disappointment

Here’s another entry in the LMaF Blog Carnival! When you’re done reading mine (if you’re not too depressed), click the link at the bottom to get others’ takes on the theme. This week’s entry is on disappointment.

This is actually pretty timely as I was all ready to write up a post about my disappointment in myself. Pre-Monkey, I was always extremely patient and able to put aside frustration or anger in order to get through a situation. I am surprised and unhappy with how little patience I have lately with my own child. I am not dealing well at all with losing so much sleep. The last week has been exceptionally bad in terms of lack of sleep. I think Monkey is on the verge of a talking breakthrough and is experiencing a major sleep regression. His sleep has never been good (as long-time readers of this blog are aware),  but every now and then, we descend into truly horrendous nighttime conditions. I haven’t had more than 5 hours of interrupted sleep a night for many nights in a row now. Monkey is tired and crabby and tantrum-y. Mama and Mommy are the same. We have been sniping at each other for the last couple of days – yesterday there were tears.

Now, I would NEVER hit or yell at Monkey and try to follow an attached parenting style, but I find that sometimes I’m a little rougher physically or verbally than I feel I would be if I were well-rested. I squeeze him a bit tighter, rock him a bit harder, and/or talk through clenched teeth when he refuses to go to sleep and I am fall-down tired. I know I’m not physically hurting him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it scares him a bit and that just breaks my heart. Whenever it happens, I feel horrible and tell myself, “Never again.” But when it’s 3AM and I’m walking the floor with him for the fifth time that night (or nursing him for the millionth time), I just can’t seem to control myself. I have a lot of help from DW – we switch off and she does a ton. I am just surprised and really upset that my way of dealing with sleep deprivation is to feel rage and want to lash out. That is so not me and it is certainly not the way I want my baby to perceive me. I would be devastated if he ever felt afraid of me. For the record, I have not seen this in him ever, but like I said, I sometimes frighten myself in my reactions so I wouldn’t be surprised if he did feel that I was on the brink of losing control.

I find myself thinking that I may need to do what I have committed myself not to do: sleep training and/or night-weaning. He gets such comfort and is so sweet about nursing that it really hurts me to think about taking it away from him. We both worked so hard for this BFing relationship and he still feels like such a baby. It makes me teary to think of it – I’d really like for him to initiate weaning. I don’t truly believe that is ever going to happen, though.

In terms of sleep training, I just don’t believe in it. I’d never let an adult or older child cry themselves to sleep if I could be of some comfort to him/her, so why would I let my little baby? Since I don’t feel it’s the right thing for our family (and DW agrees), I doubt I’d be successful in even trying it. I think (no, I know) I’d be in that room within 5 minutes of crying. It’s especially difficult to think of when his initial bedtime is generally no big deal. He usually nurses for about 5 minutes, then I walk him around singing for about 10-15 minutes, and he’s out. No crying, no fuss, no upset. It’s the middle of the night and super early wakeups that are the problem. NOTE: I do not condemn others who choose to CIO. Your child, your family, your decision. We all make decisions that we feel are in our family’s best interest and I would never presume to tell someone else how to raise their child.

I feel I should also note that I did (and possibly still do?) have some PPD and am on a low dose of medication. I take half of what I would normally take since I’m still BFing.

Visit the Blog Carnival site for more entries on this theme.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “disappointment

  1. Pingback: 10/10 Blog Carnival: Disappointment « Love Makes a Family Blog Carnival

  2. JDZ

    I get that “go-the-****-to-sleep-rage” feeling too. I know our situation isn’t as extreme as yours but what I deal with sometimes feels so overwhelming I get thoughts/feelings that I’m not proud of. ): Sleep issues are NOT a fun or easy part of parenthood. You’re not alone.

