I went to a pediatrician once (not our primary who was on maternity leave) who upon learning that I still rocked our toddler to sleep was aghast.
“You need to put an end to that now,” she told me. Then she proceeded to outline for me the best way to get her to put herself to sleep. I left her office that day feeling GUILTY.
First, she is a pediatrician and maybe she knew better then I, a first time mom. Maybe I was doing this mom “thing” wrong. Maybe I was doing long term harm to my daughter.
Unfortunately for her I didn’t listen or heed her advice because when I went put my precious toddler to bed on her own…I just couldn’t do it.
Then I got angry.
You see what that pediatrician didn’t know is that it took my husband and I two years to have a child and three inseminations. I’m one of the “lucky” ones where the fertility treatments worked. It was possible we would never have another child, because fertility treatments are not guaranteed to work. She could be my first and last child I would ever hold and rock to sleep, why would I force myself to give it up when every cell in my body cried “not yet?” So I didn’t and I am so thankful that I choose to do what my heart told me too (and my husband agreed with) because my toddler one day didn’t want to fall asleep in my arms and just like that transitioned to falling asleep on her own.
I had the joy of holding her until that moment. Now 8 years later, I don’t regret the choice I made and tonight as I rocked my “surprise” 26 month old to sleep I realize even more how following my gut then was the best decision. My days rocking our “baby” are numbered now that she is two. I will enjoy every moment.
Moral of the story?
1. Follow your gut. Not every thing a doctor says needs to be followed. Do your research (please use respected sources…forums don’t count).
2. Fire your doctor if their advice goes against your choices for your children. In my case, I told my pediatrician to never ever send me to that physician again and explained why.
3. Find a physician who tells you the truth and gives you their advice but supports your decisions no matter what you actually choose to do.
4. Don’t let the opinions of others, even good friends and family, guilt you into parenting their way. Even I am guilty of this. I recently told a friend that she needs to stop holding her 7 year old. However, he is her baby and she too is wanting to hang on to these precious moments while she can. I didn’t mean to tell her what to do OR make her feel guilty for it. However, we moms #judge each other all the time. Maybe not intentionally but we do.
4. Stop and soak it in. Some days, suck, let’s be real. Some days the last thing I want to do is see my child’s face for another second. However, on those other days STOP. Watch your child’s face and catch their expressions. Rub their head and feel the texture of their hair in your hand. When they question your sanity tell them you are creating a memory because one day to our utter disbelief and horror it will be over. Rock your babies. Hold their hands. Let them sit on your lap even when they are all arms and legs. Take pictures of their tongues hanging out in artistic concentration. Write their story and yours. This you will never regret.