This morning, I woke up with the pillowcase pulled off of my pillow again. Why, you might ask? Well… I have this thing where I wake up in the middle of the night, terrified that I have inadvertently crushed my child in my sleep. Weird. I know.
Looking back, I believe that this fear first appeared upon my first night at home with the baby. Like almost all mothers I know, I fell asleep while breastfeeding. When I woke up with a huge jolt, I was so terrified that I had either dropped my baby or rolled over her, that I could barely sleep for the rest of the night…
And so now, at least three times a week, I’ll have moments where, half awake and half asleep, I’ll open my eyes, feel around myself for my baby. When I don’t find her, I start sifting through my pillows (as if my baby could be caught inside a pillow case… Seriously??) I can sure be ridiculous in my half-awake state! Sometimes I even wake my boyfriend, screaming at him, telling him I can’t find the baby in the blankets. And half-asleep himself, he’ll remind me that she’s in her crib. And I fall immediately back to sleep.
We hear so many stories about women who crush their children in their sleep. We are told in our prenatal courses, and in the books, and by our parents and our friends, that we should not have our babies in bed with us. Yet, interestingly enough, in his book on attachment parenting, Dr. Sears advocates co-sleeping, stating that the chances of your child dying of SIDS are higher when they sleep in their own bed than when they co-sleep with mom and dad, and that the rate of babies that die from being crushed by parents is a lot lower than the rate of children that die from SIDS. Huh… I’ll be interested to find out whether this research is true. I’ll keep you posted! Of course, he also makes recommendations to avoid crushing your child when you all sleep together.
The funny thing is that the times when Souris actually sleeps with me in the bed, I never wake up looking for her. Strangely enough, I seem to sleep better with her in bed with me than when she’s in her crib. I actually never look for her when i wake up – I just seem to know that she’s safe near me. Yet, I do believe in the importance of her sleeping on her own when she can, and so I guess I’ll just keep torturing myself!!
I was hoping that with time, these waking nightmares would subsist. Alas, four months later, they’re still as present as ever! I’m actually convinced that that first night back from the hospital, I actually got myself into a hypnotized state while breastfeeding, where the fear of falling asleep and crushing my baby was drilled deep within my subconscious. And now, at least three times a week, I’m reminded of that engrained fear. I think I need to get un-hypnotized… Anyone know of a good hypnotist? 😉
How long do you think this is supposed to last, left unchecked? Has anyone else experienced anything similar?