Two mini experiments in peace seeking today.
1. Last night, I went to bed with baby at 8 & slept 3 hours, nursing her a bit after 11. I got up then to blog and play on the computer. And for no good reason, I checked my work email, and read an email that left me stressed because it suggested I should have done more research and need to rethink something I’m doing.
I was having a hard time letting it go. Then I decided I was going to. I decided to focus on all the good things: what I am doing well at work, the emails that are happy or forward-moving, the great things in my life. I put that one email into context, decided to deal with it on Monday, and let it go. And it didn’t disappear immediately, but by mid-morning it had left my mind until I sat down to write this blog.
Our choices about where we focus attention have a big impact on our emotional state and our inner peace.
2. So, back to the sleep thing. As you may have noticed, I’m kind of passionate about responding to children’s needs. And I like to talk with people about this because I think our culture seriously undervalues the importance of being responsive. I responded a day or so ago to a mother posting in a facebook group about sleep questions and offered some thoughts and a link on the dangers of cry it out methods. Some of the responses suggested it works for some families and there is research to support sleep training. I considered what to do next. I’d already thrown in my two cents. Maybe just leave it? But I didn’t really want to. Everything I’ve read indicates that sleep training is unhealthy for babies.
I decided to keep going. Maybe my motivations were mixed: to drive home a point, perhaps? To point out [what I perceived to be] an error in thinking? (I do love to point out mistakes). But I also sincerely was curious what research parents who support sleep training are referring to. If it exists, I want to educate myself on it and understand this sleep issue – which fascinates me – more fully. So I posted a brief reply asking parents to post any pro-training research they knew about. And what do you know, some did.
I am curious to read some of it and think about it more. I can say that the first article I saw – briefly – seemed to miss something as it talks about “sleep problems” but didn’t define what that means or consider, philosophically, why we might define night waking as a “problem” as opposed to a healthy thing for babies to do (reduced SIDS rates, anyone? Not to mention eliciting parental attention for a wide variety of needs) or a typical developmental stage. And while waking babies does seem to correlate with maternal depression, which is a problem and definitely something to take seriously, there are other things that can be done about depression including cosleeping, baby wearing, breast feeding, and others. These might not be possible for some families, but they can help for many.
I’m now hoping for a chance to continue the learning and dialogue. Dialogue across lines like this is hard. I’m a hard-core fundamentalist on a lot of issues and I know I need to learn better how to respect points of view that I … how to say this … don’t respect. Well, a good opportunity for growth and an example of the type of skills that, if developed by more and aggregated, would move us towards world peace. So there’s a motivation to talk calmly about sleep!
Incidentally, I was quite pleased and surprised to discover that I didn’t get postpartum depression. I thought it was highly likely that I would because I’ve been depressed in the past. And I did have a few days shortly after birth where I was feeling very sad and anxious. Fortunately, pulsatilla (homeopathic) worked like magic for that. And yes, I had a period of a month or more where I was incredibly angry and sad about my breastfeeding challenges. But it wasn’t depression, and I did get out of it. I don’t know why things went well for me, but I can say that the things we did with baby – co sleeping, skin to skin contact, breastfeeding, being with her so much – release positive and protective hormones that counteract depression. I believe that helped me. And I know that sometimes, this isn’t enough for some mothers, and I would never recommend judging a mother with depression as it is something that our bodies just do sometimes and mothers need support, not blame. All I’m saying is that I’m grateful I didn’t. And that I’ll do the same things next time if we have another baby and hope for the same results.