Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sleep Problems, a Book Review, & an Ah Ha Moment

Sleep is a problem in our house.  First, Thing 3, now a year old, wakes anywhere from four to six times a night to nurse.  Thing 1 will lay awake until 10 pm waiting for his Melatonin to kick in.   My dear sweet husband often doesn’t fall asleep until 2 am thanks to a crazy work schedule, restless leg issues, and the failure of his Melatonin to do its job.  Finally, Thing 2 wakes frequently with nightmares.  All of their sleep problems become my sleep problems.  Nice.

Out of sheer desperation I recently bought an Ebook titled Ready,Set, Sleep by Malia Jacobson.  It was only $10 so I thought I had nothing to lose buying a self-published book.  I was drawn to the book because of Jacobson’s statement “that parents are regularly given outdated sleep advice laden with value judgments instead of simple, fact-based tactics that work”.  That has certainly been my experience.  She went on to say that sleep science is an emerging field where new discoveries are constantly being made that help us to understand how sleep works. 

I ended up getting a lot from this book.  I loved that there was no let them “cry it out” suggestions or admonitions that my baby is simply trying to “manipulate” me.  Which I absolutely hate!  Instead Jacobson explained how you cannot force a child to sleep you can only create an environment which supports their natural inclination to sleep.  That made a lot of sense to me.  What person doesn’t want to sleep?  It is an essential part of our survival.  Without sleep we would die.  We all get to a point where we are willing to do anything to sleep.  Why wouldn’t this be true for a baby?  Also, I feel like I’ve tried just about everything to make my children sleep and it hasn’t worked.  It has only made me feel like a major parental failure. 

In her book Ready, Set, Sleep Malia gives 50 ways you can support your child’s sleep and she educates you about sleep science along the way.  I walked away with well over $10 worth of things I could try or change in order to help my kids, and even my husband, into better sleep patterns.  Jacobson ends her book by saying if you have tried all of these tips and you have created a great sleeping environment for your child and they are still waking in the middle of the night to eat, then sorry, but your baby needs to wake up and eat.  This one piece of advice gave me some serious peace of mind. 

I realized after reading this book that I’ve fostered a major fallacy in my thinking of my role as a mother.  I am not called as a mother to “make” my boys into three honest, kind, sensitive, God-loving, strong, men.  But rather my calling is to create an environment which supports their natural inclination to be those things.  Who my boys are and who they become is not entirely my responsibility.  They have a part to play as well.  I can only support them and encourage them in the right direction and the rest is up to them.  If this is my calling I cannot fail.  Ah ha!  Thank you Malia Jacobson.
Sweet Dreams!


JanelleO said...

I like that philosophy so much. I still need to hear it and it's nice to hear it from someone else, too. We don't create our children, we co-create with them.

Kristen said...

I love that Janelle! We co-create with them. Such a lovely thought. It's so much easier to swallow than we "make" them into something, which implies forcing them.