Persephone: Parent

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Always Questioning Ourselves

on July 5, 2013

I’ve always had this random insomnia where I spend the night completely unable to sleep. No matter how tired, if it’s an insomnia night I will not sleep. For quite a while it would be Sunday night’s – maybe it was work anxiety I hear you ask. Well, I work in a school all year around and only had the insomnia on term time Sundays. When it happened two nights ago (after a night of bad sleep from Elvis coughing and spluttering) I reached the end of my tether. It was so bad, I couldn’t even nap during the day. Sleep was truly alluding me.

So last night my husband and I decided that I really really needed sleep. I thought this would be accomplished by husband coming back into bed – he’s been out as part of the bed sharing, however, I needed his breathing. Elvis, naturally breathes too fast and in my sleepless state I was trying to match my breathing to his therefore having hubby in bed my breathing should become calm and steady. Because it’s suggested that bed sharing should only have one parent in the bed, or a bigger bed hubby declares, we decided to put Elvis in his big boy cot in his nursery against the guidance of sharing rooms for the first six months.

Elvis was never going to last 6 months in his Moses basket because at nearly 8 weeks he’s too big! Well he lasted in there for about an hour after the first mid-night feed when he started making loads of grunty noises that I couldn’t sleep through despite him being in another room. Into bed with us he came because I still needed hubby’s breathing and I put Elvis on his side to secure him to me as we slept with me spooning him on the outer side of the bed.

Through all of this I kept questioning myself. I even broke down hysterically to declare that I was an awful mother.

And why am I an awful mother?

For one, I didn’t play or interact with Elvis all day because I was so tired.

Reason two is that I tried/managed to put a seven week old baby in a separate room.

Number three is that then I bed-shared against medical advice.

Fourth reason is I bed-shared with a duvet partially on me, my baby nearest the edge of the bed and with my baby on his side.

All these things are what I need to do to cope, but it doesn’t stop me questioning it all and my ability to parent. Is it just something that I do, or is it a general parent issue – comparing yourself to others and the ideal?

I feel like I’m not as good a parent as the next who can do everything by the book simply because I’m not following the guidance. In my eyes it somehow makes me less of a person and parent because I need to go off script. Do other mums who put their young babies in the nursery, bed share or sofa sleep do the same? Do you feel imperfect for not following the guidelines and upset at those who can so easily?

Do those perfect mums question themselves just as much? Do they question themselves over other things? Or do they have less energy to interact, to resume normal life as quickly? Do they wonder or feel left out because they don’t know how their baby breathes all night long, because they can’t get to their baby the second he announces he’s hungry?

When I had Elvis sleeping on my tummy his arms would fall around my waist, he was hugging me at five weeks old. He sleeps better and longer in bed with me. And last night as he slept on his side spooned up against me he felt like a real child and not just a baby. That last part makes sense to me.

Maybe medically or professionally I’m imperfect, but to Elvis I’m not no matter how many rules or guidelines I break. That probably won’t stop me questioning myself. I’m pretty sure that nothing will ever stop that.

~ Persephone M

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