yoga badly and I think I may have even meditated properly once. I openly kill cockroaches and don’t plan on stopping.
2. My Aunt gave it to me. She is not a Buddhist. She is a Catholic workaholic with NO IDEA what meditation is, how to calm-the-Hell-down or even RELAX A LITTLE FOR GOD’S SAKE. The woman is super highly strung. A little like me at the time. The irony was just too, well, ironic.
Bleh. I declared BFM hippy madness and sniffed with the superiority of one who had never experienced extreme sleep deprivation. I made fun of it often, saying “oh I’ll just check what the Buddhists say about colicky babies. Maybe I can chant ohm shanty ohm and the Baby will go right off to sleep?!”
I flung the book under a lavender scented organic hand tufted patchwork quilt whilst I got on with important tasks like artfully folding cot blankets and hanging the mobile at the perfect height above the crib. Blissfully unaware of the karma about to be bestowed on me…
BFM remained on my bedside table unread for 4 months. As I slowly went mad from my delightful bundle of refluxy colicky joy that did. Not. Sleep. A. Wink.
Now, I am not a spiritual person, but I like to think I am an open person. At this point I would have openly begged Allah to spirit me away and for God’s sake PLEASE GET THIS KID TO SLEEP. Glory be on high, Amen and Peace be to all. I read all the poisonous Baby Sleep Books and tried all their prescribed “techniques”. I considered Hail-ing Mary. I chanted on more than one occasion.
Needless to say nothing worked. We both still cried alot. We both still didn’t sleep.
Then BFM fell on the floor. It opened on page 43 and the passage entitled “Nothing Lasts” leapt out at me. A passage that so perfectly and aptly encapsulated my life right at that moment. And instantly calmed my breathing to a normal pace. The world stopped swirling about me like a demonic nightmare. And I felt… um what was that? Oh yes, peaceful. Calm even. Like, I could actually DO this. For the first time in months, I got a grip. It didn’t help my Baby sleep, but it certainly helped me cope alot better.
It was a salve for my soul and nourished my frazzled nerves.
I continue to be a highly strung neurotic person. I am a highly strung neurotic mother. But I’m working on it. This book helps sometimes. BFM still sits on my bedside table and I flick open to a page whenever I’m feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, frustrated or just over it. Like, oh every. Single. Day.
I only ever read it by randomly opening a page. But like a Magic 8 Ball, a fortune cookie and my Mum; The Page always delivers the nurturing wisdom I need.
Other things that help restore my sanity include: a quick trip to the Day Spa, maxing out the credit card, retail therapy, drinking a bottle of wine, laughing with girlfriends, a sweaty run to loud music, downward facing dogs, whingeing to my Mum, counting to ten and deep breaths.
But BFM never fails to stop the frenzy and restore my faith.
How do you calm down?
What was the most bizarre-turned-brilliant Baby Shower gift you received?