To sleep or not to sleep? That is the question… Ah, who am I kidding? If THAT is the “question”, then I think we (mothers) can collectively agree that the answer, is YES. As in, “yes” we would like to sleep, but we are, in fact, not getting as much as we’d like.
Pregnancy is littered with well meaning suggestions to “sleep while you can…,” and then immediately after baby arrives, it changes to “sleep when baby sleeps!” All the mothers in the trenches said, “AHHAHAHAAHAHAAAA ha ha. Ha.” *insert eyeroll* Let’s be honest, while pregnant, we all know sleep became this elusive thing, dictated by heartburn, baby kicks, and the whole “don’t sleep in any of the comfy positions…” rules we have to follow while also managing increasing discomfort all the while dreaming of the day when pregnancy is over and we can sleep however we want! Then our baby arrives, and it feels like he/she is just laughing in the face of those dreams. It SOUNDS like they’re crying, but it sure feels like mockery in the wee hours of the night when you’re taping your eyelids open. For some of us, it may seem like we JUST got this sleep thing figured out with our older children…and now the new baby has thrown all the progress out the window. We are here for you, too.
In the midst of this MASSIVE transition of our lives, we are bombarded with endless rules and suggestions, cautions, instructions, research, and studies on HOW we should be managing our infant’s sleep. And all we want is to sleep… But every possible scenario and solution is tarnished with warnings about all the ways each particular sleep “arrangement” will ruin (or even harm) our baby. Even when we manage to get them to sleep, it seems sleep still eludes us. There are sleep institutes, sleep assessments, sleep books, sleep training methods, sleep styles, and the list goes on and on and on with all things you can purchase to ensure your baby will sleep. We eat it up. And still, often, find ourselves lacking in the sleep department combated with feeling guilty or badly in some way about our current sleeping arrangements. So much so, that many parents lie when asked about how and where their baby sleeps, which makes it that much harder to find people who are going through the same thing as you. When reaching out, asking questions, “challenging the party lines”, leaves you exposed to ridicule, judgement, shame and more frustration, it can be so much easier (or so it seems) to just retreat and keep quiet, maintaining the safety of isolation.
We want to break down those barriers to support. We want you to know that you are not alone. You are not the only one dealing with getting your kids to sleep, while also not sleeping yourself. We want you to know that YOU are the parent, and YOU get to decide what your family unit will look like and how it will function. You get to do it without having your quality of mothering or your “attachment” to your child being challenged.
We hope you’ll join us on Monday, June 18th as we meet up again for the 3rd session of our Normalizing The 4th Trimester group; to discuss the challenges of navigating infant sleep expectations and realities. Hopefully, the camaraderie of other mothers, and support in your own journey will be refreshing to your soul and mind, even if the night was not. We’ll have coffee, just in case. Click here for event details.
Jaqulynn Scott is a Mother of two, a Birth Assistant at Breath of Life, and a Certified Lactation Counselor, offering home visits for lactation and infant feeding support. You can learn more about her here.