In the last week, my little one's night time sleep schedule took a dive. She started waking up 3-4 times a night instead of her normal 1-2. After just a few days I was feeling strung out and like I was doing something wrong. I had read the articles and skimmed the books. At this age, a baby should be sleeping through the night. A baby should be able to soothe themselves to sleep...I felt like I was failing. And I would find myself at night getting frustrated with her, but more often than not, frustrated with myself.
After some internet research, looking for support I happened on an article that suggested that this could all be normal. Some babies don't sleep through the night just yet. And was she teething? Yes. Had we just started solid foods not to long ago? Yes. These things could also be impacting her sleep and I hadn't really thought about it. I just thought I was failing as a mom. Sound familiar?
Motherhood has been full of countless moments like this for me. Moments where based on some article, or some book, or someone else's kid I feel like I'm not doing something correctly. I second guess, I judge myself, I get frustrated and feel like a failure (especially when I'm sleep deprived!). I thought after the initial newborn period of figuring it all out, that I'd feel more together, but if anything I often feel even more of a mess.
One of my favorite teachers Thich Naht Hanh says:
"There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way."
I'm not going to wake up one day and have it all figured out, have it all together, but what I can do is be present and enjoy myself amidst the chaos and the mess. Instead of worrying about whether my little girl should be sleeping through the night, I can be present with her in those sleepy wakeful moments of the night as she nurses. In these sweet moments, if I'm present, we get to cuddle and be together in the stillness of the night and the early morning. I've watched beautiful crescent moons through the window, and the first pinks of sunrise in the mornings all because I have been with her. And in the grand scheme of things, this period of her life is so achingly short, and I can imagine that when she's 16 and telling me I'm the worst mom ever, I'll be wishing for another sleepless night with her.
So, I can choose to worry that I haven't figured it all out, that I don't have it all together, or I can accept it knowing that in that acceptance I can make way for more happiness and joy by being present. It means I'll still be rocking that vomit splattered shirt, unbrushed teeth and messy bun, but I'll be a lot happier in the process.
Wondering how to start practicing that presence? Try some of our meditations for stress relief and anxiety or calm your body with our postpartum yoga practices.
Wisdom and insight with a dash of humor to help guide you on your journey through motherhood.