February 19th was hands down the best day of my life, no doubt about it. Our family of two became three.
The following weeks were a combination of pure bliss and pure exhaustion. I was tired as a mother (pun intended) survived by coffee, coffee and more coffee. This new life I created and brought into the world had somehow given ME life. I can’t remember a time before then that I had been so happy. I felt like I had it all. And in all reality, I couldn’t complain. By my standards, I did have it all. I just delivered a healthy newborn, I have a loving husband, supportive family, and a home equipped with every baby apparatus on this year’s ‘must have’ list. We were bringing our baby boy home to a life full of love, which above all else was most important.
Welcome to Hell?
As days went on, my son spent less time sleeping and more time fussing. Totally normal. As time continued on I found myself waking every 45 minutes to the sound of a tiny human in shrieking pain. (Is this normal? I think this is normal. I got this.) Then week 5 rolled around. And SHIT GOT REAL. I often refer to it as “hell week.” Then hell week then turned into hell month, and hell month turned into hell month[S]. My perfect little angel baby turned into anything but angelic.
He cried. He cried All. The. Time.
And the word “cry” is an understatement. He SCREAMED. After numerous doctors appointments and after-hours visits trying to figure out what was wrong, it was deemed colic. And the definition of colic pretty much reads this: your baby will inconsolably cry for long periods of time with no known cause. And boy did we fit the description! During the height of his colic, my son cried 16 hours a day, every day, for an entire week straight. And only slowly did he let off the gas. He was generally an unhappy baby until he hit about 14 weeks.
The Many Consequences of Colic.
As for me, I have always been a generally happy person. But I found myself deeply depressed and feeling like I was somehow doing everything wrong. I cried the majority of the day and I had alienated myself from friends… or had they alienated me? No one wanted to be around a screaming newborn. My husband would come home from work and be greeted by a hysterical wife, and a baby that wouldn’t stop crying. We were barely keeping it together. We were both overly tired and on edge. We have been together nearly 10 years with your usual ups and downs, but the most trying time in our relationship was easily the first three months that our son was born.
What was wrong?!
Maybe it was the typical adjustment of becoming new parents. Maybe it was the long, sleepless nights. Maybe it was the fact that I had lost myself in a spiral of depression and guilt. Guilt that I didn’t have the energy to be a good wife, guilt that I wasn’t feeling like a good mother, and guilt that I couldn’t even help my son. What was wrong with me? Not to mention I was convinced the excessive amount of crying was sure to have long-term effects on his cognitive development.
I spent hours researching websites, blogs, and community posts about parenting mechanisms and coping abilities of a baby with colic.
Seldom did I find any that were helpful. Social media is full of everyone’s highlights and bullshit. No one tells you exactly how hard it can be. What got me through arguably the roughest time in my life was my family. They kept me company when I didn’t have any and they kept me sane. They also let me sneak in a few naps here and there! My mom would tell me every day, “It’s going to get better. He’s going to grow out of this.” At the time I didn’t believe her. Living it, I couldn’t find a way to be positive and to find a light at the end of the tunnel.
Gradually, the tears subsided every day – his and mine – until eventually, he outgrew his colic.
I now have a healthy 7 month old son who is smiling, laughing, and hitting all of his milestones! He is sweet, he is funny, and he is still stubborn as hell. He is our world. My husband and I love each other now more than ever. We appreciate each other’s strength and acknowledge each other’s faults without judgment. We are better parents because of our journey.
The moral of the story is this – “This too shall pass” and you are not alone.
Having a child is beautiful. Being a mom is my favorite part about myself, but the beginning was rough and those precious newborn moments were few and far between. But you know what? It’s the path we walked down to get to where we are today. And today, I’m pretty damn happy.