The Darkness Before The Dawn

I love the sound of birdsong at 4am.

No, truthfully I do.

For the third night in a row I am seeing and hearing dawn, after really arduous nights, and it is amazing.

In fact amazing doesn’t do it justice at all. You can’t truly describe the colours and feelings of a dawn (well I can’t because it is something that encompasses all of the senses, even when you thought said senses were numbed from the torture of a crying teething baby!).

Yes, morning can feel like so many things, but to me it can often bring about a sense of relief.

Night time is not often a time to look forward to when you’re pregnant or a new mum. Time becomes slowed, and a crying baby or constant cumbersome turning to try and get comfortable when you have a huge bump can leave you more exhausted than when you clambered in to bed. The feeling of loneliness as you imagine everyone else that you know sleeping soundly, and anger that you will be facing yet another long night coping are sometimes overwhelming.

The dark bits of the night are no stranger to me. When I had M.E. I was pretty much nocturnal for a number of years, and the hours spent in a depressed, aching, frustrated state, unable to get comfortable (even the lightest of clothes or sheets would feel like an attack on my skin) and hearing every drip of a tap (my heightened senses constantly on full alert from incorrectly overestimated adrenaline) were not dissimilar to the past 12 months of pregnancy and the start of motherhood.

I never expected nights with a baby to be easy. Possibly, because I am an older mum at 38 and have many years’ experience of friends and their despairing stories, or the fact that I simply know that a baby is a baby, all are individual and cannot be expected to sleep for hours (my poor mum, I was the same). I wouldn’t even say that it is hard (that goes without saying), but it is something that you’ve made the choice to do, and realistically, partners (if you have one) just don’t get HOW exhausting even one night spent as a pregnant woman or sleep deprived mum can be. So, upsetting to the nth degree that it is, you are often very alone in the dark in the night and that can feel incredibly bleak.

I’ve always marvelled how if you wake up in the night and the wind is howling that it always seems much more frantic and powerful and stirs the emotions more than the same gusts and billows experienced during the daylight hours, which can often be exciting or exhilarating. I’m coming to think the same about my night and daytime experiences of motherhood.

In the darkness, minutes can seem like hours, and when you’re frazzled and haven’t had more than an hours’ uninterrupted sleep in months, it is very hard to think rationally and positively.

At these moments I try to think of how it would feel if the same thing was happening in the endless moment of a calm dawn.

Imagine it now, your most treasured memory of a perfect dawn.

Take a deep breath in and feel the fresh air stream in through your nose and down to fill the deepest parts of your lungs.

Envision the warm dawn hues, soft pinks, peaches, powder puff blues, soaking in to the tissues of your body, filling you with a feeling of contentment and excitement. That same feeling you get when you’re on holiday and wake up every day just knowing that it will be warm and sunny.


Feel your shoulders relax as you breathe out, allowing the tension to ebb away from your neck.

Imagine the birdsong. All those little birds heralding a fresh start, trilling and singing to their heart’s content. A cacophony of joyousness!


You might even want to make this even more powerful by imagining all of the above to your favourite soundtrack. I personally like ‘The Sun Rising’ by the Beloved.

It’s hard to feel quite so pessimistic when you’ve filled yourself with the light and joy of a calm dawn moment.

You can do a quick visualisation at any moment to bring your dark moments in to light. If you’ve never tried, I can wholeheartedly recommend it. Visualisations have been immensely beneficial to me throughout my ‘M.E.years’. I will add some links in the near future to the ‘Useful Things’ section.

Have a great day/night!


Postnatal Exercise in Devon


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