CIO is how it is referred to in books, blogs and magazines.
I am ashamed to say, I did this.
For three days.
For 3 long and agonizing days.
It went against every fiber of my being and yet, I did it.
I was advised to do it by my pediatrician, the authority (in my mind, at the time) on all things baby.
I was encouraged to do it to by my mom and my mother in law and I was “supported” to do it by my friends who had or who were doing it themselves.
You see, prior to doing it, I would bathe my baby, usually in the tub with her.
I would pass her out to her dad who would dry her and love on her and put on her pajamas.
While he did that, I would get out of the tub, dry myself off and put my own pajamas on.
The two of us would meet up again, a few minutes later on the couch and I would nurse her to sleep in my arms. I remember this with peace and softness. It was right and I knew it. My baby and I knew it. Next I would slip her quietly into her bed and she would sleep until early in the morning.
At about six months old, I stopped breastfeeding and she was taking a bottle before bed. The routine was the same and things were going well. At this point, she was sleeping later into the morning and we were all feeling pretty much “normal”.
As a few more months passed, that before bed bottle, no longer helped her drift off to sleep. Instead, she would slurp it down and excitedly wiggle around in my arms into an upright position and be ready to PLAY!
It was bedtime, not play time and my fall a sleep “tricks” no longer worked.
That is when I stopped listening to my instincts and started snooping around at what other people did. That’s when I started asking questions and taking advice… that is when the suffering began.
“Let her cry it out”, “you’re spoiling her”, “she’s manipulating you!”
Somehow, I caved.
Somehow, I abandoned my own philosophy and convinced myself that these people knew what was best for us.
I feel sick writing about this.
This is what it looked like…
The bath happened. The pajamas happened. The bottle happened. And then, we kissed our 9 month old baby goodnight, put her in her crib and shut the door.
She cried. Oh I mean she cried her fucking head off. She cried until she threw up that bottle all over those pajamas. And I cried.
I cried my fucking head off. I stood outside our house to keep from rescuing my child from my own stupidity.
We went in. We stripped her bed and put clean bedding on it. We cleaned our daughter and we put new pajamas on her while she gasped for air and began to settle from the fear, anxiety and despair that WE had caused her and then like absolute assholes, we put her back in, to cry some more. Disgusting…
We did this for three nights and for three nights I sat outside to prevent myself from coming to my senses…
Our daughter learned how to go to sleep….
As promised, It “worked”…
To this very day, just shy of 21 years later, it is the most disgusting and devastating pain that I have ever intentionally caused my daughter.
Now that she is an adult and lives outside of our home, there is NOTHING I wouldn’t do to go back in time and stay up all night playing with her and holding her in my arms. Someone wrote in a post recently, “I refuse to believe that 45 minutes of crying one or two nights is going to harm a baby, do long term damage to your attachment relationship, or any of the other awful things people say it will” and she was right. It didn’t cause long term damage to our attachment relationship. Children are resilient, they bounce back. It was devastating but she is seemingly unscathed with the exception of her tremendous fear of being alone in the dark…..
I was damaged as a mom and as a woman. I was advised AND encouraged to abandon my instinct and I did.
And I can assure you… IT HAS NEVER HAPPENED AGAIN!
Authored by: The Rock n' Roll Doula