A new study published in the journal Pediatrics says that it’s okay to let you cry it out. In fact, it says that you and I will benefit from this practice. I will be “at lower risk for depression” and you and I will “sleep better” and you “will not be harmed”.
I will not be letting you cry it out.
I wonder if the mothers who did not use “cry it out” had other tools in their toolbox or if they were simply struggling along and feeling as though they failed. There’s a sadness to be found in chaos and the feeling of failure.
I wonder if the mothers who did not use “cry it out” understood that infant sleep evolves and that the patterns change and become more structured as the child becomes older. I wonder if they understood the things that can wake an infant, how and when to transfer a sleeping child to a different sleeping surface, how to help the child contain their startle reflex.
I wonder if the mothers understood safe co-sleeping or if they stayed awake in a rocking chair in desperation rocking in the middle of the night, or resorting to half-sleeping on the couch with the baby perched dangerously on their chests. Knowing full well that what they were doing was not the “right” way, but not knowing anything safer.
I wonder if the mothers had support in their lives or if they were forced to Do It All By Themselves and Be Strong and Everyone Else Does It Why Can’t You Cope With Normal Life?
I wonder if mothers who avoid the Cry it Out method also have other things that impact their tendency toward depression or sadness. And if simply providing them with the reassurance that it is okay and it will pass.. May make a difference for them the way it did for me and the way it does for many others.
I don’t avoid having you “Cry It Out” simply because I fear that it will cause you harm.
I avoid it because it runs against my instincts and makes my heart sad.
I avoid it because it runs against your instincts and I worry that it would make your heart sad.
I avoid it because it is a tool that does not fit in my toolbox.
I avoid it because I believe that there is more health to be found in listening to our body’s instincts and natural patterns and understanding them rather than dismissing them as inconvenient.
I avoid it because I do not feel as some do that crying as an infant falls under the category of “positive stress”. To me, “positive stress” involves facing a conflict and overcoming it and not simply being forced into the pattern of surrender. Positive stress will come as you learn to crawl, as you learn to walk, as you learn to read, as you try and keep up with your big brothers. Positive stress comes from testing your own limits, running head first into them, and pushing yourself beyond what you were capable of. It comes from feeling as though you have autonomy and control of your circumstances.
I avoid it because as a toddler you will experience the other types of stress which relate to gracefully handling a disappointment. By then you will have words and the things that you ask for will be things that cannot be provided or that would be unhealthy to provide. Right now what you ask for is to be held and comforted. I do not want to teach you that those things are unattainable or reserved for certain times of the day.
I avoid it because I do not want to teach you that when life becomes stressful you can cry alone until you fall asleep. I want to teach you exactly what you know now. Persistence. Vocalization of your needs. I want to build the structure of calm now, so that you have calm laced throughout your memories and so that you have it as a base that you will always try and return to.
I avoid it because your infancy is brief and I can wait it out.
I avoid it because I refuse to follow studies that say it is “okay” to ignore your needs when there are other things that I can do without ever ignoring you.
I won’t let you “cry it out” because a study says it’s okay to ignore your needs. I want you to learn to listen to yourself. The study may say that it’s okay for you to cry it out, but you say that it is not. And you say it as loudly as you can.
I’ll listen to you.