I’ve been thinking about how important it has been for my state of mind to know that other people have an understanding of some of the same things I’m going through that are so very hard, so this is what’s hard right now for me.
When Darwin was a young infant she regularly nursed to sleep or would fall asleep within 5 minutes with a little walk and/or bouncing. Sometimes (maybe 3 or 4 times) she actually fell asleep while laying on the bed. That miraculous event has not happened since she was around 4 or 5 months old. I tried to foster it, putting her down when she would start to get really slept. But it only takes that not working a couple of times to create a stress response in a sleep deprived parent at the mere thought of the screams that may erupt if the little tyke decides that they’re not actually quite as tired as all that thankyouverymuchnowpickmeup!
There are still nights where she goes to sleep while nursing (few and far between) or after a few minutes of bouncing (a little less few and closer together), but now the majority of our nights are pushing an hour or more before her breathing deepens, steadies, and her feet stop trying to burrow tunnels into my side.
I realized this morning that it has been around a year since I last slept longer than 5 hours consecutively. And I can count the number of times I have slept longer than 4 hours consecutively on one hand. There are moments, after an hour of rocking and bouncing and nursing, constantly stopping her from putting her (long-nailed since she won’t let me cut them currently) fingers up my nose, in my mouth, or in my ears when all I want to do is put her in the (never slept in) pack’n’play and walk away. And there are times when I do, for a few minutes, to gather myself, regroup, and start again.
Bedtime. Bedtime is my hard right now. And it’s okay because I know that Darwin will grow and develop and not need to nurse at night anymore, and some day I will be able to put her to bed and read a story, sing a song and turn on the nightlight and there will be no bouncing or rocking, no nursing or swaddles. There will be other things that are hard and other things that make me glow with pride. Like when she figured out how to sit up on her own last week. Or when she started really crawling. Or when she discovered the joy of blowing raspberries on my belly.
If you feel so moved, I’d love to hear what your hard is right now, and perhaps some of the joys that make it worth it.