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The Possibility Of Everything – The lengths mothers will go to help their children

standard March 5, 2010 6 responses

When Little L was a baby she didn’t sleep. At least not in her crib. Or her bassinet. Or the bouncy seat. She only liked to sleep attached to me, either in the sling or latched on my breast. At times I could swaddle her tightly and nurse her to a drowsy stupor and if I was lucky and did everything just so she would tolerate being put in her bassinet. She would even sometimes sleep in there for an hour or so.

Then she’d be up again.

 
 All swaddled up and definitely not asleep.

By the time she was five months old I was a complete and utter wreck. I was working full time and not sleeping at all. And I went a bit crazy.

Which is when people started telling me to let her cry herself to sleep.

Now, I’m not a masochist. And I don’t not believe in letting babies cry themselves to sleep. But I truly didn’t think that this was the right solution for Little L.

You see, she was all of 5 months old, but I had an older child with asthma, and in my gut I knew that Little L had it too. She had none of the classic symptoms that are usually associated with asthma – shortness of breath, scary non breathing episodes, wheezing…, but in my gut I knew she had it.

Everyone thought I was just making excuses so I wouldn’t have to let her cry.

It took a lot of me standing my ground and repeating again and again that babies who cough when they lie down and cough when they cry are showing symptoms of asthma. Babies who cough so hard when they cry that they end up throwing up are definitely showing signs of asthma.

It took all that and a smart and understanding doctor whose own children suffer from asthma for everyone to be convinced.

We started medicating right away and those coughing episodes stopped.

And no, she didn’t start sleeping. You wish the story ended so easily. But because she was being medicated and treated for her asthma we were able to start sleep training her. It paid off over a year later when, at the ripe old age of 17 months Little L slept through the night for the first time.

She’s still a terrible sleeper, but that’s not really what this post is about. This post is about moms knowing when something is wrong. It’s about moms saying “I know this could be nothing, but it’s not. There’s something really wrong here.” and then doing something about it, anything, to fix their babies, to make them feel better. It was inspired by Hope Edelman’s memoir The Possibility of Everything.

Out of the blue one day, Hope’s little girl Maya started talking about an imaginary friend, an evil imaginary friend. And it could have been nothing, one of those things that kids do. But Hope knew in her heart that it wasn’t, and she went to the ends of the world to help her daughter.

When I started reading her book I found myself rolling my eyes. I mean, kids get imaginary friends. It’s normal. But as I kept reading I felt compassion for this mom who knew something was wrong and had to fight not only what was broken in her child, but the skepticism of all the people around her. I’ve been there before, and while I didn’t have to go to Belize to find the solution to our situation, I was still able to relate from the beginning to the end of their journey.

If you’re a mom, or a dad, or just appreciate really amazing writing I highly suggest that you read The Possibility of Everything. It’ll help expand your mind in ways you never imagined. And it’ll make you understand how sometimes a parent really will go to the ends of the world to help their child.

This post was inspired by the Silicon Valley Moms Blog bookclub pick of the month The Possibility of Everything by Hope Edelman. Be sure to visit the Silicon Valley Moms Blog to see other posts inspired by this amazing memoir and to read a Q&A with the author. (One of my questions about their experience is listed!) 

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6 responses

  • I, too, tend to be skeptical when I hear about encounters such as this. On the other hand, I completely understand what it’s like to have such an intense love for your child that you’d be willing to make that leap of faith just to help them. It’s amazing what no longer seems “extreme” once you become a parent, isn’t it?

    This books is definitely on my reading list. Great review!

  • Our little one would only nap when being held for his first nine months and the naps could last hours, which provided great bonding time for me on the weekends, but after a while had to be figured out from a practical stand point.

    I clearly remember all the other moms and non-moms who told this new mom exactly what to do, but I knew when I was ready. No matter how new or seasoned you might be to the whole mom thing, sometimes you just know.

    It’s a great book, isn’t it??

  • Because of this, those sleepless and tiring nights came flooding back to me. My child was a crybaby. Before, every time he cries I felt like there is something wrong, well, I was also an exaggerated mother. But you know what, no matter how tired we were that time, when we see our child sleeping soundly like an angel nothing matters anymore. Until now, every time I see her smile, I feel this overwhelming feeling inside and tell myself I will do everything for her.

  • Jessica, this is a terrific post. Thank you so much for sharing your story. You hit on exactly what I hoped readers would get from the book. To me, it’s less the story of a frantic, overwhelmed, anxious mom (that would have been me–ack!) who makes an unconventional choice than the story of how a mother learned to trust her intuition about her child, and wound up going on an extraordinary inner and outer journey. You got that, and I really appreciate you sharing it with your readers.
    Plus, I so remember those days with a baby who only wanted to sleep on the breast. I was so tired! It did pass, but boy, those were some rough months. I completely relate.
    All best,
    Hope

  • My Mom still talks about sleepless nights when I would cry and cough and cry until I threw up.

    I have asthma.

    It wasn’t diagnosed until about middle school, but it explained a lot of why I sucked at so many sports and suffered.

    Now… I think this will explain to my Mom what was going on when I wasn an infant. I still, occasionally, have night episodes where it feels like I cannot get enough air into my lungs and I have to toss and turn and prop myself to breathe.

    And I imagine how TERRIFYING that must feel to an infant who hasn’t the knowledge I have now.

    Blessings to you, and my Mom, and any Mom who has followed their heart and suffered those sleepless nights.

  • So true, it really is about a mom trusting her gut.

    How adorable is Little L all swaddled. I’m so sorry to hear you had such many sleepless nights. And you worked full time too. Ack how did you manage?!

    Sorry also to hear about the girls asthma. I never had that but my father did. Me & my daughter have severe allergies though.

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