I’ve had this entry sitting in my documents file for almost 2 years now but wasn’t sure if I should share it. It’s not exactly a pretty picture and I hate showing the uglier sides of myself, but today I came across it and re-read it, and I’ve decided that YES, this needs to be out there. This needs to be said because somewhere out there is a new mother who is overwhelmed by other people telling her she needs to just put the baby in the bassinet and she’s getting NO sleep and she feels guilty for the times she ignores the “advice” and falls asleep with baby in the bed with her. So this post is for those mamas who think that they are horrible human beings because the “sleep training” isn’t working and they are at the brink of madness trying to get their child to sleep on their own. This is for the mamas who want to co-sleep, but continue to have opposition from their support people.
I’m sharing this to tell you all it’s OK. This night was my breaking point. I had tried up until that point to do what everyone else said was best for my son, even knowing that he just wanted and needed the comfort of my arms to fall asleep and stay asleep. Now, at almost 2 years old, he still reaches for me. He still likes to wrap his little arms around mine. He feels safer and more secure in my arms. I’m able to slip away and join my husband in the living room to watch a few hours of TV or join him in the bedroom, or just enjoy a few moments to myself to write or play video games. It wasn’t always this way; there were nights when I was trapped in the bed with nothing but my Nintendo DS, a pokemon game, and my tablet for reading and watching movies on YouTube. But it gets easier, and I no longer have nights like this, where I’m fighting with my son to sleep on his own. Some nights he rolls away from me and I get more space, other nights he’s practically sleeping on top of me like he did as a baby. I’m at least getting sleep though; maybe not as much as if I’d sleep trained him, but I’m confident that I made the right decision after looking back on what that night was like for me physically as well as emotionally.
This took place the summer that my son turned 2 months old…
Baby is hungry again. No problem, I’m fine with staying up a bit longer. Husband is going to bed. He’ll get a few hours to himself and I get a few quiet hours to read blog posts on my laptop. Baby will eat and fall asleep, and Mommy gets time to herself without Daddy interrupting her thoughts. It’s win-win for everyone.
Baby isn’t quite ready for a DEEP sleep yet. No problem. Mommy is enjoying her computer time, even while rocking Baby in her arms to try to get him to sleep.
Baby appears to be asleep now. Tiptoe to bed, carefully lie Baby down in bassinet. No, don’t fuss, it’s okay…go back to sleep…good. False alarm. Drift off to sleep.
No, please go back to sleep. You’ve been fed and changed. You’re fine. It’s bedtime. Oh shit, you’re getting louder. No. Don’t wake Daddy. Okay, fine, nurse some more. No, don’t get mad. Stop fussing. Mommy is holding you, it’s okay. Shhh…that’s right…you’re calm…yes, go back to sleep.
You have to be kidding me! Seriously why the fuck won’t you stay asleep? I just fed you. No, you don’t want the breast? Well don’t pull off it like that! Oh great, now milk is spraying everywhere. Well you’re the one that got it going and then pulled off. What did you expect? Yeah, you’re pissed it sprayed you in the face? How do you think I feel? Where is that towel? I hope it’s not all over my blanket and pillow like last time. I just washed these sheets.
Fine, I give up. I’ll go to your room, rock you in the chair. What’s that, Husband? YOU want ME to calm down? YOU’LL take him? And do what? No. You go back to sleep. After all, you need your rest. YOU have a job. I just stay home.
You win, kid. Mommy is up now. Happy?
Please stop crying! God, I can’t do this. I’m going to lose my fucking mind. WHY won’t you sleep? Why do you keep fussing? Oh god damn it! STOP unlatching! Ow, not so rough. My nipple can’t take this abuse anymore. You’re done; I’m cutting you off right now. You weren’t even drinking anymore. Good, my nipple isn’t damaged. Thank god for small miracles.
I just had a very violent thought of throwing you across the room. At the wall. So I hold you tighter and whisper that I love you.
I’m crying and you won’t stop squirming. My back is killing me as I try to hold on to you. I can’t do this anymore. I’m so frustrated with you right now and if I don’t put you down…
I’m sorry. I’m a horrible mother, I know. Yeah, that floor isn’t comfortable. Sorry for that too, but I had to put you down. Be happy I put you on top of your receiving blanket first. I love you, but you’re driving me insane.
I’m sorry. Shh, don’t cry. I’m holding you. Rocking you. You’re safe. I’m sorry. I…oh, you had to shit your pants NOW? Fine, I’ll change you. But then you had better go the fuck to sleep.
I can’t do this. I can’t fucking deal with you anymore. No, I’m sorry! You’re going to lie in your crib and that’s it! I’ve had it. You’ve broken me. OW! That’s my fucking hair you just grabbed. Oh whatever! Go ahead and cry your little heart out. It’s your own fault. I’m not apologizing for ripping my hair out of your hand. Just go the fuck to sleep!!!!!
I can’t stay mad at you when you look up at me with those eyes. I feel horrible. I’m the worst mother in the world and you’re a beautiful, innocent child. How can I be so upset with you. You just want to be held. Okay, I’m picking you up. Shhh. It’s okay. Don’t cry. Mommy’s sorry. I love you so much and I’m sorry. Okay, we’ll rock in the chair some more. I’m sorry I can’t comfort you more than this. This is all I can do.
Yeah, I know you just spit up all over my arm. It’s cool. I don’t care anymore. Why bother wiping it off? Hell, my boobs are leaking all over me anyway so what’s the difference? I’ll just stare at the wall while you attempt to climb all over me. You’re two months old; you can’t get too far. I wonder if this is how it starts. Maybe I AM depressed already and just can’t see it? I should really consider meeting up with those other moms for support. Oh hell, like I can even find time right now! I just want to sleep. Please…just let me slee–wait a minute. Are you–?
YES! You are asleep! Careful…don’t move too fast. Okay, get the door open…shut it before the cats can get in. Yep, you’re finally out! Okay…get into bed, lean back on the pillows…ahhh.
That’s right. Snuggle on Mommy. Let’s all sleep for at least five hours. Fuck those “well-meaning” relatives! Bed-sharing just WORKS for me and I’ll be damned if I’ll feel guilty. I tried the bassinet and it didn’t work. Besides, if he wakes again I can just put him on my breast.
Oh, you’re hungry again? Okay, here’s the breast. Yep, side-lying and bedsharing totally works…zzzz