How Our Son's Sleep Training Tested The Strength Of Our Marriage

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crying baby
Most parents don't mention how hard sleep training is on marriage.

As in most families, I am the one who reads the bulk of the parenting guides. David, in turn, gets his information from me. This leads to the occasional squabble, but nothing so fierce as the discussions we had regarding sleep training.

Sleep training almost killed us.

 

Alex has never been a good sleeper. So when I returned to work, I was rendered almost incapable of functioning. Because I work all day, I can't just sleep when the baby sleeps. I soon realized that we needed sleep training.

First, we tried a gentle approach. He screamed. We then tried the cry-it-out method. He screamed. We tried a modified method. He screamed some more. Other parents told us it would be tough but that, after five to 10 minutes, he'd tire himself out. So we persevered. He did not tire himself out.

David had initially been a huge proponent of sleep training. He knew I wasn't functioning right, and wanted both Alex and me to be happy. If sleep training was going to get us there, he was all for it.

I knew my husband well, though. He's a bit of a soft touch when it comes to our son. Which is lovely in many ways, but not conducive to sleep training. So I began the sleep training when David was traveling for work. Slowly, over a week's time, the amount of crying began to dwindle. Then David came home and my sister offered to babysit so we could have some couple time. We came home at a relatively early hour and put Alex to bed. After a few moments, David was appalled. Why It's So Hard To Leave My Baby With My Husband

"You're just going to let him cry?" he asked me, bewildered.

I reviewed the sleep training strategy we'd agreed upon. I reminded him that we knew this would be hard for a few days or weeks but that, ultimately, it was what was best for all of us.

"But, you're just going to let him cry?" he sputtered.

It was then that my deepest, darkest fears were confirmed: sleep training my baby would not be nearly as hard as sleep training my husband. David did not want Alex to cry. Not for one minute. Not ever.

This process was not aided by the fact that we were living in a one-bedroom condo. Alex could hear our every move, which left us trapped in our bedroom, silently hoping for it to stop. There was nowhere to escape the sound of his wailing. Don't Let Kids Ruin Your Sex Life

Many nights passed in the same fashion. It was hard enough to listen to Alex cry without David constantly begging me to make it stop. During the day, David was resolved to continue working toward what was best for our family. At night, he pleaded with me to hold our son.

I looked for alternate methods. We agreed on a modified approach that took weeks longer. We bargained and negotiated with one another, trying to find a way we could all be happy. We debated who needed sleep more due to the upcoming day's schedule.

In the end, we had to move to a larger house before Alex truly began to sleep through the night. The first night in that new house, Alex slept 10 hours. Our marriage stabilized and negotiations came to a halt. Happily Paying The High Price Of Co-Sleeping

I'm nervous about going down this torturous road again. Still, I figure that when we have our next child, we can soundproof the baby's room before birth.

I'm kidding, of course. It's a tempting idea, but it's not entirely safe. And we don't have that kind of money.