Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Story of a Cycle

The crying started as I walked out of the room. I fought my instinct to turn around. The cries rose as I left and I hurried my steps away.

Photo courtesy firehawk77 from stockxchng

I knew she needed to learn to sleep alone, but she just looked so fragile lying there, all alone. "This is for the best," I whispered, trying to down out the sound of her crying.

I was so tired and many of my friends had told me that this time was so short, I wouldn't regret being there for her. I could never get this time back. But that was true for me, too. I could never have this time back from my life, either.

My mother's words filled mind, "I let you cry as a baby. It was good for you. You needed to learn to self-soothe."

I rushed the rest of the way to my bed, desperate for my husband's arms. I clutched him and fought my tears as I took my mother's advice.

"It will be okay," he whispered, stroking my hair, like he always did when anxiety kept me awake. "She needs to learn to sleep alone. You cried it out and you're fine."

"I can hear her heart breaking," I whimpered. He made comforting sounds and helped me settle down.
 Bedroom Door Knob 2

"What if she's hungry?" I asked.

"She doesn't need food at night. The doctor said so."

"She's lonely," I said.

"She'll be okay," he assured me. "Listen." We listened quietly. "See? She's already asleep." I sighed with relief and feel asleep.

I heard her awake a few times and got up to make sure she was dry and safe, but didn't talk to her or give in to her. I had to have my husband remind me over and over that we were doing the right thing, but finally, I got to sleep for six whole hours--the longest I'd slept since she got here.

In the morning, I walked cheerfully into her room. She looked up at me and rubbed the sleep from her eyes.

"Good morning!" I said, reaching down to help her up. She didn't smile. "Oh, don't look at me like that," I said. "Its good for us both. I need to sleep and you need to learn to sleep on your own," I told her.

"How could you ignore me crying for help like that?" she asked me, her voice quavering.

"The same way you ignored my cries for help when I was a baby," I answered. "I was just following your advice. I know you miss Dad, but he's fine now and you're alone. We can only keep you here for a few days until you're room is ready at the Home. You won't have anyone to sit with you at night there, so you just need to learn independence now."

With that, I left my mother to get herself out of bed and went to pick up my daughter as I heard her wake for the day back in my bed. I thanked heaven that I had never had to go through this with her and that I had ignored all of my mother's admonishments that holding her would spoil her.

I held my daughter close and thanked my friends who comforted me when I needed it, especially my husband. After all, if I couldn't self-soothe at 34 years old, how could I expect my baby to?

This was a work of fiction. None of the events in this story are true (for me). But it's food for thought. After all, what goes around, comes around.

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