I have been meaning to write this post for a while, because I found an odd pattern of behaviour in some moms groups I am part of.
The groups I participate are divided in a few types: general moms groups, breastfeeding support groups, and sleep training groups. Once in a while (quite often to be honest) a mom comes into one of the first two groups desperate asking for help to resolve sleep issues she is having with her baby. Usually mentioning sleep deprivation, and how their X months old baby wakes between 3 and 10 times per night.
The reaction is usually the same. Other moms will jump in claiming that whatever situation the original poster is reporting "is normal" and that time will resolve it. On the breastfeeding group, moms also say that it is normal for breastfed babies to feed several times over night and that "oh look at me my baby is 3 years old and still wake up to feed 3 times per night and I survived, so suck it up too!". Ok, maybe they don't use my exact words, but that's pretty much what they mean.
Whenever I or another mom mention sleep training as a way to resolve the issue, there's a brigade of a few but loud moms that jump in to say how sleep training is damaging for the kids. Others respond to the post saying they are against it because they practice "attachment parenting". This makes my blood boil.
Saying "this is normal" and "time will resolve it" to a mom who is suffering is like saying to someone who's depressed that "everyone has bad days". This isn't nice. People want to be validated and heard, and as much as I think its great to know other people are going through similar struggles as you are, acknowledging that other people might have different threshold than you have for suffering is very important. Sleep deprivation is a type of torture, and enduring it doesn't mean you love your babies more, or that they will love you more in return.
Also, in my little experience and following all these groups about sleep training, observing people's experiences around me and reading about the subject, I can tell you: it does not get resolved on its own. Babies that do not learn how to fall asleep on their own in the first months of life usually keep having issues until they do, and that can take YEARS. I really mean several years. My brother has a 7yo (years old, not months old) who wakes up and moves to his bed more than once per week. If you are into that, great for you, go for it. If you're not, please be aware this isn't necessarily how your life has to look like.
But this post isn't necessarily about baby sleep. It is about mom guilt and sisterhood. It is a call for women to please have each other's back and not judge one another so much. Let's help each other and start by accepting that it is ok for others to make different choices than you have made. Your way of parenting is yours, and it is the one that works between you and your child. It doesn't mean it is the same that works between my child and I.
It is not ok to tell people suffering who seek for help that "it is normal" to suffer so much when they are beyond their limits. It is not ok to claim people who make different parenting choices are damaging their children, or their relationship with their children.