A recent post by Sleeping Mom @ Sleeping Should Be Easy, reminded me of something I came to realize when Livi was only a few months old: our “normal” is different.
In her post, Sleeping Mom urges us not to compare our children and their skills too much as every child has his own personality and develops at her own rate.
But when Livi would cry all the time and not sleep and only wanted to be held, I could not help but compare her to other babies. In my sleep deprived state, I could not understand why other babies slept through the night, enjoyed playing on the floor and happily lounged in their swing while Livi did not.
And then it hit me. Life with a high need baby simply is different. Our “normal” is different. A normal day for Livi would be a bad day for other babies.
By comparing Livi to other children her age, I was not doing any of us a favor. I was setting myself up for frustration. Not only that, when I stressed myself out over it, Livi, being as sensitive as she is, would pick up on my stress and we both would end up having a bad day.
I know it is not easy to not compare your child to others, especially when he has high needs. It is frustrating and in a way alarming when your child cries so much more than other babies.
Trust your instincts and adjust your expectations and it will get easier. If it is too frustrating for you, simply avoid spending too much time with babies that are not high need. Also make sure to surround yourself with friends who are understanding, supportive, and nonjudgmental.
Try to find other families with high need children. Their normal will be much closer to your own and their support and experience will be invaluable. If you cannot find anyone in your area, try to connect online. It is what I had to do but I found it extremely helpful and uplifting.
And remember: Even though our good days may look bad to others, they are still good days for us and we should enjoy and relish them.