Sunday, November 6, 2011

Moms Dealing with Colic: It's Going to be OK

If God wants you to only have one child, he gives you a baby with colic to start with. At least, this is the lesson I've learned.

Why would I ever want to go through that again? Holy shit. No thanks.

My mother swears that the second one is easy. “The second one is an angel baby!”

I will not fall for that trap.

I don’t know why I thought that I would be free from the curse of colic. When I was pregnant, I just did not prepare myself for that (although, how does anyone prepare for colic?). No, I was a highly effective, organized, all-put-together type! I would have a highly effective, organized, all-put-together baby type too! Or at least a baby who followed a schedule and loved to snuggle and sleep, sleep, sleep all the live long day as I nuzzled his soft cheek and we lay in bed together, peaceful-like, just like pictures in magazines.

Instead, I remember hanging on to my last shred of sanity, hoping and waiting for the screaming to stop because there was really nothing that could ever help it stop.

One day, my husband told me I needed to get out. There were some things we needed at Target! Yes, I would go to Target. It was a glorious idea.

I had to wait for this angry baby to fall asleep so I could go. I was still breastfeeding, and I had to make my escape at a time that my body would not be needed.

I was very, very impressed by my husband’s bravery. I didn’t want to be alone with the thing, much less be a person without lactation services. “What if he wakes while I’m gone and starts crying and wants to feed?” I asked.

“I’ll deal with it. It’s ok,” he reassured me.

Eventually, the baby fell asleep. I was scared. It was my moment, and I was just scared. I suddenly felt urgent that I had to take care of this mission as quickly as possible. It had become an errand, something that must be done, rather than a chance to get out, but I made myself do it anyway.

I drove to Target in the rain, feeling strange to be alone in my car. Alone in my car with my own music. Like the person I used to be. I felt I would never be that person again. I felt that I was changed forever. And it freaked me out.

I hurried through Target. If anyone got in my way, I wanted to frantically scream, “I have a baby at home that screams and cries!! It could happen at any minute!! I have to be there, and you are in my way, you mother fucker!” Seriously. It was temporary insanity.

I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. The whole experience totally stressed me out. Freakin’ Target.

As I neared our street, a thought struck me dumb.

There’s no way I can ever go through this again.

I started bawling. I felt like a failure. I couldn’t have another baby! I wouldn’t be able to give my child a sibling. I was not cut out for this. How do all the other mothers do this?? How do they have more than one for crying out loud??

Something was wrong with me. Perhaps I wasn’t supposed to be a mom. Perhaps my husband and I were supposed to be those travel-types for the rest of our lives.

I pulled up to the house and didn’t know what would meet me on the other side. Crying? Quiet? Peace? Chaos? My home was no longer my sanctuary I could trust to get away from the world. It was filled with constant responsibility.

I dried my eyes, grabbed my bags, and walked inside. It was quiet.

I remember I was actually able to go crawl into bed with that sleeping baby and read a book for about an hour. Being near to him and knowing he was okay, while I was still able to do something I loved was exactly what I needed.

I wish I could have told myself back then, “It’s going to be ok. You will feel yourself again, sooner than you realize. You will get more and more of these beautiful moments all the time.”

Colic does not last forever. In fact, it is merely a blip in time. A hazing. Everything gets to be a whole lot more fun eventually.

But don’t ask me if I’m having another one.


XLMIC said...

My first was colicky, too. O was so rough. No one gets it unless they've lived it. I banked on that thing your mom said :) That and the saying that the second is the total opposite of the first. My husband didn't understand that logic...he had already forgotten the Colic Purgatory. My second was an angel-baby and continues to be the sweetest, most easy-going, socially adept kid. She is now 9 and her older brother is 12. And I braved the odds and had two more :)

Good for you for getting through that rough stuff and sharing your wisdom with others!

blueviolet said...

Colic was so very hard to get through, and it was also really weird how it just BOOM ended too. I hear you on not being super excited about repeating that adventure.

Eva Gallant said...

Half of why the second one is so easy is you've done it before! You're more relaxed, and as a result, so is the baby. Don't be discouraged about having another if you really want to.

Jen said...

I totally understand where you are coming from. I get it.

championm2000 said...

Oh, just reading your post brought all of that angst back (minus the endless screaming, of course). Drew had colic. I had anxiety. Plus, he had a twin that needed me. We were a mess. Seriously.

Like you, I wish I could go back and tell that anxious me a thing or two.

Venassa said...

I'm pretty sure my girl has a touch of colic. Everyone says it gets better. I'm just wondering when.

Natalie said...

Wow beautifully written! I think every mother needs to read this!

texasmacks said...

