Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Chocolate for Dinner

Chocolate for dinner....and it's not even good.

I feel like I have just spent one and half hours somewhere back in my past....about 4 years ago. A time when Ayla was around 7 weeks old and used to cry and scream for hours every night. Seemingly for no reason. She didn't have any pain that we could see. She had a full tummy, a clean nappy and more love than she possibly could ever conceive of having but still, every night from about 4 in the afternoon she would kick, scream, cry, scratch and just generally thrash around for hours, until finally she fell asleep. I remember my midwife giving me this article by Aletha Solter to read around this time and it helped a lot. Especially the bit about not leaving a baby to cry alone. Just being there while she cried.

Tonight, Ayla took me right back there. The kicking, screaming, crying, scratching, thrashing and now add to that biting and pulling hair. All I could do was lay on the bed next to her. It's been a very sleepless few days in Sydney for our ABR workshop. She's been waking every 15 minutes, all night for 2 nights now and this afternoon I could feel myself on a knife edge....the very same knife edge I found myself on daily until Ayla starting sleeping through the night about 3 years ago.

At first I felt angry and frustrated at her response to bedtime. Then I started to cry because I just couldn't believe how far past exhaustion I was. And then Aletha's article popped up like a vision before my eyes, as a reminder of what Ayla needed from me tonight. Just to be there and listen until she had finished.

Aletha says,
Infants are extremely vulnerable, and have a considerable amount of emotional pain resulting from an accumulation of stressful experiences. Distress can be caused by a traumatic birth or difficulties after birth. Babies experience confusion as they attempt to understand the world, and they are easily frightened and overstimulated. In addition, they feel frustrated as they attempt to learn new skills and communicate. All of these result in emotional pain that is stored in the body.

Ayla is a long way from being an infant these days......or is she? Her inability to express her emotions and needs verbally would definitely leave her feeling vulnerable. And the amount of travelling around that we have done in the past 3 weeks has quite possibly left her feeling frightened and overstimulated .....frustrated again. Tonight was a MASSIVE release of pent up emotions lasting one and a half hours. I felt totally helpless as I lay there beside her while she, somewhat, took it out on me before finally falling into an exhausted (if restless) sleep. We can't wait to get home and stay there..... at least for a little while. So, if you don't see us out and about, don't panic, we're just getting ourselves grounded again.

But in the meantime................ it's chocolate for dinner.


Rain said...

I wish I had had that article. I eventually came to the same conclusion with Phoenix anyway. I figured if I was tired and upset and frustrated, then he probably was too, so I just would let him cry. I always feel better after a big cry, and it seemed he did too, he'd just stop and go to sleep when he was done.

I think you're amazing Melissa, your blog always inspires me. Thankyou.

S said...

thank you Melissa, thank you x