soothing the wracked baby

I talk to my therapist in a session we arranged at the last minute because she had a cancellation. I feel laid waste to by pain. Terrible pain. Terrible sadness, exhaustion, and restlessness. I want to find a measure of peace. I try to find it in the session (we are close to the end) by play-acting with her. It’s a game I like. I ask her if she would like to go with me places. I run through countries in the world, American states. It soothes. It calms me down. Exploring is for another day. We’ve already explored so much in this arduous session. I’m in so much pain.

In the middle of the session she says, “Children feel this way. They are exhausted but they can’t find a way to get soothed. The mom [I brought up the mom] tries everything, wracks her brain to come up with ideas. She sings to them, gives them milks, touches them, rocks them. Sometimes nothing helps. Sometimes you just have to sit with them.”

I give my therapist something to soothe me with. Talking about trips to this place, this other place. When she doesn’t like the place, she says something funny that gives me a sense it’s not her favorite place to go but if I really wanted to go there she’d go with me. I laugh. It’s the only solace I can get. I engage her with it. She plays along. She accepts that this is how this pain-wracked baby will be soothed. Then time is up. The baby feels a bit better. The inconsolable baby can now sleep.

When I wake up I feel the slow re-entry into despair. Instead of allowing despair to envelop me I hold on to the warmth, the game, the dog lying next to me, the peace I found only a few hours before inside me. I go back there. I go back to a place of comfort. It works. Awakening is not disastrous. I am doing this. I can do this.