Wednesday, October 19, 2011

No Solicitation Here

Motherhood comes with a lot of unsolicited advice. It starts the moment you tell people you are pregnant. People suddenly feel the need to remind you that you can't drink or eat sushi or ride a wave runner or jump on a trampoline (seriously, nine months without a trampoline is just too much to ask...). 

Then, as soon as your belly protrudes enough that you have obviously not just eaten a large lunch, complete strangers join in. A server at a restaurant asked me to turn around when I was only 18 weeks pregnant because she said she had a gift of predicting the baby's sex from my body shape from behind. Not kidding. A few weeks before I had C, a woman behind me in the Target check out line told me I must be having a girl because she looked like me when she was pregnant with her daughter. Random people at the grocery store would comment on the food in my cart. One of the managers of a band I had booked at my job proceeded to discuss how important breast feeding was and asked me if I planned on doing so. And one of my favorites: while buying (an obscene amount of) beer and wine at Costco for our Christmas party, the check out lady actually asked, "this isn't for you, is it?" I only wished at that moment that I was buying a carton of cigarettes as well.

My point is, even before there is a baby, there is much much advice on how said baby should be raised. But once the baby is actually here, it only gets worse. Should she sleep on her back or stomach? Breastfeed or formula? When to introduce solids? Rice cereal in the bottle? Homemade food or not? Organic or not? Soy or dairy? Stroller or sling? Cradle vs. crib vs. family bed? Pacis? Tv? Daycare vs. stay at home? To sleep train or not to sleep train? O.M.G. It is exhausting.

Card my parents sent shortly after C was born

As if raising a tiny human were not stressful enough, you begin to consider all of this unsolicited advice and second guess your instincts because quite frankly, you're exhausted and pretty sure your brain's deductive reasoning skills shut down months ago.  I guess I open myself up to it as I throw a blog about my parenting decisions out into cyberspace for all to judge enjoy. And as in most circumstances, some advice is helpful and others not so much. But it's what you do with the advice that's important. It's about learning to take all the books and articles and advice from family, friends, and complete strangers, lump it all together, and go with your mommy gut (not to be confused with the 6 pounds that linger at the midsection). 

I have really been struggling with C's sleeping situation. It seemed I was fighting a losing battle. I felt like I was somehow failing as a mom and my lack of sleep was wearing on me physically and emotionally. And even though I knew that sleep training could end all of it, my gut just wouldn't let me do it all. My heart couldn't take letting her "cry it out." I have nothing against those who have gone before me and conquered. If anything, I am impressed. Sleep training is not for the weak. Instead, I took a few notes from the method (earlier bed time, routine naps, using sleep cues) and added in a few theories of my own. And, as I type this, we are on the third night of a normal 11-12 hour sleep stretch. Who knows if it will stick, but I have to give myself a little pat on the back on this one. I am so proud of my sweet girl for learning to soothe herself back to sleep; and I am so proud of myself for helping her do so without feeling like I was abandoning her. Maybe one day I will be able to sleep though the night without sneaking into her room to make sure she is still breathing.

Motherhood is no joke. It is wonderful, all encompassing, challenging, frustrating, amazing, exhausting, and so much fun, all at the same time. But, if you can't cut yourself a little slack and trust your own instincts (and vent to your other mommy girlfriends once in a while), you will absolutely lose it. Of this I am certain.


1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you figured it out YOUR way! Good for you!