  3. Claire

    This sounds just so painful, my friend.
    I will write that sleep post just for you, but it’s for getting them to go to sleep by themselves – not alone or CIO, but learning to get themselves off to sleep without me nursing her to sleep. Its mostly for when I’m not there – new job, will be working some nights so not always available with the boob!
    My sister recommended T Berry Brazelton’s Touchpoints book – which I still have to get. It talks a lot about these transitions and regressions etc and I think the idea that it helps
    you understand what’s going on for your little
    one. It is written from the pediatricians
    perspective but many parents swear by it and a
    new edition just came out with stuff on sleep in
    it.
    Just also wondering what AD you are on and if you could up the dose. I’m on 60mg Pro.za,c. Which is quite a high dose. I upped it when I wa pregnant as the hormone stuff was making it worse. My shrink was comfortable with that dose and although we don’t know the very long term effects of these drugs, it appears that Isobel doss fine too. Although maybe if I stopped breast feeding her she would go into withdrawal. I hear you on not wanting to stop BF. I really can’t imagine initiating it AT ALL!
    anyway, I wish there were a way you could get more sleep to give you a bit more stability. Is there anyone who can help out so you can nap sometime to catch up? Do you have a babysitter so you and DW can both get a catch up sleep?
    Sorry it’s so hard:(
    Big hugs!

  4. K

    Thanks for sharing this brave post. I have been there and felt exactly the same guilt afterward. In fact, as I read your line about rocking too hard and talking through clenched teeth, I felt as though you’d crept into my house at night and witnessed my darkest parenting secret. Each time I’d reach that point, I’d end up putting E in his crib or handing him off to M (too roughly, I’m sure) before breaking down and sobbing about what a terrible person I was for losing my cool with a baby, promising myself it would never happen again. M would bring him over to me and say “Look, he’s fine. You didn’t do anything to him. He’s completely okay, look at him.” Ugh. Terrible, dark times.

    Getting sleep made all the difference and, in our case, that took a gentle form of sleep training. My mental shift came when I realized that our older toddler wasn’t crying because he needed soothing, he was crying because he didn’t want to go to (or stay in) bed, and we couldn’t rationalize why we were indulging that tantrum any more than we would one over a forbidden toy, an unwanted bath, etc. We never ignored E’s cries, but we would go in briefly, kiss him and tell him we loved him but it was time for sleep, and walk back out. It was amazing how quickly he caught on (I can count the tough nights on one hand) and how much better everything got for ALL of us. It made me realize how sleep deprived HE was too, and then I felt all the more that we were doing the right thing for him, not just ourselves. But we were all ready for that and if you’re not, you’re not. If you never will be, you never will be. I’m not trying to push anything on you at all, just offering a different perspective than the tough-love CIO that dominates so much of the sleep training discourse.

    Thanks again for this post. I’m sure it was a tough one to write but I, for one, am grateful to know I’m not the only person who has felt myself slipping into a place I don’t want to go. Parenting is so tough sometimes, isn’t it?

  5. Sacha

    This is amazingly honest. I have been too aggressive toward my son and it’s such a deeply shameful thing. It’s made me really have to confront who I am and what brought me to this point in my life. I’m working on getting this demon out, but I have already really scared my son, who told me tonight that he is at times scared of me. Then he said “all I want to do is love you, I don’t want to not like you.” I will keep working for my kids, to give them safety. If you know it’s there you can start working on it. For me it’s a deep, deep wound that I am working on healing.

    As for CIO, we did zero sleep training with either kid. Both were crap sleepers. There were times when we were ready to head toward sleep training but somehow we made it. The strange thing is that for those of us who want to let our kids develop sleep without us forcing them, there is so little support. So please know that you’re not alone, sleep deprivation sucks, you will get through this and your kid will figure this out. Finn slept at 2.5 y/o. Yup. TWO AND A HALF. But it was so amazing when it finally came. Just amazing.

  6. Toddlers take buckets of patience and you are getting so little sleep and for so long. What you are trying to do is so hard.
    Each family is different and has to find their own way through sleep challenges. We ended up being part of a sleep research group and got a lot of help. We didn’t do CIO, but some kind of middle process. There was comforting (bum patting, shushing and singing), but she went into her bed awake each night and for each nap. It really helped us and I know how different I felt when I started to get some sleep and it was less work to put her to bed.
    I know he is going to sleep and I know you will find your way through it, but jeepers it is tough. Hugs while you get through this time.

  7. This was so beautiful and honest. We all have moments where we don’t like who we are as parents. All we can do is acknowledge them and keep trying to correct the behavior next time… ((Hugs))

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