I enjoy sharing my personal struggles and triumphs with others when they are relevant and helpful. A recent struggle (and triumph) as a new mom that I went through was sleep training. Eww... that's the first comment I have to make about sleep training. It's awful. Maybe not for everyone, but it was awful for me. I tried to put on my hats of behaviorist and mother at the same time, and I really struggled. I came out of it alive (and so did my daughter... thank God!).
I am going to be brief about the actual sleep training and focus instead on the lessons I learned as a parent, therapist and human being.
- What you know to be true doesn't always "feel right".
- What feels right isn't always what is best for you.
- Doing what is best for you in that moment can be a very emotionally painful experience.
Sleep training was so hard for me as a mother. We tried so many methods and there were so many times when I wanted to quit (and my daughter wanted to quit every step of the way), but despite my heart pulling me towards quitting, I rehearsed mindful affirmations that I made up for myself specific to this situation because I knew that it was best for our family. It may not have felt that way, but I knew it to be true.
Throughout this experience, I was mindful of the difference between my emotional and rational minds. I realized early on that if I had not been mindful of that, it would have been a much more difficult experience for me, and the outcome may have been completely different.
Now, my daughter sleeps peacefully in her crib, I am enjoying significantly more sleep and more time with my husband and I had many opportunities to practice mindfulness skills during my family's sleep training adventure. I truly believe that we are all happier and healthier and I am thankful that I am living mindfully.