It’s 2.35am, I am wide awake, the normal bone deep tiredness retreating into the distance for a confused change. I just went through a bizarre tussle with my 10 month old daughter, leaving me feeling somewhat lacking as a mother.
Basically what has been happening lately that gave rise to me feeling that I am failing as a mum is that bedtime has been mostly a struggle withour baby girl and I. Well, a “more-than-usual” struggle. I honestly don’t know how sleep training would work with a restless sleeper.
From the moment she turned 7 months, she would pull herself to stand in her crib-turned-play-pen and walk around in circles endlessly. So leaving her to sleep on her own in the crib doesn’t work as she will take that as permission to explore and play and perfect her walking skills through the night.
So now, in putting baby to bed, I would go through this long tiring workout juggling between backing her, bringing her down when she keeps wriggling.
To put her to sleep, picture backing a child and bouncing up and down on your heels to rock her to sleep…
If she is still awake an hour later, or as short as it takes for me to physically tire out, I proceed to use my breastmilk to make her fall asleep (yes, I know experts say this is a no-no but what is a fatigued mama gonna do?!)
Any little energy I have at the end of the day is spent putting her to sleep. Sometimes she falls asleep quite easily. But it is nights like this one that leave more of an impression. I had to Whatsapp call my husband in the living room to come bail me out.
I had woken up before 7 this morning with a determined zeal to clean (sweep and mop floors) our entire house in one day (we have a big house). Usually I do portions between two or three days. My mum and her helper had come over today and I used the opportunity to see my plan through.
My husband had come home by 9pm and hadn’t eaten his packed lunch yet so I didn’t want to disturb him till he had eaten dinner. I continued my efforts doggedly despite my aching legs and back and tiredness. At 10.45pm, I had to Whatsapp call him to come bail me out. I had just changed her poopy diapers and he met us splayed out on the bed, she had rolled over playfully on the bed. He picked her up and she docilely laid her head on his shoulder. I looked on in disbelief and felt a brief pang of disappointment at all the effort I had put in, including struggling to keep her head on my shoulder to sleep as part of my list of efforts of sleep routine. I turned off the lamp and lay silently on the messy bed so as not to make any noise.
Fast forward to now, I can’t remember if this is the first time she woke up since hubby put her to bed, but somehow this time she just would not suck and go back to sleep, though this happens a few times since she turned 5 months. I don’t know how this huge sense of frustration and anger came over me and I stood up with her and start forcing her head to rest on my shoulder and angrily hissing at her that its time to sleep. She obviously fought off my efforts and her whimpers woke my husband who normally sleeps through her middle-of-the-night-feedings. I got back into bed and tried giving her the breast to go back to sleep, but she is still awake and I’m feeling angry and frustrated and she is crying out. My husband gave up tossing and turning and just takes her from my arms and she quietens and falls promptly asleep as he rocks her. He keeps on his efforts for like 10 more minutes to ensure she is in deep sleep all the while I am feeling guilty at my anger and frustration and somewhat betrayed by how easily she has been falling asleep with her dad.
My husband lays her down and comes into bed..I reach out for him, he lays on his stomach, head faced away, arm squeezing mine and instantly falls asleep, unaware of the turmoil within me.
Wide awake and disconcerted, I pick up the phone and weirdly try to blog my feelings away to the calm whirring of our standing fan. The me of several years ago would bring out my well worn diary and write and write, trying to sort out my feelings, Literally pouring out my confused feelings till I fall asleep, emptied.
I guess I blow my nose a little bit noisily and our darling super light sleeper is up and standing, clinging to the sides of her cot, whimpering. I take her, bring her to my breast, she instantly falls asleep and all is right with the mother in me. Though I still feel the need to finish this blog. Whereas my thoughts were all jumbled off and I started going off on a tangent, which I erased… my head is cleared and I am able to recount this nights misadventure more clearly…for a fellow nursing mom’s reading pleasure as you chuckle and sympathize along with me.
For now, I will try and resume as much needed rest before she wakes up for her next midnight breastfeed…
Dear nursing mother…or nursing father (as my hubby and some men I know would passionately argue for…)Please would like to hear your stories as well as moments of frustration u felt in your journey into parenthood. Where there certain vivid circumstances that occurred which left u feeling less than or lacking as a parent?
What lessons have you learnt from being a parent?
Sleeping “like a baby” in the wee hours of the morning…and yes, she sleeps most soundly in our bed