Thursday, January 21, 2010
I realize that my post "Just let her cry" left some things unsaid. Quite honestly, I knew that when I wrote it, but I had to write it late at night and was exhausted both physically and from the strain of even writing something so emotional. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to write everything I feel on this issue, but I do have some more to share at this point.It's funny how life works sometimes. Just a couple days after I wrote about CIO ("cry it out"), I had a gut-wrenching conversation with my own mother. We were talking about my teenage brother and his issues, and she ended up launching into her own experience with "sleep training" him as a baby. It was interesting timing, considering she doesn't even know about my blog.To understand the full scope of what my brother went through, you need to know the other trauma he suffered as a baby. His father would beat our mother right in front of him, when he was only an infant. My brother screamed for hours on end every day and night, and the doctors said he had "colic". His wails indicated extreme pain. Later, we were told it was truly just from the traumatic events he witnessed. It lasted til he was about 15 months old (at which point it just started manifesting in a different way). Up until then, he had been used to being rocked and nursed through his misery. At that point, the doctors told my mother that she had to make him go to sleep on his own, without rocking, nursing, or anything of the sort. According to them, she should be able to just set him down in his crib and he should be able to fall asleep by himself. After the hellish 15 months he had been through, he was expected to suddenly change EVERYTHING in a very short period of time. He was still a broken and scared child, and now he was also to be "broken" of his desperate needs for the loving arms he was used to. Our mother worked all day, so now with this "sleep training" he was to be deprived of her presence around the clock. When did she get to be his mother? When did he ever get to feel her arms around him?Anyway, my mom went on about the experience. All of it was strictly laid out by the doctor, and my mother was assured that it was the only way he could become a "healthy sleeper" and she would be doing him a huge favor. He was to be laid down awake in his crib, and she was to walk out of the room. If he cried, she was "allowed" to go in after 5 minutes and pat his back briefly. Lather, rinse, repeat. This went on for FIVE HOURS, with my mother weeping as quietly as possible in a heap outside his door in the times she "couldn't" go be with him. Fast forward a few more nights of the same thing, and he "finally learned". My mother expressed her deep distress in the same sentences that she sang the doctors praises. I said to her "I'm sick just listening to this, I can't imagine living through it" (either as the mother or the child!). She expressed more gratitude toward the doctors.