I entered Motherhood a big fan of the gentle approach and my little girl slept very well for most of the first year of her life. Then gradually, as she grew, things changed, as I now know they always will, and finally the upheaval of moving house a little after her first birthday did for us all. It’s been a pretty hellish few months around here with regard to sleep as she has lost the ability to self-settle, so bedtime and naptime are very hard, and she often wants to start her day at 4am. I now completely understand why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. I also know what it can do to a marriage. Sleep deprivation has the power to increase marital strife a thousand fold – it fuels the fires of resentment like nothing else.
I’ve spoken with Tresillian several times, and tried almost all the other recommended solutions, to no avail. Tizzie Hall’s Save our Sleep is a controversial method, but desperate times call for desperate measures, as they say. So, since waking at 4am today, I have listened with a breaking heart to almost 5 hours of crying, and I’ve shed a fair few tears of my own. And we haven’t hit bedtime yet! I’ve also dealt with some unkind comments about my methods (why in the hell can’t every mother just live and let live??). However, I have also been overwhelmed by the amount of support I have received from my IRL friends and my online mummy partners in SAHM life. And when I was about to reach absolute breaking point this afternoon, there was a knock at the door. D is a relatively new friend of mine, but she is one of those people that occasionally in life we are lucky enough to find, one with whom we just click, despite differences in years, background and circumstance. She knew today was a monumental struggle for me, especially because to go down this new path of strict routines is against my cherished earlier beliefs, and she wanted to make sure I was ok. As we talked, I managed to rebalance myself and by the time she left I was ready to keep going as planned, with strengthened resolve.
Today has been my hardest day of Motherhood since bringing Miss M home from the hospital. But my most overwhelming feeling right now (apart from exhaustion!) is not resentment or despair, it’s gratitude. I’m so lucky to have women in my life that can and do make the hard times better, as well as sharing the joys. Today especially, I am mindful of that.