She sits on the floor of the supermarket. The one that never closes, never opens- 24/7 service like the tremors in her body. She is in the cereal aisle, cross legged on the floor with the 3:00am wailing of a baby battling colic and neglect in equal measure. The tannoys above make their colleague announcements as the beeping of the till points fade into the distance. Tony Tiger jumps off the Cornflakes box, squats gently in front of her and asks her why she can’t face her newborn.

She mouths her silent response at him. A traumatic labour filled with hallucinations of monsters long buried. Sleeplessness stitching one exhausting sunrise to the next. Body burning, leaking, heavy, worn and alien. Nowhere to run. Baby with colic. Baby with tongue tie. Baby with milk allergy. Baby with jaundice. Baby not responding to newborn hearing test.

Visitors flood the house. “Are you bottle feeding or breast?” “Are you swaddling?” “Are you co-sleeping?” “How hot do you keep the room?” “Are you cooking fresh meals?” “Is your bedding organic cotton?” “Has the midwife discharged you?” “Have you been taking your vitamins?” “Are you getting daddy involved too?” “Are you hearing this? Your baby is screaming.”

“How long do you leave your baby to scream?” Tony asks, his paw gently resting on her knee. She mouths back at him, “Until he exhausts himself” she says before she asks, “And how long have you lived on the cereal box?”

Tony blushes in response, rarely do people show such interest in him. “Aw, it was 1952, Miss. Jack Tolzien, an art director, designed me as the official Kelloggs mascot. I started out on four legs ma’am, but you’ll see today I have a muscular human-like structure and generally walk on two feet. I’m not what I used to be”. She clings on to his furry arm, “Me too Tony, me too, me too. I’m not what I used to be” she mouths a silent howl as the sirens and stretchers carry her away.