26 February 2010

Rain and Ferberization

It is raining today in Manchester. And to many of you that doesn't really come as a surprise. But it is, at least for this winter, an unusual occurrence. There have been so many gloriously sunny days and so much one-day-snow that the normal gloom of the place is nearly non-existent - except for today.

It is cold and wet and I don't even dare dawn my galoshes (wellies that is) and bundle my baby to make the pilgrimage to the post office. I want to stay inside, snuggled up in bed and drinking tea and dozing off occasionally.

The gloomy weather seems fitting today. I feel gloomy. It was a long night and I had to do something I was dead against the last nine months, if not more: letting my sweet baby scream her head of until she fell asleep. Some people call this cry-it-out (CIO), experts call it Ferberization after the man who developed the technique. The two actually differ in that Ferberization is more of a controlled crying with periodical checking and soothing of the baby, whereas pure CIO has parents leave the baby to cry until it falls asleep.

Not unlike my visions of a completely natural childbirth with no pain medication, I also bought into the ideal of never letting baby cry from all those books on Attachment Parenting I gravitate to. But like many ideals one has pre-parenthood (cloth diapers and no TV to be exact), I had to let this one go too.

It was an excruciating hour and a half. I was sweating, crying and could have downed an entire bottle of Bach's Rescue Remedy like a shot of Jagermeister. Yes, it was that bad. The physiology of a mother is amazing and last night is proof of how survival of the species is preserved. It took every ounce of will power not to immediately run into her room, cradle her in my arms and nurse her. But I have to sleep. And since I already prone to martyrdom, I don't need another opportunity to crucify myself for the sake of someone else's well-being. However, this is totally against the biological inclinations of a mother.

Mothers are also creatures of habit, who, must learn to constantly readjust their approach while rearing their children. Just when you think you have it all figured out, your baby makes a complete 180 and you are forced to rethink the way you have done things, sometimes from the beginning. And that is where I stand. I no longer have a newborn who needs to be nursed every two hours. She is growing so quickly and I can't hold back the hands of time. Letting grow means letting go. And it breaks my heart a little every day and a lot on others.

I feel really disappointed, that yet again, I wasn't able to stand by my convictions in the face of practicality. Convenience and ease have eroded my ideals. The cloth diapers were the first thing to go. Disposables are just too damn convenient. Then, the eco disposables made way for the store brand disposables at half the price. Next came the television which was constantly on everywhere we stayed in States for six weeks. And then of course, the jars of baby food which Eva seems to like them better anyway. The one time I did cook up a batch of baby delicacies, she only liked two of six things I toiled over for an entire weekend from some baby food guru's cookbook. Finally, there is the dreaded wipe-bath. Other mothers will know exactly what I am talking about.


Anonymous said...

I'm a few steps behind you, sista. We aren't Ferberizing YET (we're still fighting about me rescuing the baby every four hours and the value of sleep in our respective lives with biting comments about our parenting styles in between the "I love yous") but I know that when I break down all the way, get just tired enough-he'll win and she'll be a-cryin'. It not a question of "if" it's a question of "when". I was a big fan of attachment parenting and now, month five, I think some of the shit is completely crazy. Then when I imagine kid #2 and how much more relaxed I'll be listening to that baby cry it brings me a sense of relaxation. I can see the trajectory of less stress in my future, but someone can't skip ahead on the curve. I hope the UK is treating you well. Eva Sophia is adorable! -Suzanne

Tamagosan said...

Hurray for cutting yourself some slack and realizing that she is going to be just fine by virtue of excellent parenting in general! This type of self-reflection has to be good for you, girl. And taking care of yourself is the best thing for baby! XOXO