I know exactly what you mean about your body being needed. I feel house arrest sometimes because of the need to nurse. My baby is 8 weeks right now. Thankfully she doesn't have colic but I find myself when I'm waiting somewhere that I want to scream at them, "I need to get home before my baby goes ballistic!"

Nicole said...

Wow, you totally nailed it! My husband actually FORGOT what it was like, I have no idea how, now everytime our second one cries he complains how horrible it is. I think its heaven because it is normal baby cries, not endless screaming!

I wouldn't wish colic on my worst enemy!

Glen said...

shudder cringe - I'd just about forgotten all that - damn you!! :-)

TV's Take said...

Love this! I always rushed home too but in reality I needed many many hours away from my tough baby.

jazzygal said...

Oh, how well you tell your tale. It is quite similar to mine! The colic, the screaming baby, the need to do everything quickly within his quiet, sleeping, non-screaming moments. The need to tell people 'my baby will scream any minute, I need to get served quickly'...and that's with my baby with me!! It didn't work. And he DID start screaming!

Of course in our case there was also a side order of Autism Spectrum Disorder to complement the colic for our only child!!

No way I'm doing that again either. Too late anyway!! Phew....saved by by the biological bell!

xx Jazzy

MommaKiss said...

Promise not to ask if you're going thru it again - and thank GOD neither of my kids had colic. The bewitching hours were hard enough. God speed to all who deal with it. Plus, Target deserves to be savored - never rushed :)

Tina Lane said...

I'll never forget the time my boss's baby had colic. It was hell on everyone.

Cam | Bibs and Baubles said...

Totally been there. But I'm crazy enough to want another one. So funny, I described it as hazing too!

jess said...

Oh man, did you ever hit the nail on the head... I remember our young, non-mother pediatrician telling me about how my son's reaction to nurse a little every hour (all the way through four months of age) was actually a pretty smart way to keep his reflux under control. I kinda wanted to punch her a little. No way would I want to do all that again.

On the other hand... we survived it and my kiddo is pretty awesome. :)

Tat @ Mum in search said...

I hope it gets better for you. And how do people decide to have a second one? Memories fade. After a while you only remember all the good things. Just ask my mum. Somehow she tells how she had to sleep with her breast in my brother's mouth for 9 months and what angels we were, and how it's not normal for babies to cry and why are my kids crying so much. All in the same story.

Tenille @ My Family Table said...

I think you've stumbled across a biological explanation for 'baby brain'; we forget so are willing to go and do it all again...

Jokes aside, you're right though. If you take a few deep breaths you do find that this too, eventually will pass.

Healthy Mom Project said...

I went through the same thing but with my second child. I couldn't believe it was happening and didn't have a clue what to do. And I had the same anxiety attacks when I went out. I remember once going to Superstore for groceries and abandoning my full cart in the line up because I couldn't bear to be there another minute. So thankful that time is behind me!

Anonymous said...

I'm recognising Anxiety Girl in myself and hey, her tights might be tight but those pants are huuuuge! ;) Oh and my mum had two of us, it was the second who had colic so maybe you could risk it! But then again number one (moi!) was the allergic, puking across rooms baby so I guess you never quite know what you're gonna get! ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm now afraid to have a second child, because we were so blessed to not have to deal with this and I know life will not allow me that peace twice in a row. But the fact that you survived is heartening.

Shell said...

My first didn't have colic, but he was the world's worst sleeper. We still say we aren't sure how we ever decided to have more after dealing with that.

Melissa said...

Haven't had to deal with colic with my first two kids. Wish me luck on my 3rd (and last) baby, due April 9th.

Coincidentally, my first outing after my son was born was to Target also. I bet a lot of moms can say the same. Ha!

Deb said...

I actually talked the doctors out of forcing me to stay another night. My son was born just after midnight, so that I argued: "What, you need me here another day because he wasn't born just the other side of midnight?"

I felt victorious. I felt free. And then night came, and I hated myself. I wanted to plead to be let back into the hospital.

I do want another child. I've told Ba.D. that I know a lot better now that kids will survive minor mishaps, that they'll be OK even if breastfeeding isn't going well, that it's OK to get out and have glorious moments to myself. Still, I think he remembers the 6-7 weeks before I realized that before, and is wary!

Middle State/MomZombie said...

My first child also had colic, allergies to all things milk and dairy, and constant respiratory infections. If only the Internet had been available to me then, I would have done things differently. As it went, she suffered greatly as we tried this and that. with doctors and formulas and diets. Not until she was 4 (four years of this!) when she was hospitalized, did we learn she had allergic asthma. When baby No. 2 came along, I was prepared for the worst -- which never happened. Thank goodness.