For as long as I could remember, I have known my love of working with children and families and have always taken pride in a particular phrase I often heard- “you were born to be a mother”. I always knew that I wanted to be a mother someday; and I often thought about the type of parent I would be, about my parenting philosophies, about how I would apply all of the experience I had working with families and other people’s children, and about how I was actually going to raise my child. Well, let me just say that things did not go as expected.
In 2017 I was blessed with the sassiest, most strong-willed baby in the world. In addition, she came just in time- a little over one week after we tore down our spare bedroom completely in order to make it her nursery- (I was hospitalized at the end of 30 weeks, and she came at exactly 32 weeks gestation). Needless to say, things escalated very quickly- I worked hard to stay healthy and keep little Ellen inside of me for as long as possible as Daddy and Grandpa rushed to get flooring, wallpaper, paint, and furniture in her nursery and purchase all the baby essentials before her unannounced appearance. I will never forget the phone conversation I had with a sales associate at Nordstrom to convince him to sell me someone else’s already purchased car seat since mine was on back-order; it worked!
Unfortunately, I found that raising Ellen continued in the same theme- filled with chaos, surprise, and jumping through hoops! It was she who decided when she was going to stop breastfeeding, she who decided what mama will do with her time, and of course- she who decided where and when she will sleep. Yes, I probably should have reached out for a lot of help from family, friends, and professionals such as lactation consultants, but in all honesty I was terrified that something would go wrong.
Finally, after 11 long months of her co-sleeping, then bed-sharing, I decided to take control and become the type of mom I had always wanted to be. This included sleep training her. Again, having her in my bed and having almost one year of horrible sleep habits was definitely not on my list of expectations as a first-time mom. I never thought that I would be able to teach her this skill because I had tried so many different times and failed.
So what was different this time around? How did I make the commitment and do this for her? Honestly, I really had to think about it. I had done so much research, read so many books, chatted on so many different social media forums about sleep training, but I was lacking the motivation because I was not truthful with myself.