Monday, June 30, 2014

Reluctant Acceptance

It's been 6 long months. And I mean long. But after talking to another mom who is in a very similar situation with her one year old, and doing some reflecting, and way too much complaining I've come to realize that I would probably be much more peaceful if I worked on just accepting that Agnes doesn't sleep instead of constantly trying to analyze/fix/brainstorm/and change her. It's not my fault. She's not up all night because of something bad that I taught her, or because of something that I failed to teach her. She's not up all night because I've failed. She's up all night because that's just who she is. The end.
But goodness gracious, it's hard. When Tommy was this age, the older he got the longer he slept. It was natural for him. His periods of long sleep just kept increasing in length until he started sleeping all night. We did do a little sleep training to teach him how to fall asleep on his own when he was around 8-10 months or so, and sometimes things were difficult, but now as a toddler he sleeps 12 hours every night with the occasional bad night due to teething, or defiance or goodness knows what. But its rare. But Agnes...oh Agnes. She is something else entirely.
When you have a baby, especially after already having another child, you have these expectations of how things will be, and then...that's not what you end up getting.
I wouldn't trade her, I really really wouldn't. I love her so much, and as silly and cliche as it sounds, I already have trouble remembering what life was like without her. But I am bone tired. We have been up every hour to every two hours all night long for the pat 5 months. I can't believe we've actually made it this long. A friend of mine, whose son just turned one, has had the exact same experience. Only theyve been doing it for a year now.
I finally told Pat yesterday that I was resigning myself to this new reality. I want to convince myself that this is how it will be for the next six months, probably longer, so that I won't go to bed at night hoping that tonight will be the night things get better! I feel like if I set myself up to expect this every night, maybe I will have a little more peace. Maybe I will be a little less selfish when I have to wake up with her. again. Maybe I will start thinking of her instead of thinking of myself. Maybe I will be able to more readily remember that (as this wise friend said) getting up with her at night is an act of selfless love for her.

Parenthood is rarely what you expect it's going to be. And although we live in a culture that wants to treat babies as a commodity, or an accessory to our lives, or completely interchangeable with one another, Agnes is this little...well, person. She is her own person. An individual that I am blessed to spend my days (and nights) with. An individual who is learning how to live with me just as much as I am trying to learn how to live with her. An individual who is going to have to learn how to adjust to my quirks, and shortcomings over the coming years just as much as I am learning to adjust to her, right now. I'm not going to pretend that being a parent means you have to enjoy every single blissful moment you spend with your kids. That's not real. There are a lot of moments (days, weeks, months even) that aren't all that enjoyable. Certainly not blissful. But we sure do love each other. And right now, exhausted as I am, thats enough.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

God love you, Melissa. My second born was the same way, and while his first year was the hardest of my life, he's now my best sleeper. Go figure. I will pray for your little one to figure it out sooner rather than later!