before we begin: i'm well aware that i announced a couple of posts ago that i was going to be going private, and that is still my intention. but i'm waiting on something.....a possibility, that would actually require me to continue to keep it open....and until i hear from that possibility, i want to keep writing. so i know it makes me look like a flaky-flake, but i'm a-okay with that for now.
eat, sleep and poop babies.
i had heard that they existed, and had been around several friends who had them, but never believed that i would actually become the mother of one.
i think God knew that if i was handed another colicky newborn, my brain my split in half and i would need a lobotomy to erase the memories of screaming babies just to be able to function.
if you've never had a colicky newborn--i'm not talking about a baby with "fussy times" or a "hard baby" or a "high maintenance baby" because that's just child's play--but an actually colicky newborn, then you might not know of the relief that i'm speaking of when i refer to the blessing that is sweet baby june.
a blog that i absolutely love, written by a girl that i admire, is right now in the middle of a true colicky newborn. and one of her posts gave me a little PTSD, i'm not going to lie. she writes about it so honestly that it takes me back to those moments of desperation and sleep deprivation at 1 a.m., 2 a.m., 3 a.m. praying and walking and tears streaming down my face simultaneously with my child's. feeling that this was endless, while also knowing that it would eventually come to an end.
she recently wrote a post on things that could help during the months of colic, and boy oh boy do i wish blogs had been all the rage 6 years ago with caleb. these tips would have seriously helped. but i'm linking them here anyway, for anyone else who needs them:
anyway, my intention on writing this was supposed to be about gratitude for my soon-to-be month old eat, sleep and poop baby.
it's not that june doesn't cry.
one day while driving in utah, she was hungry and holy moly did she let me know! she was so upset that her loud squawks caused her to start coughing over and over again.
last night, she had some bubbles and was discontent for an hour or two until we got those out. there was some crying and a lot of squirming. then after her bath she was cold and angry about it. then i accidentally bent her foot the wrong way while dressing her and i have never heard that cry from her before, the cry of pain. it was the cry of pain that with both of my first two kids was the only one i seemed to hear for the first few months.
but here is the difference with june's cries:
i can comfort her.
and she stops.
to some that may sound like a ridiculous thing to take note of. but with a colicky baby, there is very little comfort. it's momentarily, or if you're lucky then the comfort can last a few minutes. and then the screams begin again. it's what caused me to do anything and everything in order to keep my babies asleep. i didn't care about a schedule, i didn't care if their food came from me or from a can of formula. i didn't care if i had showered, or brushed my teeth, or changed my clothes, or when i had last eaten. i just cared about them sleeping, and the crying to stop.
i remember when leah was born, for two weeks i was in absolute heaven. i thought that maybe all of caleb's months of crying had been caused by his other health problems. then when the two week curse hit, and the screaming began, i felt like i had been ripped quickly out of newborn bliss with such a force that it felt like i had whiplash.
before june was born, there was a lot of anxiety around her coming. mainly for me, because i wasn't sure how i was going to handle another colicky newborn, and my fear was that those were the only type of babies that i was going to have. i used to jokingly/sarcastically say, "we're just blessed with hard babies, i guess," but i really believed it. and that fact quickly changed my dreams of having 5 children down to the reality that maybe 2 was all we would have...or at the most, 3.
it was the reason that i spaced almost 4 years between my 1st and 2nd child, and the reason that if things had been left up to me when planning a family, i would not have even thought about getting pregnant with my 3rd until leah was getting ready for kindergarten.
to be honest, i waited on pins and needles during june's first two weeks. anxious that she was going to change from this sweet little thing into a screaming banshee overnight. but those two weeks have come and gone, and i am writing this as she naps away in her bed, which she has been doing for over an hour now.
one of the biggest insults to me during the time of having a colicky baby was hearing people say, "well, the baby picks up on the mother's feelings. if the mother is upset or anxious or high strung, then the baby will be too." i listened to those foolish comments and owned them, taking the blame of my screaming child onto myself and trying to calm down so that my child would follow my lead.
but in case anyone reading this has heard the same comments, or carried guilt around that you were the cause of your child's colic, let me just say this:
it's not true.
i'm sure that my emotional state that came after hours of trying everything without relief didn't help my crying baby, but i completely and 100% disagree that a colicky child begins or continues because of the mother's emotions. i knew that i hadn't started out upset or frazzled or emotional the way that i became after hours of screaming. it isn't who i am.
i remember being so sad and bitter about caleb as a newborn. because i felt like due to his colic and health problems and inability to be comforted, i couldn't be the mother that i felt that i truly was. i had to let go of the thought that i could just take my baby around everywhere while he was content, or listen to him coo, or get things done while he slept. i did have to keep living life, or as much as i could while he screamed on.
but with june, i am the mother that i want to be.
i can talk to her and sing to her and just lay down face-to-face and stare at her and laugh at her hilarious newborn expressions. i wasn't able to do much of either of that with my first two. i can eat whatever i want to while nursing her! that's a new thing entirely.
the transition from 2 to 3 kids hasn't been too difficult so far, i must say. but i think that's partly because i was gearing up for battle before june was born, preparing for the worst. getting everything in order and giving myself permission to become a hermit for a few months, picturing myself pacing floors in the middle of the night and facing the mornings with dark undereye circles.
instead, i have felt fantastic. physically, mentally and emotionally. i'm still kind of a hermit because newborns require more time and effort to go out and about, but not the type of hermit i was expecting.
and june has fit right in to our family. the two older kids love her, but luckily are just soft and sweet with her. i was wondering how leah would do, but she's followed caleb's example of talking in a whisper-voice when she is around and giving her stuffed animals to play with.
caleb absolutely adores june. he asks about her when he comes home from school and is really helpful with her whenever she needs anything. such a good big brother.
so anyway, to those who have only experienced colicky newborns, i feel your pain. i know of the exhaustion and desperation. hang in there, is the best i can say. to those who haven't had a colicky newborn....try not to say things that minimize what it is to have one. just be supportive. and maybe spend an hour or two with a colicky baby.
then come back and we'll talk. :)
here is the first post i wrote on the day that leah began to come out of her colicky time, and it describes how i feel about june right now.
i'm so grateful she's here and for her content-ness. that for the most part, she just eats, sleeps and poops. i know what it feels to have a newborn not be this way, and i feel that it means just that much more to me that she is so calm and content.
tasting the sweet after the bitter is such a lesson on perspective, and gratitude.
and i'm glad that for right now, it's a lesson that i can enjoy while being on the other side of it.