Mommy Blogger – Jenna S
Colic is basically the term for “we don’t know why your baby is screaming all the time, so we call it COLIC”. Colic isn’t just crying. It is paint peeling off the wall screaming and almost impossible to cope with. Having a baby that suffered from colic was the absolute hardest time of my life. My daughter screamed for 4.5 months straight. She sometimes even screamed in her sleep! Finding ways to cope with a screaming baby seems almost impossible. I became completely overwhelmed with fear that I was an unfit mom and that I was the reason she was always screaming. This, of course, inevitably brought on the wave of mom guilt that I thought was going to drown me. I was drowning. I was drowning in emotion, frustration, guilt, stress, hopelessness and many tears. I started crying almost as much as she did and could not believe that anyone could ever actually love being a new mom.
Colic was our hell and robbed me of all, joy in the beginning of this new journey called motherhood.
Asking for help is easier said than done. I didn’t want to burden anyone with a screaming baby, in my house full of dirty dishes, piles of laundry and floors that hadn’t been cleaned in weeks. I know that the state of my house really doesn’t matter to anyone coming to help out a new mom, but when you’re the overwhelmed, exhausted, and every speck of dust and dirty plate adds another layer of guilt and shame over the vulnerable new mother.
People would always ask how I was doing and I’d respond with “I’m exhausted. She screams all the time and no matter what I do I can’t comfort her.” I’d usually have tears rolling down my face before I could even finish the sentence. Here are a few unwanted and not helpful pieces of advice I received:
“All babies cry you’re just tired” (Yes I’m $*@%!@# tired so come over and hold my baby so I can nap).
“It will get better” (I needed it to get better yesterday, this doesn’t help).
“Just call whenever you need some help” (I need help every day so just come over when YOU have time).
“It’s just gas, have you tried Oval? Gripe water? Warm bath? Leg exercises?” (I basically live in a google rabbit hole trying to find new things and joined 7 mom groups looking for advice/sanity so YES I’VE TRIED EVERYTHING).
“Do you take her to the chiropractor?” (You do realize that getting out of the house is basically impossible, and I haven’t slept in 19 days so I can’t even spell chiropractor right now).
“It’s probably just reflux, get a prescription from your Dr.” (You’re the 1000th person who has suggested it, you’ve won a prize. Here is a stale breastfeeding muffin that’s been sitting out for 2 days).
At my older sons curling practice another mom had come up to me and said the usual “you look exhausted, how are you doing”? I told her I hadn’t slept in 3 months, my husband works away and she (the baby) just screams… all day… all night. She said something that really stuck with me, this complete stranger told me “I had a baby with colic too, and no one can truly understand what you’re going through unless they’ve been through it. Are you accepting help? Taking naps? Drinking wine?” I felt validated instead of insane and I didn’t even know I needed it.
Since I was reaching out a bit and talking about my struggles, eventually family just started calling and telling me when they’d be coming over and that they were bringing a meal. That was a turning point. Asking for help is hard, but having it offered in a literal way instead of a polite offering in a conversation was incredible.
If you know someone struggling, don’t just say “I’m here if you need me”. New moms always need you.
If you are struggling, accept the help. Kitchen floor meltdowns are survival. Make sure you talk about how you’re feeling, especially when you’re overwhelmed.
And remember, you are not insane and your baby doesn’t hate you. You are incredible and you can get through this.