It’s been months since I have had to hold my little girl in my arms in order for her to sleep. It actually feels like a distant memory.
You know how it is, when people always ask you those horrid unanswerable questions? ‘When are you going to get married?’, and then ‘when are you having a baby?’, and then after that, ‘when are you having another baby?’. Well I am getting that last question all the time now, and my usual response is something like ‘Please not yet, I am still traumatized from the first one!’.
People are always shocked by my honest response, which usually ends that part of the conversation rather quickly. I know it may seem like a harsh response, but it is unfortunately the ugly truth! My adjustment to motherhood is no better described other than by the word traumatizing, and one of the reasons contributing to that was the fact that I had to hold my baby in my arms all day, every day, so that she could sleep. (And when she wasn’t sleeping, she was crying, in my arms!) After I had spoken out about it, I discovered that it was a rather common occurrence in those first three months of motherhood (yet another thing people don’t often talk about). My reaction to it was traumatizing because I was just not prepared for it.
After 3 months, I told Zieyaad that we (or more like I) could not continue like this and that we needed to find a solution. Our solution was sleep training, (which was very successful), and ever since then, my little girl falls asleep quickly, easily, and on most occasions, on her own. Today however, she really struggled to have her second nap for the day. It was extremely challenging for me because I haven’t experienced this in so long.
We attended her third swimming lesson this morning and it was the most active lesson yet. I can only but assume that she was totally exhausted, causing her to be over-tired. She didn’t want to play, eat or sleep! She was moody and cried for the longest time. (It was totally deja vu!).
I eventually held her in arms, rather tightly and forcefully, and recited to her, which helped her calm down. Snuggle bunny then did the trick and she fell asleep soon thereafter. Problem was that she did not fall into a deep sleep, and any attempt at putting her down startled her awake and which resulted in her crying again (very much like those first three months!). So once again I found myself propped up with pillows, making myself comfortable so that I was able to hold my baby so that she could sleep as long as she needed to.
This time it was completely different though. This time it felt so right. The sound of her breath, the warmth of her body, the smell of her blanket, just about everything about her felt so right. I was completely content and at peace with my motherly duty.
And only now, 6 months later, I can finally say that I agree with all you mommies who told me, at some stage or another, that I should hold my baby as much as I could because soon I was going to miss it. So so so true, because i truly and utterly miss it!
And now I am going to be one of those mommies giving you similar advise. If you too are struggling to get your little one to sleep off the arm, and you find yourself holding your baby all day long, and you find yourself feeling exhausted and tired and irritable at not being able to do the things you are normally able to do for yourself (at your own leisurely time), then this is for you….
These moments that seem absolutely unbearable are only going to last for a few more weeks. Soon it will be a distant memory.
Change your mindset. Toss those predetermined moments out of your head, and embrace the moments you currently find yourself in.
This little person you are holding needs you to hold them when they need to be held, needs you to feed them when they are hungry, needs you to change their nappy when needed and needs you to walk and up down and sway and bounce when they are crying for no particular reason. Their adjustment to life is far more unbearable than your adjustment to motherhood. Embrace these facts.
Find your comfortable position, make sure your pillows are propped up in the correct positions, make sure your snacks are at arm’s length reach (and the tv remote), and embrace these moments.
And most importantly, trust and believe that the Almighty will assist you in helping your little one adjust to this life.
Because before you know it, it will be over, and you will undoubtedly miss them, without you even realizing it.
All my love