Taking breaks – Aajol

Taking breaks

When our baby cries, the baby is essentially communicating some need. Our brains are naturally wired to respond to the distress of our baby with an urge to address the need. With little means of verbal communication it becomes an endless guessing game and sometimes we don’t even know for sure what exactly worked, out of the innumerable things we try. On top of our exhaustion and reorientation to the new life of a parent, it is understandable to lose patience at times. We may respond to this distress of the baby harshly. 

If we are not compassionate to ourselves at such times, we may feel anger towards ourselves for losing our cool or helplessness for not understanding the baby’s need or guilt for not being a ‘good parent’ or a feeling of failing at something and so on. This, if not worked through, makes us even more impatient and the journey is pretty much downward from there on.

What our baby and us need at such times is that we have compassion for ourselves. We can remind ourselves that it is human to lose patience or react or feel anger. We can acknowledge that we need a break and we deserve a break. We can remind ourselves that even if our baby keeps crying when we take our much needed ten or fifteen minute break (a break where the goal is to calm down and ground ourselves enough to be able to go back and help our baby), we cannot help our baby and ourselves unless we take that break. If we don’t take a break, we might be causing ourselves and our baby more distress than if we took the break and came back grounded. When we come back to the same situation grounded, previously invisible solutions have a potential to appear in our mind effortlessly. 

Activity:

Notice when you lose your patience in response to your baby crying.

Look for a family member or caregiver who has patience at the moment to handle the baby and hand over the charge to them.

Step away for a short while with the specific intention of grounding yourself.

Make sure the crying is out of your earshot.

Connecting with nature and consciously breathing full long breaths helps in grounding.

Once you feel ready, go back to your baby and to the task of figuring out what need or discomfort the baby is expressing.

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