Updated: Jun 20, 2018
Illustration by Carly Kuhn
Ladies-who-Launch book club reader and new mum, Caroline Dellasega, shares her thoughts on Leila Slimani's Lullaby and how reading can help you through those sleepless nights.
The baby is dead.
It only took a few seconds.
It was the nanny. Harrowing words to read having just had a baby. And I’d just taken on a nanny in preparation for my return to work. Cue sleepless nights..
But that’s the joy of reading – challenging your inner thoughts, changing your perceptions of the world and taking you on unexpected journeys. And admittedly, my nights had already been sleepless anyway.
Thanks to the LWL book club over the last few months I have ploughed through numerous titles, ranging from the sci-fi workings of an dystopian apian society to a powerful and very real world narrative of the systemic racism underlying modern Britain. New vocab (apian, oh yeah), new facts and new thoughts have helped keep my mind active, exploring and relevant.
During my baby’s feedings and naptimes, instead of picking up my phone, I picked up my book, grateful to have an alternative to baby-focussed social media and its indeterminate acronyms, #blessed posts and crowdsourced medical opinions. It’s been a delight not knowing what would come next or where it would lead me, calming to have a single and deep narrative in my head that wasn’t just skipping from one update to another, quelling the anxiety of repeatedly checking for something, anything, new.
But most of all, I have enjoyed so many warm sleepy cuddles with my baby after feeding. I took the opportunity to slow down and cherish this time with her - totally present as a mother whilst also allowing myself to be more than just that.
I have also been inspired to join a real-life book group for the first time in my life – having just relocated overseas, it’s been a great way to meet people in my new city. My group is composed of individuals with interesting careers, stories and perspectives from all over the world, people I wouldn’t have normally met day to day but on rare occasions have since spotted out and about – those little collisions fostering a feeling of community. Our first read had us questioning themes of cultural identity, belonging and family, particularly poignant for those living away from ‘home’ and raising third culture kids, belonging nowhere and everywhere.
So, thank you LWL for reigniting my old love of reading and helping me to combine it with my other loves of travel, people and a good glass of wine; I wonder where we’ll be journeying to next!
By Caroline Dellasega