When I became a mother this instinct I never knew I had kicked in. Not just an instinct to be maternal but an instinct to be PERFECT. I want to be the perfect mother, so much that it consumes my thoughts at night. But....I'm too tired to be perfect. I know, parenting is exhausting, babies wake in the night, shit happens and you have to get used to it. I know all of this. And I'm as used to lack of sleep as a person can get. I've spent the last 8 months waking anywhere from 1 to 5 times a night (or more!) and every morning I get up, and make breakfast, and play, and give naps and do laundry, and pick up baskets of toys 50 million times and by the time night hits I'm so tired. So so tired. But I can't sleep because I know that I'll only close my eyes and a little Baby Bear will cry for her mama and I'll have to get up again. Then I'll nurse and snuggle and crawl out of bed so quietly to put her back in her bed and as soon as I close my eyes again it's been two hours and she's crying once more. Basically I'm sleep traumatized.
I admit, not every night is this way. I probably get one night of good sleep (only waking once before 5 AM) a week. The rest...not so good. Finally last night I just kept her in bed with me because I couldn't imagine opening my eyes one more time to get her out of her bed. And she does well when she can have a big comfy bed and a boob at her disposal all night long. If you were to see her sleeping with me you'd smile and "awwww" at us snuggled up like two little peas in a pod.
Only I don't feel snuggled. I feel trapped after about 2 hours of sleep. Baby Bear is wiggly, oh my, and likes to wedge herself up between my arm and my chest, feet propped on my tummy, with her hands planted firmly on my face or breast proclaiming to the world that I am her possession, oh yes, and she loves me so, and look LOOK I can eat all night long if I want! See that! Who needs a binky when there is a mama close by. So it's safe to say that at the end of the night I've been pushed to the edge of the bed (sometimes my bottom is hanging OFF the bed) and my back and neck ache like they did when I was pregnant. YES! It's like she's trying to crawl back into her womb when we sleep together, that's how close she tries to get. So I have a big 18 lb. baby attached to my front side and it is killing me. I love napping with her but all night is just.too.much.
So what do I do? Continue getting up with the hopes that she will figure it out on her own? Let her sleep with us even though I hurt in the morning? Maybe I'll just get used to the pain? Try to rock her back to sleep without nursing and hope she'll stop waking? Or.....do I move her to another room and refuse to pick her up until at least 5 AM? Part of me feels like we will both be happier if she learns to sleep all night without waking. But part of me doubts that she will calm down if I don't pick her up and feed her. And the waking will still happen every night only this time I'll have to go in and try to soothe her without picking her up, or just let her cry, and she'll never get better and I'll still be exhausted and emotionally drained at the same time. SERIOUSLY!
Is it supposed to be this hard to make a decision? I have a wonderful, happy, beautiful, funny baby. A baby who loves to sleep, so long as she can wake to nurse every 2-3 hours. I always thought babies who didn't sleep were difficult babies all the time. She isn't. She's wonderful. High energy yes, but wonderful and happy. I don't want that to change. I need answers. I need help.
Is there a sleep fairy who can come and grant me 3 sleep wishes? I only need one. I wish to be perfect with, or without, sleep.