I sat in my hospital bed, sore and lonely. I was nursing my beautiful new baby, yet again, through the pain. I have been here before, I shouldn't have been surprised by the pain. She was crying and inconsolable and I was overwhelmed. My eyes were puffy from crying, I could feel it.
Maternity leave is a blur for the most part. There are things that stick out such as some sort of white noise in every room because that is the only sound that would quiet her cries. Bouncing, lots of bouncing, bouncing in the bathroom because the fan was running, bouncing in the kitchen in front of the running stove vent, bouncing outside to keep her from waking the toddler. Walks in the stroller with people looking as I tried so hard to find the perfect white noise for her on my cell phone. Google at 5pm and 7pm and 3am. Venting to my mom friends and the godsend that is Amazon Prime. Receiving shipments daily that contained colic calm, gas drops, gripe water, baby heating pads, probiotic drops, and even the Windi (just google it, it's not a moment I am proud of). Desperation, that is a clear feeling I remember along with helplessness. My baby was miserable, if she was awake and not crying it was a good day. I had no answers but I tried everything I possibly could to figure it out. I never stopped trying. I blamed my diet, my oversupply, I thought she had reflux, I think somewhere between the oversupply and reflux I landed on "it's just colic".
"Just colic" are two words that should not ever be said together. Colic is life changing. Colic feels defeating. Colic makes you feel like a failure. Colic makes you doubt every decision you make, from your breakfast choices to how you hold you child. Colic is maddening. Colic makes you angry and then guilty for being angry at this little helpless child and then sad for this child, she must be in so much pain. I clearly remember crying right along with her many nights. She would be crying, I would be bouncing her and crying myself.
There was one night I remember in particular, seven weeks into this new life of ours. I walked out of her room, tears in my eyes. I needed to step away and tag in my husband. He looked at me and said "Well that's not too bad, it took seven weeks for you to get to this point". I looked at him and said "Not quite, I cry almost every night". He's not at all to blame for not being as involved in this process as I was. He was taking care of our oldest and since I was nursing and not pumping, he couldn't really take over the feedings. During those nights I felt very alone. I felt alone even though I read post after post about other moms experiencing this same thing and despite everyone giving me a time frame where it would likely get better, it felt like I'd never get there.
Most people said by twelve weeks, all of this would go away. This felt like unattainable. I wasn't sure how much more I could take. It made me extremely sad to know that the only twelve weeks I would get alone with her would be spent in this state. It felt impossible.
Despite all of my doubt and dread, she did get better. Around ten weeks she stopped crying as much and we even had a nice ending to my maternity leave. Those ten weeks were some of the hardest times in my life. I felt like a bad mother for not being able to fix her, not even mentioning the lack of time I was spending with my oldest.
In the end this is all a distant memory. I now have a spunky almost two year old that is still a lot of work but it's a much easier type of work in comparison. Our nights are now spent reading her favorite books, which lately has been "all of them", instead of bouncing and crying together. Our days together are full of painting and bubbles and dress-up. It gets better.
If you are in this season of life, I see you. I see your tears and I see your frustration. Focus on the end, have hope for the end. It will end. Your little baby will get bigger and grow out of this phase. You will become a normal, functioning member of your community again. You are doing everything right. You are a great mom even though I know at time it doesn't feel like it. Pretty soon you will be worrying about teething and crawling and introducing new foods. Motherhood is never void of opportunities for worry but this specific season of worry will end, I promise.