Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Reflections

Yesterday was a trying day for me.  I think it was actually one of the harder ones I've had in a while, when my daughter was taking her sweet time learning how to nurse.  ;-)  The issue at hand was the aforementioned sleep training that's currently taking place in the Baum household (People keep asking me what I mean by this, I just mean learning to sleep without the swaddle, which has also involved some crying it out.  More on this later.).  For the sake of brevity, I will go into the details of all things sleep training, as well as our results, in a later post - this one is more about how I was feeling.


If you've been following along with us throughout our journey, you'll know that I have a compulsive need to research things to death (remember the stroller?  among other things!).  I've said it before, and I'll say it again: researching things somehow makes me feel more comfortable with my situation, no matter what it is.  Researching all things pregnancy and birth somehow made me feel a little better about what was going to happen, even though I knew there was no way I could possibly ever be fully prepared. I guess it's like a coping mechanism.  The downside to this is, not only am I OCD and a perfectionist, but I sometimes have a tendency to take things way too literally and way too seriously.  It's a problem.


I started doing some reading on the Ferber method, which is the  method we've been using for sleep training (again, more on this later).  I bought the book on Sunday night and started reading because I had a few questions that weren't easily answered on the internet and wanted to make sure I was correctly implementing a few things.  Long story short, by Monday morning I was in quite a state.  I'm sure it was a combination of being tired, feeling guilty for letting Lilly cry, worrying, etc. but I essentially created this huge deal in my head and convinced myself that Lilly was sleeping all wrong according to this book.  It got a little out of control.  There were tears.  


I should tell you that reflecting back over the past few days since we started this (Saturday naps were the first day, it is now Tuesday and - knock on wood - she's got it down pat), sleep training has not been so bad.  I will be the first to admit that I have been spoiled by the fact that she has been sleeping through the night since she was 4 or 5 weeks old, and maybe that's why this whole ordeal has been so hard for me and I've been so down on myself, I'm not really sure.  Letting Lilly cry was obviously the hardest part for me, and the hardest part for her has been getting used to sleeping without her swaddle.  Every night we've done this so far, she's gone to bed as usual without any tears and she's slept for 10-11 hours with only a few early morning disruptions.  She got the hang of it very quickly. As a result, for a few days, her naps have been a little "off," but it was to be expected, because this is something different.  The fact that it's gone so well is also kind of remarkable considering she's fighting off a cold as well.


My Mom called at some point on Monday to ask how Lilly was doing and I burst into tears.  This was right after Dan called to ask if I was okay, because he said I'd seemed frazzled when I spoke with him earlier in the day (to which I responded that I was indeed frazzled as well as questioning my mothering abilities).  Anyway, Mom brought up a good point.  She told me that we've been very lucky so far, and that because I'm a perfectionist and Lilly has made most things (not breastfeeding, at least until she was 3 months old) so easy on us, when something doesn't go perfectly like I envisioned it in my head, I am extra hard on myself about it and then obsess over what I'm doing wrong when in reality both of us are just learning something new.  I think I truly expected her to get the hang of sleeping without her swaddle immediately and without any tears, which is an impossibly high standard considering that's the only thing she's ever known.  When she didn't go to sleep sans swaddle with no tears on the very first try, I was literally beating myself up over what I was doing wrong. I hated that my baby girl was crying, and while I knew deep down that there was nothing wrong and she wasn't hurt, it was still hard to endure crying that seemed unnecessary from a child who is happy a good majority of the time (Please don't misunderstand, I am not saying we never have bad days, I just mean that in general she is a very happy and easygoing baby, and we do realize that we're fortunate.).


So, I guess I'm trying to say that I need to have a little more faith in myself, and trust in my abilities as a mother.  My SIL, Andrea, said it best yesterday when she told me that books are there to use as a guide, but in the end you have to trust your instinct and do what you think is best for your family, and that may not always be exactly what the books tell you to do.  Being a perfectionist by nature sent me into a total tizzy over the past few days, and looking back now I realize that it was such wasted energy.  I need to make a conscious effort to stop being a worry wart over every single teeny little insignificant detail.


Lilly teaches Dan and me something new every day.  Being a parent definitely isn't easy, but it is the most rewarding job I've ever had.  My promise to myself, and my promise to Lilly, is to stop being so hard on us.  I have a healthy, super happy, super beautiful baby who loves me, and we are doing just fine.




Sarah

1 comment:

  1. You are a great parent and there is no doubt about it! You have taught me so many things and I still have 3 months until my little guy is here. Hang in there and have faith in yourself!

    ReplyDelete

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