Sleep and Shame: We Can't Go Back, but We Can Move Forward
Updated: Jan 18, 2021
The other day, I was talking to one of my clients, we were a week into our work together helping her 3 year old get back onto a good sleep schedule. The week had gone great, her son had gone from co-sleeping in the guest room with his Dad and waking multiple times a night with no daily naps to sleeping through the night, in his own bed, and taking a consistent nap every day. I was thrilled! She was thrilled! But I could tell something was still a little off, and that's when it came out- the shame.
My client expressed how she was so happy with her son's progress, but she felt so bad that they had gone so long without giving him the quality of sleep he needed or the structure he craved. She felt, in a way, that she had failed him.
Let me say one thing to you, yes you, reading this post, you have NOT failed your child if they are not sleeping exactly as you want them to. The fact that you are still reading this post means you have not failed your child. The fact that you see your child is struggling, that you see your family is struggling, means you have not failed your child. No one sent us home from the hospital with a manual on how to perfectly raise these beautifully unique children we have created.
Sleep is an amazing thing, because it can be restored. Sleep can be cultivated. Sleep can be nurtured. Sleep tanks can be refilled and renewed, no harm done.
You are a parent. You love your child. You are trying to do what is best. There is and never will be any shame in that.
It's scary to reach out and say- I need help. It's scary to admit that things may have fallen off the rails a bit. It's scary to know that work needs to be done to bring peace to your home. But you can do it. You can be honest and reach out- you are not alone.
So what did I say to this Mom? 'There is no shame in what has happened here- only success. Your child is well rested, happy, and thriving- you did it. We cannot go back, we can only move forward- so let's keep going.'
You can do this, Mama, Dada, Grandma, Grandpa- you got this. Reach out. The thing I guarantee you won't find is judgement- only support, guidance, and love.