I’ve only really had two massive ugly cries since Philippa arrived. I’ve obviously had a few small semi ugly ones but none really that big. But the first big one came on day three after Pip’s birth, when mum walked through the hospital room door and I just lost it and burst into tears. I was so incredibly sore (as one is after squeezing out a watermelon sized baby of ones lady parts..), so tired and also so scared that I was now a mum who was supposed to look after this tiny life in my arms. So when my own mum gave me a hug it made me feel tiny too and he flood works started.
I think having mum here, especially after not seeing her in the flesh for well over a year, made me feel so vulnerable. And that yes I am mother now but I’m also a daughter and I do not have to be strong in front of my own mum, to her I will always be someone she will look after. That cry made me feel so much better and it made me feel that I could do it. That however nervous I was it would all be okay. And for the most part it really has been and I didn’t really have any truly huge cries until Pip stopped “only” waking up three to four times a night.
Hence why the the second ugly cry came flooding out of me like the Niagara fall yesterday. After nights and nights of waking up what felt like every hour and then Pip also refusing her day naps I really felt rather hopeless. It’s been fine to wake up nursing her at night because she’s always gone back to sleep quickly but lately she is hard to put to bed, and when she wakes up she wants to eat but not be put down in her cot next to me again. Instead she wants to sleep with her little face nuzzled into my neck which is incredibly cute but very tiring when that means I don’t get much sleep at all.
I’ve been so proud over how I’ve managed to push through the last five months of sleep deprivation without going completely nuts. I’ve felt reasonably under control and been positive about her day naps even though she’s been a big catnapper. We had gotten so far with the days naps and she was sleeping solidly for two hours at lunch, giving me a little break to get things done. But when she didn’t even want to nap then I really felt so awful. Of course I know she’s a tiny baby who just needs cuddles, and especially so when she’s teething but it hurt me to see her upset and feeling like we had taken a step backwards. But I did what I could, I nursed her, I rocked her and I gave her a million kisses on her squishy cheeks. But I still felt flat as a pancake and she still did not want to sleep.
Not even a second cup of hot coffee helped with perking me up. So when my husband came in for lunch and gave me a hug and told me I was doing amazing my lip started to temple and I gave him Pip, went it to the bedroom and bawled my eyes out. Then I washed my face, came outside and gave my little family a big hug. I felt much better after that cry and it helped me make a plan of attack when it comes to Pip’s sleep. Her waking up and not wanting to nap I can not control, but I can try and keep on offering cuddles and structure. And I can chose how I want to approach this. I’ve basically just decided that for my sanity I truly need to not following the perfect sleep schedule and instead just listen to what feels right in my gut. And my gut tells me that I’m not the person who can handle letting my baby cry. I have many friends who’ve had great success with a bit of controlled crying but it is not for me, at least not right now. Maybe I will regret that later but I will have to take that battle when I get to it. And maybe I won’t have to take it and being a cuddle to sleep mum will be the best thing for us.
The gut feeling really is so strong but I think that as a new mom it’s easy to worry if it’s really telling you the right thing. All babies are different, as are all mums and there’s not a blanket solution to be found for all of us. So, I’m probably going to keep on being sleep deprived for months but I feel so much better about it when I’ve decided to just do us. To let me and Pip work out our own bedtime routine for her and to not ever feel bad about her dozing off in my arms and then going into the cot half asleep. Because honestly, if I don’t get those two hours of me time once she’s sleeping soundly at night and instead spend that whole time sitting next to her while she is unsettled and doesn’t feel safe in her cot then I will go gaga. And right now I rather be a good mum who gets a bit of a rest than one worried about her not being able to self settle.
I can really see how sleep deprivation can be used as a tool of torture and I really think that every single mum, and dad, out there need to find a way that works for them, and for their baby. And who knows? Maybe next week I’ll write a post about how I had to let Pip cry and she now sleeps like a log. Time will tell but I know I feel much more positive after that big cry. Sometimes that’s all it takes to help you see things a little clearer.
Ps! Last night after I went back to cuddle to sleep Pip slept for three and a half hours, ate a a little and then slept for another three and a half. Then she woke up every two and a half hours but that I can handle! Yay for some more sleep!!