Please welcome our new contributor Sara! She is a mom to two beautiful girls and we hope you enjoy reading her posts on motherhood and life in Arizona.
The white numbers on my iPhone screen now tell me it’s 8:00 p.m. My easy going 3-year old is tucked into bed with no fewer than 6 stuffed animal friends, so it is now time to cue up the 5 hour scream fest from my 3-week old bundle of joy. On point, my little darling’s eyes open and the crying begins, for us both.
Day after day, this was our life with no relief. Our new little love had made it quite hard to love her every hour of the day (and night). She did not have any medical problems to cause her to cry, she just did…for hours on end. My healthy crying baby, deemed colicky, had me Googling phrases like “miracle tips for colicky baby” in the wee hours of the night while I begged her to just go to sleep.
My husband and I would just look at each other with despair as we held what was supposed to be our sweet baby. We would each try to pawn her off on the other parent. Not only that, we would rock-paper-scissors over who got be the one to take our older daughter, even when she was throwing a tantrum.
It is not easy to admit that I struggled to fully bond with our newest addition. I had to lay her in her crib, as she was flushed with frustration and belting out screams, in order to walk away and just have a moment to cry myself away from my crying baby. I then had to pull it together, to let go of my anger, and return to take care of my baby, all while completely sleep deprived at 1:00am. My husband would say, “I love her, but I really don’t like her right now,” and I didn’t have anything different to say. It was hard to want to be around her when I had nothing left to give. I felt like I was failing.
This is real life, unscripted.
When asked “How is she sleeping?” I would simply say “not well” and state that it had been rough, rather than answering with some canned cheery reply. Instead of receiving looks of pity, I found out we were not alone.
The world is a mixture of “easy” babies and ones who are tough right out the gate. Once I opened up about how I was feeling and what was going on, I found that others cared, showed compassion, and did not shame. No one called me a bad parent for having feelings of frustration, and instead asked if they could help. So I tell you, dear mammas, if you have a challenging baby, hold your head up high and know that you have company. Ask for help, talk to others, do anything you can to keep some sanity. Babies aren’t babies forever, and I haven’t yet met anyone whose older child wails like a pack of coyotes for hours in the middle of the night. Like all ages, this is a phase.
We just made it to the 10 week mark, and our baby has thankfully turned her song of screams to smiles and coos with much shorter bouts of crying and an easy 8:00 p.m. bedtime. I finally feel like she warms my heart, a place I so desperately wanted to reach earlier but couldn’t because the exhaustion had been winning. Now, I’ll await the next challenge.
Keep on sweet mammas, keep on.