Last night both of my children fell asleep in my arms, it was actually quite lovely.
The ironic thing is that at the beginning of my Motherhood journey, I felt stuck in the whole “rocking to sleep” situation.
Kiara was an insomniac baby from the get go, she had colic, and would scream for hours on end, I would spend forever getting her to sleep, being lucky if I could get a half hour snooze out of her. I was up with her on average 6 times a night until she was 18mths old.
I would sit up at night, eyes falling out of my head, feeling like an absolute zombie and wondering how much longer this would go on for. I was completely and utterly exhausted.
Kiara’s baby albums tell a completely different story, if I was able to get her to finally fall asleep, after hours of trying, I would be so excited that I would take a photo, as it was so rare, leading to us having many photos of the little insomniac doing the rare form of sleeping.
I read every sleep book I could get my hands on, I tried every technique suggested to me, nothing, and I mean nothing worked.
People would remind me “This wont last forever”, yet it seemed to just go on forever and ever. I went to Doctors and Child Health Nurses, they could not find any underlining problem, and would just suggest I let her “cry it out”, I didn’t want to, but at wit’s end I tried this, resulting in my little baby projectile vomiting and pooing herself in distress.
I even rang a national baby sleep clinic, in tears, just whispering to the lovely lady on the other end of the phone “help me, please”.
I felt completely and utterly inadequate in my role as a Mum, I would cry and cry just not knowing how much more I could take.
Finally, she slept through the night, but it was still taking up to 2 hours a night to get her to go to sleep in the first place.
Within months of Kiara finally succumbing to the joys of sleep, I fell pregnant with her little brother Noah. I read more books on sleep, I worried how I would cope if I got another non sleeper, actually, I was terrified!
Noah was a much better sleeper, although I freaked about rocking him to sleep or holding him for too long in case he got too used to it.
Fast forward, my kids are a lot older now, and it feels like a life time ago that I rocked either of them to sleep, they are still rather young, so sleepless nights come, just not as regular as before.
I wish I had some magic cure to get a baby to sleep, not only so my sanity could have been saved a little earlier, but so I could pass on advice to others with children who are difficult to sleep.
I know how frustrating it is to hear the words “It won’t last forever” when all you want is to sleep, and for that full night of sleep to come NOW!
So it brings me back to now, as we laid on the lounge room floor, cosy on donnas and pillows last night, Noah snuggled into me, and as I drapped my arm around him, he fell into a deep, restful slumber, it was a nice feeling, a real feeling of peace.
Kiara was then over tired and upset and not ready to go to sleep easily when the movie finished. She had got herself all worked up and stressed out. I offered to climb into bed with her and rub her back as she went to sleep, she liked that idea.
While I lay in bed with my little girl who seemed to be a baby only yesterday, yet is off to start school in just over a week, I thought of how far we have come, of the nights that I felt I would never be able to get her to sleep without rocking her in my arms.
I am more experienced now, I can see in hindsight that it really did not last forever, (thank god in that case!), that eventually she slept through the night, no matter how long that took.
As I lay in bed, listening to my little girls breaths get deeper as she too drifted off to sleep in my arms, I thought to myself.
“This too will not last forever”
Before I know it, my little girl wont ever need me to hug her to sleep anymore, or my little boy for that matter.
So now we have come full circle, once when I felt trapped in the sleep time routine, now I take nothing for granted.
I will hug my babies to sleep when I can, I will pat their backs and stroke their heads, because it really is true that
“It won’t last forever”