When the twins were about 6 months old and we still hadn’t had a full night’s sleep I started researching the elusive subject of babies and sleep. I stumbled across a number of articles written by an Osteopath that had solved a number of baby and toddler sleeping (and other) issues.
When you’re sleep deprived almost anything seems worth a try (as long as it doesn’t hurt your child in any way). I went along to a cranial osteopathy appointment with the osteopath that had written the articles I had read. I was unsure what to expect but he was clearly experienced with both babies and nervous Mums and set about explaining the effects of a c-section on a baby.
By way of summary, the Osteo explained that a c-section involves the rapid removal of a baby from a comfortable, warm and safe environment to a cold and noisy one. Some medical professions compare it to throwing a bucket of cold water over you in the middle of night. It is considered a traumatic birth and some of the effects of the trauma can be longer lasting than is commonly known or expected.
While in my arms, the Osteopath placed his hands around the base of each of the twins’ skulls (not at the same time). He told me that both felt very tight and needed to be loosened. From an observer’s perspective it simply looked like he was cradling their heads; and both of the twins seemed comfortable and content to be in his hands. He told me that they might be sleepy on the way home; and if they didn’t sleep well that night they would the next. Both of them were asleep before I had pulled out of the car park and were pretty lethargic for the rest of the day; and they did sleep well that night and the next. We saw him every fortnight for a while and then just had maintenance visits every few months thereafter.
The twins, at age 3, are still not sleeping consistently through the night; and we have tried pretty much everything!!! See the other sleeping articles for more info on little people and sleep.
On the third day after I’d given birth; family came to visit us in hospital. One of the first things someone asked me was whether they had accidentally “left one in there” pointing to my swollen stomach. I was so upset, that after they left I anxiously asked one of the nurses whether the swelling should have subsided by now. She said something along the lines of – you’ve carried two growing babies in there for 6 months and you’ve just been through a significant operation…it will take time.
The day after we were discharged from hospital we decided to go to a cafe in an attempt to be “normal”. A pretty young mum intercepted me as I was hobbling back to our table and told me I looked “amazing” and I should be very proud of myself that I had made it out. I didn’t look amazing, but the fact that she took the time to say something so nice really touched me; and whilst I did (of course) have a little cry about it, it made me feel immeasurably happy.
In stark contrast the countless people that stopped me when I was out to comment on the fact I had “double trouble”, or “you’ve got your hands full”, or “poor you”, or “I can’t think of anything worse” probably didn’t realise the effect their thoughtless words had on me. With one of these utterances I could go from being thankful that I had been able to get the little people out of the house, to being tearful and full of self-doubt and fear.
A while ago a new friend and mum of twin girls popped round for a play-date. She was tired and the girls were clearly wearing her down. She told me that she had received an anonymous note through her door with a link to a website for managing crying children. On the same day after a long and emotional day, her husband had relieved her of the girls and she was having a well-deserved quiet moment in the garden with a glass of wine. Whilst sitting there she overheard one of her neighbours on the phone saying that she was “sitting in the garden having a glass of wine whilst her kids are screaming inside”. My friend retreated to her bedroom and cried.
If only people knew how utterly exhausting (on every level) it is being a new parent; how destructive thoughtless words can be; and how desperate many of us are for just a kind look or a word of support from those around us.