Lately I have really been torn between the 'Wait it Out' Sleep method, where we really don't do anything but nurture our baby and meet her needs - however inconvenient they may be and feeling like an utter failure for not following through and succeeding in sleep training. While talking with the social worker, she made me understand one thing - IT IS NOT ABOUT ME!!! Why do I feel like a failure because MY DAUGHTER doesn't fit inside a mold that someone somewhere thought she should? Of course I could do more, structure her day more, let her cry more etc etc and she would eventually 'get it'. But at what cost? Why do I feel like it is my inadequacies that are failing her, and not look at her as an individual with her own quirks that may or may not be responsible for the failed sleep training attempt?
I think mothers do this regarding everything. Feeding, sleeping, potty training. If our kids don't 'get-it' right away, then we feel like failures. However, sometimes the kids' needs need to be looked at and taken into consideration. For example, my neighbour was doing a potty training boot camp last month with her almost 3 year old son. He had a few successful pees in the potty, but many times he would pee his pants just after sitting on the potty every hour. It got to the point where he was refusing the time on the potty and getting very upset at himself and his parents every time he had an accident. After a day and a half, they gave up. He clearly wasn't ready as he couldn't associate the feeling of having to pee with actually peeing. Very hard to potty train if those two things can't be connected. One could blame the parents for not trying harder. Putting him on the potty longer or more often - however when the child resists and is becoming traumatized, it is better to quit and start again when they are ready. She blamed herself and I told her it wasn't her fault - he simply wasn't ready. It isn't as though he will be in diapers forever. Eventually, he will learn to use the washroom like everyone else. It just may take him longer. The same can go for sleep training. Like in all areas of development, babies mature in their ability to sleep. Some say rocking/nursing/bouncing etc are crutches that make it so babies will never sleep on their own. However, diapers can be considered crutches for toilet training. I have many friends who have told me that they remove the diaper because THEIR CHILD has initiated this step to them. Not because they decided their child is able to go without. Each child will learn how to sleep on their own. It may just take some longer than others.
The same theory can be applied to eating. When I was having major issues with supply and breast feeding, I was feeling like a total failure for not producing enough. However, my daughter didn't have the knack of sucking yet, so she wasn't doing her part either. It wasn't all on me.
Parenting is HARD. Because it is so hard, we take everything so seriously and blame ourselves for our child's development (or lack there of). There are A LOT of theories/resources out there (so many that if you are like me, you can drown yourself in information and loose your ability to listen to your gut instinct) and many theories work for many people. However, if your child doesn't fit the mold and the theories aren't working for your family, it isn't your fault. Now that you have a kid, it isn't all about you anymore!
I think for those of us who have gone through IF and loss, parenting and trying to do things 'right' is even harder. We couldn't control getting or staying pregnant, so we want to control our lives with baby. Truth is, baby sets the rules - no matter how hard we try to make it otherwise. Society (family/friends) tend to tell us what to do or make us think we are inadequate. However, evolution gave us instincts for a reason. The best thing I have learned lately, is to listen to your gut. You will know what's best for YOUR BABY. If that's following some plan, great. If it is waiting a while and then trying a plan - wonderful. Whatever works for you! If it isn't working, it isn't a reflection on you as a mom.
Nurshable.com is a blog I've been following about gentle parenting. If you are interested in learning more about the 'wait it out' method of sleep training, or about any other gentle parenting issue, I would highly recommend her blog.