Walking Away For The First Time
I rocked her. I bounced her. I offered her more milk. I checked her diaper yet again. I sang every lullaby I could think of. And I was only met with more screaming.
After almost 3 hours of inconsolable crying, my husband finally called it. 'It's not working. You’re just going to have to put her down.”
In my exasperation to calm my almost 3 month old, I hadn’t once thought of just putting her down. How could I just let her keep crying and do nothing?
But clearly my methods weren’t working, so I carried her to her room and laid her in her crib. Defeated, I closed the door behind me, the click of the latch a thousand times louder than any of the screams I’d endured that night. I walked back to our bedroom as my heart shattered into a million pieces. It was all I could do to keep from crying as I crawled into bed next to my husband.
She stopped crying and fell asleep within 5 minutes, but the guilt lasted all night as I contemplated how much emotional trauma I’d caused my child by leaving her in her room all alone and walking away for the first time ever.
My baby woke up for her normal nighttime feeding, then went right back to sleep in our room as usual. And when she woke up in the morning, she flashed me one of her adorable grins and gave me her best snuggles, letting me know that I wasn’t the worst mom in the world after all. She still loved me.
Sometimes as moms, the best thing we can do for our babies is nothing at all. As much as we hate standing by, unable to comfort and soothe our babies, there are times when there is nothing more we can do. The first time you have to make the heart wrenching decision to stop trying to comfort your baby and put her down will feel like the worst experience of your life. But it doesn’t make you a bad mom, and your child will still love you in the morning. It will get a little easier. Just think of it as practice for the rest of her life.