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I finally did something this week that I’ve been thinking about for months.
Something that I’ve mulled over, debated in silence and out loud, and waffled back and forth on too many times to count.
Something that if I am being honest, has made me feel embarrassed and even a bit ashamed for even considering it.
I hired a sleep consultant.
Raleigh is almost 11 months old now and he sleeps almost as bad as he did as a newborn.
He wakes up 2-4 times a night to feed, and will not go back to sleep without my help. Instead, he will stand up in his crib and bawl until I finally give in and go nurse him.
I’ve read sleep books and researched online until my eyes crossed. I’ve sought counsel from our pediatrician as well as countless friends who have gone before me.
And yet, we are still struggling.
I am tired.
I am weary.
I spend way too much time on my phone and staring at my TV during the day because I simply don’t have enough energy to do anything else.
Every morning when Raleigh naps, Remy and I take a nap too. And every time Raleigh wakes up, a wave of frustration washes over me and I think, “NO, please sleep longer. I don’t want to get up yet!”
I know it doesn’t have to be this way.
It SHOULDN’T be this way. Not at 11 months old.
And yet, here’s the kicker: every time I have thought or talked about hiring a sleep consultant to help us figure this out, I have felt a sense of shame wash over me.
I somehow got the idea in my head, both from myself and from the reaction of others around me, that sleep is something I should be able to figure out and help Raleigh do on my own. I shouldn’t have to pay for help.
I read the book, so I should be able to solve our issues right? Easy!
Where did the shame come from?
I honestly don’t know why this shame has settled into my mind.
I read a fantastic book about breastfeeding before Raleigh was born. Matt and I went to the breastfeeding class offered at our hospital. I talked extensively with my sister about her experiences nursing my niece, and I’ve got a nursing degree with experience interning on the birth floor. I am no stranger to breastfeeding.
And yet, after Raleigh was born, we struggled tremendously with breastfeeding.
I went to the amazing lactation consultant at our hospital three times in the first month of Raleigh’s life.
Granted, I didn’t physically have to pay by handing over my credit card for those visits, but we paid thousands to meet our deductible, so yeah, we did pay for those visits.
And I had no guilt whatsoever about needing to seek counsel from the lactation consultant.
I felt frustrated, disappointed and a little ashamed that Raleigh and I weren’t doing great with nursing, but I didn’t feel embarrassed about seeking help for our issues. I just wanted to SOLVE our issues!
What is different about sleep?
Why would I feel ok about going to a lactation consultant but reject the idea of hiring a sleep consultant?
That way of thinking is stupid and silly.
Just because I read a book about sleep does not make me an expert; exactly how reading a book on breastfeeding didn’t make me an expert at it. It was a fantastic book but I still needed help. I still needed guidance. Someone to listen and offer suggestions.
Hiring a Sleep Consultant
And so, with gratitude that there are people who feel called to help others navigate the turbulent, messy waters of infant sleep, we embark on our experience with a sleep consultant.
I don’t know what the next few weeks will hold. To be honest, I am anxious and a little fearful. I know full well that our success does not come from the sleep consultant. Our success will ultimately be determined by how well WE follow the plan she helps us create. As I’ve read and heard many times before, consistency is key. And to me, that’s the hard part.
A person can only listen to their baby bawl so much before they want to rip their hair out. Or wear 3 pairs of ear plugs at the same time and sit in the closet eating chocolate.
But, I am praying that God guides us through this process.
I am praying that by me finally releasing any shame or guilt I felt about needing and hiring a sleep consultant, that we might be one step closer to real rest and happier, more intentional days.
All I know is that motherhood is too precious and these days are too short to repeatedly spend them in a sleepless fog, zoned out on the couch watching my DVR shows while Raleigh tears the house apart, because I’m simply too tired to do anything different.
That is not how I want to spend our days together.
So now, we try something new.
Pray for us!
Hopefully I’ll have good news to report soon.