Meet Me Where I Am - Sleep

What do you need?”

These words echoed in my ears.

What did I need?  I had no response to offer…my exhausted brain had no words to answer that question.  I sat, cradling my baby girl in my arms, simply unable to articulate what I needed so very badly in that moment.

I have an answer now.

And maybe, just maybe, you can use this answer too…when you are faced with the question: what do you need?

I need you to meet me where I am.

I need you to offer me a hug and a hand to hold when I cry tears of exhaustion…instead of telling me that my baby’s sleep needs fixing.

Just meet me where I am.

In this world of fast-paced ‘fixing’, it is so easy to want to change something that doesn’t come easily.  It is so easy to mutter those nullifying words…“don’t cry!”…and to get on with getting on with it.

But what if we acknowledged the emotion?

What if we accepted the feeling?

What if we held the space and allowed it to wash right over us, peacefully?

Because telling a tired mother that her baby’s night-wakings are somehow wrong, is quite simply messed up.  To then assign blame…my head hurts just thinking about it.

I remember uttering the desperate words, “but I’m so tired!” when I was in the midst of newborn fogginess and the response waiting for me was less than supportive…

Well it’s your choice to do it this way!  You can always just leave her to cry.

These words could have broken me right there and then.  Don’t get me wrong, they almost did.  My choice…my choice to do right by my child and meet her needs…I’d call that my responsibility, no?

So instead of making me change my game plan, these cutting words actually just cemented it.  I became Sleep Mom overnight…I acknowledged my exhaustion and I accepted my fate.  I held the space for tiredness and over time…yes, over lots of time…it washed right over me, peacefully.
I hear you, I really do…this tiredness hurts.  It wraps its arms around you and squeezes every drop of energy from your very bones.

I feel it too.

But instead of attempting to do the impossible in changing our babies’ sleep…instead of looking for a one-size-fits-all fast-paced quick-fix…there are other ways.

These ways are less lucrative than the ways promoted over at Mainstream Central, so they are kept quiet by the Powers That Be.  These ways aren’t wrapped in shiny boxes and they certainly don’t come with sleep consultations…these ways seem almost too simple to actually make an ounce of difference.

And yet time and time again, I watch as these ways lift The Fog for mom, after mom, after mom…

We welcome baby into our bed and practice safe co-sleeping…enjoying those midnight snuggles and not stressing about how often or for how long baby nurses.

We remember to take deep breaths regularly, throughout our days.

We prioritise an opportunistic nap in place of a scheduled lunch date…three times in a row if we need to…because true friends understand.

We accept that for these short years when our children are so small, our houses will look like a tornado has passed by.  Constantly.

We learn (with patience, and lots and lots of persistence) to live in the moment.

And maybe over time, your answer to the question, “what do you need?” will come in an instant…but if it doesn’t, because the foggy exhaustion of new motherhood is too thick to think clearly through…feel free to use mine:

I need you to meet me where I am.

Like what you read?  Related posts in the Meet Me Where I Am series:

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  1. I look forward to reading these emails. When people ask me what do I need, I need to start saying "meet me where I am" Instead of telling me to feed my child before six months and give him rice cereal. To put him down because I hold him too much or let him cry now and then, just meet me where I am. It gets so frustrated raising your child in today's society; everyone has something to say about how what and when to raise your own child. These words are music to my ears! I love reading every one of these posts, and they seem to come right when I need words of encouragement. Thank you!!

    1. Thank you Kirstin! I nodded the whole way through your comment...literally everyone has an opinion! It's time to listen to our instincts and our babies :) Thank you for your comment, mama! <3

  2. Brings tears of love, empathy, and compassion to my eyes❤

  3. Brings tears of love, empathy, and compassion to my eyes❤

  4. This statement holds so true even after the newborn fog lifts and the crazy busy journey of toddler and then childhood routines shine through. I'm a mother of three, 13, 6, 3, and I really have no space in my brain left to answer questions directly when referring to MY personal needs. These kids are always first priority and I've gotten so good at organizing schedules and play dates and getting the day's routine accomplished while multitasking emotions from a spectrum of development levels, but I can't seem to answer this question. Even after the newborn stage, the idea of having someone meeting me where I am as opposed to giving advice or flat out critcism sounds delightful. But to be honest, it sounds scary too. I don't have small babies, bit my house is a mess. I am sleeping through the night, but am cronically late. I am an over worked and emotional shell of who I was even before the last two were born. But our house is filled with love. And thinking about my home becoming routinely cleaner or the car seats not being needed (my two crazy mom dreams!) also comes with the sadness of knowing it's because the babies have grown up. We all need to be more compassionate of each other's journey through parenthood. Its a hard one and doesn't need judgment or opinions to make it harder. I have leaent through my own journey to be a better, more compassionate friend. That not all hard times need to be "fixed" but rather need to be shown existance and empathy. I truely try to listen to and FEEL my friends.

    1. Thank you for such a heartfelt and wise comment!!

  5. So important to treat others with kindness, compassion and empathy