"Why can't you stand hearing her cry?"
When a sleep consultant asked me this question nearly 2 years ago I started to doubt myself. Was I too sensitive? Was it all my fault?
I told my husband about the conversation I had with the sleep consultant and he simply said "How could you possibly NOT care when your baby girl cries? You love her!" And he was so right. Why wasn’t I able to see this myself?
I was tired and exhausted
I had decided to contact said sleep consultant, because I was exhausted, beyond tired and didn't have any time to myself or for my husband. I only considered working with the sleep consultant, because she was meant to have a gentle approach according to her website. But in the end, she only really recommended reducing the times I nursed my daughter, who had just turned one back then. I tried this, but it had no effect on night waking whatsoever. So I ended up not contacting the sleep coach again. It just didn't feel right nor was it gentle towards my daughter. I’m telling you this, because I know now that there was nothing wrong with me - or my daughter for that matter. She might not be a good sleeper, but that’s nothing unusual. I found comfort in knowing this and I hope you do to. However, if you’re ever I doubt and someone gives you advice about your little one, I want to share something with you that helped me and can help you too.
How do you know what advice you can trust?
I want to share 3 questions with you that you can ask yourself before following any advice about your baby. I came across those questions when reading a blogpost by Pinky McKay, a certified lactation consultant and best-selling baby care author who specialises in gentle parenting styles that honour a mother’s natural instincts to respond to their babies. The questions resonated deeply with me and I hope they will help you to whenever you’re in doubt. So here they are:
Is it safe?
Is it respectful?
Does it feel right?
I'm glad that I trusted my mummy instinct more than the sleep coach
Back then I didn’t know about Pinky McKay or those 3 questions. I just wanted to sleep and couldn’t think clearly. It was a difficult time. I don't regret trying to work with a sleep coach, because it helped me realise how I don’t want to parent my daughter and that I can trust my abilities as a mother.
Deep down I knew that I’m a good mum, but I needed to learn to trust myself and be confident about my parenting choices. I’m in no way perfect and I do make mistakes, but I have learned that that is ok and inevitable.
My daughter is just over 2.5 years old now and is a happy, healthy and clever child. We share a deep connection and understanding for each other. She’s still not a great sleeper at 2.5 years old, but I know now from talking to other mums that this really is not as unusual as I thought it is.
If only I knew back then what I knew now
I also know now that there are things I can do when I’m overly tired and exhausted. I don’t have to push through and sacrifice myself just because I think I *should* have it all together and *should* be able to do everything myself. No!
Sometimes I need help. Sometimes I’m not as calm and patient as I’d like to be. Sometimes I need to put my feet up when I get a chance. Sometimes I need to request time for myself. And that is more than just okay.
And you know what? It’s ok for YOU too! We need to stop telling ourselves otherwise and we need to stop placing expectations on ourselves and our little ones. Trust yourself, mama!
Trust yourself when you feel like holding your little one close rather than forcing them to be more independent. (They will become independent in their own time!) Trust yourself when you feel like you need to rest and take a nap!
Trust your intuition and take care of yourself. And if you’d like some practical tips on how to get anything done when sleep deprivation hits hard, head over HERE . You can also follow me on Facebook or Instagram @cindygrahamschmidt , where I share inspiration as well as tips to help you overcome self-doubt and exhaustion.