Asking for Help is So Hard to Do

Do you ever have one of those nights where your child wakes up every hour on the dot? You then spend another hour getting him back to sleep, only to be woken up again to start the whole cycle over an hour later?

This has been my life for the past two months. I know our son is just a baby, and some say this is totally normal…but it doesn’t make it any easier.

It’s exhausting. It is draining. And, most importantly, it has been negatively impacting our baby’s quality of life.

I knew that having a baby wasn’t going to be easy. Of course, it’s the most magical and remarkable event of my life. He is such an incredible human, eager to soak up the world, gives the best cuddles, and makes my life even richer and more incredible.

When I was pregnant, everyone said, “Get your sleep now, because you are never going to sleep a full night again.” I thought, Yeah right. I am a child specialist. I’ve got this sleep thing in the bag.

Boy, was I wrong. There are moments, like this one, where I sit down to write a blog post and I’m on edge because at any moment I’m afraid that Bryton will start screaming and I’ll want to pick him up and soothe him. The blood curdling screams make my hair stand up, and leave lasting ringing in my ears. Yet, I’ve never felt so honored and grateful to have this experience.
How can that be? You love this little being so much, yet at times he can literally bring you to your knees in tears? At times, parenthood can feel like the loneliest planet to live on. Yet realistically, I know that I’m not alone.

So, after many sleepless nights, and anxiety ridden days, my husband and I decided to practice what I preach. For years, I’ve been encouraging parents to reach out for help when they need it. I tell moms on a daily basis that it’s important to have support. Yet, it was so hard for me to give in and ask a professional for advice…for some reason it felt like I was giving up.

When I finally decided to seek support, I was feeling absolutely defeated, like I really wasn’t sure what to do next. I had tried my best, but I knew it was time to hire a professional who had more experience than I did.

Even though I have been working with children for nearly 20 years, getting my baby to sleep and stay asleep has been an incredibly humbling experience.

It’s hard to relax when I know that at any moment he is going to start crying. And then there is this voice that keeps popping up saying, “He’s just a baby. Babies cry. There’s nothing you can do about it.”

This experience got me thinking… I now understand why it’s so challenging for parents to reach out for help.

You think you can do it on your own. You’re too tired to ask for help. You are hoping that things are going to change. You, like me, are embarrassed because you feel like you should be able to figure this parenting thing out.

Here’s the thing, it’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to recognize that this isn’t something that you can or should do on your own. Asking for help is the bravest thing you can do for you and your child.

I could have easily researched strategies and techniques online. In fact, every time I woke up to nurse (which some nights was every 90-minutes), I was on my phone looking up the next best thing to help him sleep. There are tons of great ideas out there, but none of them are designed specifically for my son.

I came to a crossroads…I could either continue to search and try 20 different strategies that I found online, which was totally free-of-charge, or I could reach out for help and invest in a high-quality professional who was going to improve the quality of life for all of us.

The answer started to become very obvious for us.

So, I sent out an email to set up a call. I reached out to an amazing Sleep Specialist who works with babies and parents. Someone who knows why my baby wakes up after 30-minutes of napping; a professional who respects that my child is exclusively breastfed and isn’t going to push me to give him formula; a consultant who is going to create an individualized plan for my family so that we can all sleep better at night.

This has been a game-changer for the three of us.

I’m sharing this experience with you, because I want you to know that I get it. I understand how difficult it can be to recognize that you can’t do this alone anymore, and you need help.

Investing in your child and family isn’t easy sometimes when there are tons of other bills that need to be paid. But, when you feel
that you’ve truly hit a wall, and you don’t know how you are going to push through another sleepless night and day, it’s time to ask for help.

I really wish I had sought out help sooner. It would have been so much better for my child. This specialist had been there all along to help us create healthy sleep habits for our baby. I was just too tired to think things through thoroughly and take that leap.

Our son is now putting himself back to sleep. He is more rested, happier, and healthier. Of course, it hasn’t been easy. After all, I’m an Autism Specialist and I know tons about how to help children with autism. However, when it comes to babies, it’s a whole new ball game. Admitting that we couldn’t do this on our own, and that all of the internet searches and blog posts were not going to hold our hand through this process, led me to make a change.

I encourage you to take that next step and reach out for some help. Autism is my specialty. You don’t need to feel exhausted, lost, alone, and like nobody out there gets what you are going through.

You just need to know that there is someone out there who is ready to walk you through your personal journey and hold your hand along the way.

If you are feeling brave and ready for a change, click here to set up a call. Individualized help is waiting for you.

Humbly,

Jennifer Lingle

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Jennifer Lingle, M.Ed.

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