I Never “Sleep Trained” My Kids

Photography: HADAS Images | www.hadasimages.com

By Sofie Thomson

Golly gosh, you must think. That woman can’t possibly get any sleep and her poor children must wander the house all night long in desperation; wishing that they had been given the opportunity to learn how to self soothe as babies.

Wrong!

In fact I’m just now lying in the dark, making the most of their sleepy snuggles and the peaceful silence filling the room. The rest of the night will be quiet and I wont hear from them again until it’s time for the morning rush.

As a child, I vividly remember trying to soothe myself to sleep. I remember tucking the blankets in around me and taking care to not expose a single part of my body. For some reason having my feet uncovered worried me the most.

I tucked the blankets right around my head, leaving only my face exposed. I remember looking at the shadows and convincing myself that under my bed was a terrifying creature waiting to pounce on any body part I had not successfully covered.

I considered my blankets some kind of shield; an armour.

I wasn’t raised in a household where I was left to cry, it was however expected of me to fall asleep on my own from a relatively young age.

When I was about the same age as my daughter is, I remember having terrible nightmares and I remember how scared I would be waking up in a dark room. I remember my heartbeat pounding as I would rush down the stairs to my parents bedroom, where my mother would lift up her blanket and let me cuddle in to her. The bed was warm and cosy and I felt safe.

I remember my heartbeat pounding as I would rush down the stairs to my parents bedroom, where my mother would lift up her blanket and let me cuddle in to her. The bed was warm and cosy and I felt safe.

When my daughter was born I never even considered having her in my bed. The idea frightened me.

After two weeks of exhaustion and a hysteric baby, I decided that the only place my daughter belonged was in bed with me, snuggled in to my chest breathing deeply and contented.

My son however had other ideas and preferred his own bed from the day he was born. Although I missed the nighttime snuggles, I felt strongly that I had to respect his individuality and his wishes.

When I come across mothers who desperately ask for advice about getting children to sleep in their own beds, I always wonder if they are asking because of the societal pressure to not share a bed with their babies rather than what they want to do themselves.

To me the concept of not happily sharing a bed with my children is alien, probably as alien as it is to those who parent differently than I do and want their bed for adults exclusively. They likely can’t understand how I am OK with being manhandled by two tiny humans most of my nights.

The only thing I knew as a new mother was that I never wanted my children to go to sleep feeling frightened or lonely. I never wanted them to feel as though they needed to protect themselves with blankets.

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