So, here’s the thing. This baby has been through hell and back in his two and a half months of life. He has had so many issues, and that is what I try to think about when and if he has been screaming for hours on end with no emotionally needed break for me. Three days ago, I thought I had reached a point that was my breaking point. I was at AI and the doctors were looking at and listening to my baby scream bloody murder and were repeating the all too familiar words: There is no medical conclusion as to what would be making him cry, the tests are all coming back “normal”. It’s got to be just colic.”
Those very words bite through my soul like stepping out into the freshly layered snow with nothing on but a pair of earmuffs.
After having my first child, I used to treasure the luxury of being able to get my nails done, take a nice leisure shower while my baby slept peacefully nearby…a full nights sleep and a purposeful smile and coo from my baby at that glorious six week mark that everyone advised that everything would get better after, if I just hung in there…. to now, when I sigh a breath of relief when I can get through a Target run without the glares of other mothers who will stare, say “oh my god, she isn’t even going to pick that baby up?— or whisper “oh, that’s a spoiled baby….. someone’s holding him too much”….even go as far as to get in between me and the cart that my baby wails in and says “aww buddy, what’s wrong?”….I can’t even make this stuff up if I tried.
Elijah was a cakewalk compared to anything these last almost three months have shown me.
“Hundreds of mothers” (more and more these days, actually) deal with those two words that can shake a parent to their core and bring me to my knees on any given day.
No one person, not one piece of literature, not any one person’s advice or experience can ever prepare you for this. They say “it’s horrible. Its hell on earth for 4-6 months straight. There’s NOTHING that you can do….” Nothing that works for more than 10 minutes and you will spend all day and every day just going through and repeating the checklist over and over again. You will hold an infant- YOUR infant- in your arms and he will scream right in your face until you scream out “I don’t know what else to do for you!!!!” And “I am so sorry!” And you will put him down, walk into the other room and just cry. You will feel like the world’s WORST parent because you feel like you just can’t do anything right and you really aren’t even sure If you can say you even LIKE your own baby.
No one tells you any of this. You’re in the hospital, in labor, give birth in however method/means you do and every one awws and ahhhs at your baby, tells you congratulations and that the fun is just beginning… and then everything just changes in an instant… or so it seems.
But it’s ‘just colic.’
Colic is what is had me at my breaking point the other day, feeling like I was losing my mind literally staring off and going to my” happy place” (if there is such a thing) at AI the other day when my baby was screaming and I just couldn’t do it any more. I wanted to tell the doctor “I am just not good enough for this child. I can’t do it anymore. You have to take him back. I love him too death, but I am just no match for little ol colic, I guess.”
I sat there and cried and contemplated beating up those mothers that looked at me with their judging eyes and if one more person had said “aww, poor baby, he must be _____” (fill in the blank), I might have literally hurled a bottle of gas drops at him/her…. oh wait, at 9 bucks a bottle, the gas drops were too good for them, actually.
I don’t know how some people feel about religion and all that, but this is my story so I am just going to continue telling it. I literally picked up my baby, who had been wailing since 8am that morning (it was now almost 5pm), and I did what I should have done from the very beginning…. I gave it to God. I prayed harder than I have prayed for anything since Ethan was born. I pleaded for a reprieve, I begged for SOMETHING that would either make this get better, or would give me a renewed strength to deal with it. After all, its JUST colic!
I whispered to my baby “I promise, I am trying to get this figured out baby…. hang in there with me, I promise I won’t ever give up as long as you don’t give up on me. We can do this, you and me. Just give me just a little tiny break…. I love you.”
I cried, I wiped away his tears, then my tears. I carefully strapped him back into his car seat and went to retrieve the car. On the way home, my phone rang and it was his pediatrics office. The nurse said the doctor had seen that Ethan had some tests done and that I had taken him to the ER, and she asked me if *I* was ok.
She stayed on the phone for 45 minutes with me while I just poured Into my frustrations and his medical stuff and how inadequate I felt, etc. She said ten words that I swear changed my life- or at least my outlook on this struggle…..
“You’re handling it all way better than I ever could.”
I don’t know what made her say those words to me, but I do know that I prayed a prayer for the strength to handle this better, and this simple statement told me that I am probably NOT the horrible mother that I feel like when I am hiding in the bathroom texting, crying, or just taking five minutes away from the screaming because I can’t do it one more minute. I am so thankful for the patience that I have to have the ability to know my limits so that when I feel myself about to lose it, I CAN put my baby down and walk away, hard as it is and awful as it makes me feel.
No one tells you you’re probably doing everything you can, just right, and to give yourself a break or even a pat on the back. No one tells you that even though it feels like absolute torture every second of the day, you’re being the best mom you can possibly be, simply because you do keep trying. You DON’T give up. You DON’T stop demanding answers. You do the hours upon hours of rocking, singing, pacing, the if-i-have-to-stick-this-pacifer-in-your-mouth-one-more-time, i-swear-i-will-scream!, the soothing,the tears that pour from his eyes and yours…… the endless, and I am talking the this is NEVER going to end! Mantras……
You kick ass at this parenting thing.
And you live through it to annoy another mother in the future with all of your “secrets from the land of survival”
No one will tell you that though. Because after all, its JUST colic.
If you read this and know exactly what I am talking about because you are going through it too…it is likely that no one will tell you all of what you truly need to hear….. you ARE my definition of a super mom.
Well, wonder woman, go get fitted for that cape, because someone just did… somebody just did.