Sleep. For some of us, there is/was little. And, for all of us, it is/was hard. I haven’t forgotten the many days, weeks, months and (yes) years, without enough because I spent most nights holding my baby, often in the upright position.
We called Luca our “hold me baby” because most often, he refused to be put down. We would swaddle him tight and lay him horizontal for a short period of time…but it didn’t ever last. He simply could not stay asleep when he wasn’t in our arms and in a vertical position, wrapped up tight in a blanket. It was bizarre to me, that he wasn’t overwhelmed with being held so much. But, my little boy needed to be held A LOT, so we held him. And, though I didn’t understand why it was such a challenge, I wasn’t willing to overlook the fact that he needed something different than other babies. It made for very, very long nights and very groggy days.
Some nights, I would sing to him and bounce him for hours. Some nights, I would cry with him and beg him to close his eyes. I once prayed to GOD in the middle of the night to please, please help him to be normal. At that time, I didn’t know what I didn’t know, especially about Autism. I just needed to sleep…and I didn’t understand why it wasn’t hard for my older three kids, but was for him. What was making him so uncomfortable or unwilling? What was wrong with my baby?
We thought, in the beginning, that Luca was just a difficult baby. It wasn’t until he was diagnosed and I researched sleep problems and Autism, that I began to understand why he was being what I perceived to be difficult.
We were finally able to get him through it…but it took time, growth, a diagnosis and a new level of understanding and diligence, as well as help from our ABA therapists, to do so.
Later this week, we’ll be posting a podcast by Healing the Spectrum, that will provide some relevant research and common causes of sleep problems to help you with finding solutions. I invite you to listen in, if this is a challenge that you or someone you love could use some help with.
In the meantime, I want you to know that you’re not alone! I have been there myself and have heard from countless Moms and caregivers that have had similar experiences. Know that there is hope and this usually does NOT last. This is the message I longed to hear when I was going through it…that this won’t last forever. There IS, in fact, a light at the end of the tunnel…and it is NOT an oncoming train.