2014, bed sharing, bedsharing, breastfeeding, Donna Bruschi, emotions, empathy, exhaustion, fear, home, meltdowns, separation, sleep -


In a continuing discussion about Cry-It-Out...

My mom is a very nice person. She loves me and I love her. Overall, I give her an A in being a mom. Even when I was a teenager, I would have given her at least a C.

I am done blaming my mom for things.

She was young, I was her first baby, she didn't have New Baby New Paltz, La Leche League or the Internet. She had Dr. Spock's book. She had my grandparents who warned her about spoiling me, who recommended "a good spanking" as good parenting, and so on.

So, I am pretty sure she let me cry it out.

I know she left me bowls of Cheerios in my crib, because she told me. I know I held my own bottle in the crib because there's a picture of me doing so. I know that I was terrified in the dark until I had a baby and had to spend a lot of time in the dark with him.

And, I think that as a result of that, I am scared to ask for help.

From my work with adults, parents and babies, I know that one response to crying it out is collapse or giving up. I think that no one will help me if I ask. No matter how much I rationalize to myself, no matter how much proof I have that people are happy to help, I stay silent. I can think of a hundred reasons why they won't help me.

I got used to doing things by myself.

When I had one baby, I could do it. After I had 3 in 3 years, I had to learn to accept help. People just naturally offered when they saw 3 little kids, an overloaded stroller, piles of dishes, loads of laundry, or the exhaustion in my eyes.

I did try crying-it-out with my first.

It didn't work. He didn't stop. I cried too, at first. Then I got angry and felt all kinds of feelings about the unfairness of life. Then when I saw it wasn't accomplishing anything, I dug a little deeper into my patience. I looked at my baby and tried to never let him cry it out again. 

That didn't work so well.

My second pregnancy was twins. Trying to keep them all from crying was like playing wack-a-mole. It was a constant effort to meet their needs and sometimes, it wasn't possible and all three would be crying.

Probably the most relatable example would be when we would be driving in the car.

I took care of the kids during the day and I tried to get all the errands done while my husband worked. We lived 10 minutes from the super market so that wasn't so bad. But one of our doctors was an hour away. One baby would start crying and then another, and then sometimes, the big kid. I would try singing and sometimes that would quiet them. But not always. So they cried while I drove.

Or we would be home and having a bad day.

Illness rips through a family leveling everyone. Sick kids aren't themselves. They don't eat well. They don't sleep well. They are cranky and can pick fights with each other. It is so loud and stressful that many times, I would cry.

My mom (who had three kids, and apparently amnesia) asked more than once how I could stand it when they were all crying. I would said, "This is nothing. I don't think it's bad until I'm crying."

I slept with my kids.

Based on my personal experience and fear of the dark, I slept with my kids. We kept things flexible. They didn't have to sleep with me. I would wake up and go find my husband. I would get up and sleep on the couch, or one of their beds. They would go find their dad in the middle of the night. After they all were inter own beds, we had a trundle bed for rough nights. My husband slept best by himself, or with me, and was happily rested when he got up for work at 6 am.

I avoided the whole go-to-sleep-by-yourself cry-it-out by sleeping with and near my kids. Now they are teens. They don't have night terrors. They sleep well and seem pretty well adjusted in their sleep habits.

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