The Hardest Months of My Life.
Nothing in the world can prepare you for a child. Even less can prepare you for a child with colic! Colic, colic, colic. Everyone has a theory, everyone has an opinion and it tends to be the same – gas. Try gripe water, try burping him more, try, try, try. Try not to bang your head against the wall as you simultaneously rock him back and forth while jumping on one leg and singing “Old MacDonald” at the top of your lungs because a “friend” SWEARS it worked for her sister’s friend’s neighbour’s cousin.
I think back to those early days and those were dark days. Thankfully not dark enough to be defined as Post Partum Depression (my heart goes out to those women!), but definitely one of the hardest times in my life. Here I am with a new baby that I’m supposed to fall in love with right away and I cried. I cried because that is not how I felt. Maybe if he stopped crying long enough for me to appreciate him, I would feel differently. But the crying didn’t stop, not for 5 months. It was worse at night, starting at around 3pm – just in time for my husband to come home, who was studying for a very important exam. I felt so guilty! Guilty that the house was in chaos but even more guilty that I couldn’t stop my baby’s crying!
A saving grace was my mom who came to help for the first 3 weeks. She was extremely supportive, patient, and understanding. As the time came for her to go back home (she lives in another Province), panic, anxiety, and worst of all, fear, set in. I never felt so alone and isolated before. My home became a prison. I was too nervous and anxious to take him out because he would cry. Crying baby results in judgemental and condescending looks. At least, that was my thinking. It was rarely the case as the looks I was getting, they were mostly sympathy and empathy.
You’re Not Alone!
If you yourself have experienced colic or are currently living the “dream” right now, my heart goes out to you! You are not alone! For us kindred spirits, we survived! To our newly inducted kindred spirits, it gets better! There will be A LOT of advice and A LOT of opinions but you have to do what’s right for you and your family. You have to look after yourself too so do what you need to do. I left him in his bassinet (after he was fed, burped, and changed, and his noise machine was going and the bassinet was vibrating), just to have a shower, and guess what?! He was still alive and crying when I was done!
I also suggest strapping the colicky nightmare angel to you, put headphones in, and have a dance party in the basement. He would be screaming and I would be singing at the top of my lungs just bopping away. Double bonus: its a mental break and mini-low impact workout.
Next, draw energy and patience from your supporters. My biggest supporters were my mom, my family doctor (my most life-changing moment was because of this woman’s advice – which, TBH, I ignored for a long time), and the wonderful, supportive women I met in my Baby Class (more on that later). Surround yourself with as many positive influences/sympathizers as possible.
As time goes on and I encounter more women dealing with motherhood, I am grateful every day that J only had colic. Not to take away from how hard those days were, but that those days came to an end. I struggled with a lot of issues – like no one else will love him because he cries so much, am I doing damage leaving him (in a safe place) just to get a break for 5 minutes, etc. We made it through the dark colic days and yes, I love him more and more everyday! I truly believe in the old adage, “Be nice to everyone, you don’t know what they had to deal with that day.”
Please feel free to share any of your experiences of trying to get by. Just to prove that the mom lying there at 2am crying in frustration and fear, is not alone!