About Me

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I live in Kent with my husband, toddler Tilly (henceforth known as Monkey) and another baby due in November. We have two cats, Duncan and Lady Macbeth, and four chickens who kindly lay us eggs daily. We live in the picturesque seaside town of Broadstairs. I enjoy reading, knitting and cooking. I'm trying to be a bit 'greener' (not sure how successfully), and to be a gentle parent. Extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping don't freak me out, we use cloth nappies and try to follow some of the ideals of Attachment Parenting. If that sounds as if I know what I'm doing, I don't! I am also a psychotherapist with an interest in Focusing-oriented therapy, and I have a small private practice in the area.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Should've kept my mouth (or keyboard) shut?

Do you know that horrible feeling when you've sent an email you rather wish you hadn't, and you're sitting waiting for the reply with a sense of dread in your stomach? That's what I'm sitting with tonight. One of the women from my ante-natal class sent an email to the rest of the group saying that she was going to be starting controlled crying with her baby tonight, because she had not been sleeping well. To be honest I was really shocked, she wasn't someone I was expecting to do that kind of thing. In the email she said she felt horrible about it, especially considering her baby was poorly at the moment and was also going to be spending her first night alone in her nursery. She wasn't asking for any advice, but is it fair to say that if someone writes something like that they should expect some sort of feedback? Is there an unwritten rule that we only support and not question one another? So far it has seemed like that. I ummed and ahhed about replying, initially deciding not to, but then I sent a brief reply, quoting what she had written, and asking why, if she was so sure it would be "horrid", was she going to do it? I signed it "With hugs, not judging, just curious", which feels disingenuous because if I am honest with myself I do feel judgmental about it and strongly disagree with controlled crying. But it's not my place to judge another's parenting, she has her own good reasons, and I should have held off. I think.

I guess I'm also struggling again with my own parenting style. Maybe it's easier to condemn someone else's choice than honestly appraise my own? Monkey has been in our bed with me for the last couple of nights. I bought a travel cot because we were staying at my Mum's, but couldn't settle her to sleep in it. I know my Mum thinks that the baby should be in her own bed, and that she should be able to get herself to sleep without being nursed, and for the last week or two I've been a bit swayed by that, I guess thinking that I would get approval if I could 'succeed' in getting her to bed that way. But it didn't feel right taking that comfort away from her, and I couldn't stick with it. I like having our baby in bed with us. She's tiny, she'll grow up far too quickly as it is, and I trust the parents who report that co-sleeping babies develop into confident, secure children who, of their own accord, decide at a time that's right for them that they'd like to sleep in a bed or room of their own. The inner voice questions this. Don't you just like feeling special, knowing that the baby depends on you? Aren't you being selfish? Shouldn't you facilitate night-weaning so that she can soothe and settle herself? There are no easy answers. Just more questions.


arwen_tiw said...

I know that sick feeling of really not being able to keep quiet but being in a total panic that you might have been more hurt than help. (hug)

I also know where you're at feeling like you've done everything wrong and maybe your instincts and research have let you down and maybe it's all going to be impossible to put right.

Hoping that some solidarity will encourage and strengthen you; but also knowing that those are horrible BIG feelings and don't just go away. :(

Clare said...

The amount of times I have done this! You have to think though, maybe your comment will make her question WHY she is doing it...you never know, she might realise that there could be a better solution...


willow81 said...

Clare, I wish it were so, but we all just received an email to say it worked well, the baby slept all night, and after *only* 40 minutes of crying [sigh]. I didn't get a reply to my email :-0

Femin Susan said...


This is amazing!! I am so glad I found your blog!
Welcome to my blog…….

Daisie said...

Blimey, I could have written that post (she typed slowly with one hand as a boy suckled on her lap)!

I too upset people with my thoughts, unintentionally, I often open my mouth just to change feet!! See my 'Big Rant' post from a while ago!

My babies have all co-slept with us, it just soooo nice!

They came out of our bed, off the breast and into knickers a few weeks after they turned 2. Elizabeth and Francesca are lovely, loving, confident, clever children (even if I do say so myself). We have yet to see if Nathaniel will surrender his 'boo-boo' just as easily!!

People do what they do, life would be very dull if we were all the same!


willow81 said...

And now I've just seen a Facebook status update announcing that this person is "glad that the stress of controlled crying seems to be worth it". Er, worth it for whom?

I need to let this go, I'm feeling mad and I'm not sure what it's all about.

nocton4 said...

huge love honey and huge respect for the wonderful, caring mama you are.
Love the banner piccie btw .. so gorgeous .. how do you do the whole banner thing ??

arwen_tiw said...

(hugs Sam)

Mama4, the picture was made using a free program - there's a link and some info in one of the older posts down the screen. :) I admire it every time I come on, it's such a gorgeous picture!

willow81 said...

Mama4, I've left a post on your blog with the instructions! xx

Laura said...

Oh the familiarity! Sometimes it really IS hard to keep quiet, when you know something is about to happen that you don't agree with.

To me, the thought of a young infant screaming for its mothers attention is heart wrenching and turns my stomach quite honestly.

Don't feel bad for giving her your input- despite the fact she clearly didn't listen to it!

People seem to forget that babies are only BABIES for a very short amount of time, why can't they just accept that they need them right now!?

And now Im ranting..... urgh.

We still happily co-sleep with our 18 month old, and I nurse her back to sleep whenever she wake. I dont care, wer'e happy. I know she wont need me like this forever so Im making the most of it! People judge the way we parent Im sure, but I know we are right and our child is happy and secure so :p

Great blog by the way, Im adding to my favourites :)