I am so tired.
I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in a year a half. Haven’t slept more than four hours straight in over six months.
I’ve been grouchy, fuzzy-headed and generally not myself.
And it’s all because of the little bundle of joy I brought home with me from the hospital six months ago. And she truly is a bundle of joy – like, seriously, how could she be.this.cute. I don’t know, but she is. She is this cute, and she is that bad a sleeper.
She is super-good natured and high-energied, so that even when she’s exhausted she doesn’t get grouchy, she just fusses a bit and rubs her eyes. Her babysitter, experienced chareidi mother of four, says she’s never seen anything like it.
Thank God, baby is happy and healthy.
She just doesn’t sleep.
Maybe I should have sleep-trained her months ago – four months ago, to be exact, when she was two months old, because it was then that I started to develop similarities to Oscar the Grouch. And by sleep-trained I mean made her cry it out. But I had thought she was too young, and so we waited till she was four months. Now she’s six months, and obviously, something has gone awry. She still wakes up 4-6 times a night. (Not to mention my older daughter, my “big” girl, all of one and a half years old, who has also been sporadically not sleeping well.)
The problem is that we’ve been too tired to train the little one. It’s easy (ha – as if crying it out is ever easy) to do it when it’s ten o’clock at night – my husband has not yet gone to sleep so he is able to put her in a portable bassinet in the kitchen, the furthest room from the bedrooms, and let her cry. But try doing that at three in the morning! It is so energy consuming, and most nights, we don’t have the energy.
The other problem is that my heart’s not in it. Hearing your baby cry desperately for you in the middle of the night is heartbreaking. Hearing your baby cry, and cry, and cry is a pain as intense as childbirth. All you want to do is pick her up, but you’ve been taught by society that the baby needs to learn to sleep on her own. Sure there are those who speak out against it, but when those close to you tell you that crying it out is the only way to go, it’s very hard to go against them. Especially when, like me, you are.so.tired.
It’s no surprise to me that a man came up with crying it out – Ferberizing, they call it, after the doctor who came up with it. Ferberizing. It sounds like something you should do with a vacuum cleaner, not something you should do to a baby.
Besides, what does a man know of a mother’s feelings for her baby? A man, even a father, cannot possibly fathom the deep attachment that comes from carrying a baby inside yourself for nine months, going through hell to push it out, nursing, and then – letting the baby cry? Unthinkable.
And yet, I’m on the brink now, of losing it, of losing myself. I have no energy to research or try different methods. I’m at a loss, and I know that cry it out yields results.
My husband said to me that at this stage of my life, as a wife and mother of two kids, I can no longer think of what’s good for me, what’s good for him, what’s good for each one of our daughters – I need to think of what’s good for our family. And I believe this to be true.
And what’s good for our family – any family – is a functional mother, one who has energy and is not one big grump.
So, as many mothers before me and I’m sure many mothers after me, I will let my baby cry. And hopefully, not only will it work, but also, time and sleep will ease the pain from my baby’s cries.