My first two babies weren't easy by any means, but I could count on a few things: they always fell asleep in the car and, eventually, I could usually stop their crying with some comforting or feeding. Then my third child came into this world and all the confidence I had as a mom went straight out the window.
He had colic and would cry almost all the time. He only slept for a few hours at a time until he was 9 months old. I tried everything but nothing helped, ever.
I clearly remember one day when he was 6 weeks old and I was determined to deliver all the Christmas cookies I had made to our neighbors, despite the fact he had been crying all day. He wouldn't nap—not even for the half hour I could usually count on—and he would only stop crying for a minute if I nursed him. But then he'd jerk away and start crying again.
In tears myself, I got my three kids bundled up, buckled them in the car and delivered those damn cookies as huge, salty tears ran down both our cheeks. My two older kids were only 3 and 1, but they were silent. They knew Mama was about to break.
I didn't know what else to do. I felt helpless. I loved my child but I needed to be away from him. Every last nerve was shot, but I figured I could stay home and cry with him, or I could get out of the house and cry with him. I chose to get out the house as a coping mechanism. I was afraid if we stayed in between those four walls, I might run away.
As moms, we get to know what our kids need. But if you have a baby that suffers from colic, that luxury is gone. You have no sense of normalcy. There's nothing as frustrating as trying to calm your child after they've been screaming for hours and you are so depleted, you feel it in your bones.
Having a baby with colic is one of the toughest things to go through as a mom. It changes you.
You cry with them because you need some way to express how exhausted and hopeless you feel.
Every little thing rattles you.
If someone asks you for a favor, it always feels like they are asking for too much.
You are angry, you are sad, your stomach turns as soon as the crying starts because you know you are in for it. It's usually up to you to fix it, even if you can't fix it.
You are always desperate to make them stop crying—for their comfort and your sanity.
You can't concentrate on anything. Relaxing, physically or mentally, doesn't exist for you.
Your doctor's appointments leave you feeling lost and like there's no hope. You think, I will never sleep again. You want to give up, but more than that, you want to comfort your child and take away whatever is causing them to cry so much because it is slowly killing you.
I was not the same person when I was trying to console my colicky baby.
It's a true test for any parent to endure, and when it's all over—and it will be over, I promise—you may even experience some PTSD symptoms every time you hear a baby cry. I certainly did. But like every other hard thing you go through as a parent, you will get through it. When you do, you will look back and think, Damn, if I survived through that, I can get get through anything.
And then you will hopefully be able to lay your head down every night and have that delicious sleep that has so long eluded you.