I remember telling myself I would never have another child. I always thought I wanted lots of kids. I could just see myself at our cabin in the woods with kids running the forest. All my little people with sap covered elbows and dirt stained knees. But after my first born, in the early days, I swore this was it for me.
I walked on eggshells around him. I hid at home even though so desperately all I wanted was to leave. All in fear of that earth-shattering cry, that inconsolable shriek that I could not fulfill. I remember when he was born, looking at him like he wasn’t my own. Feeling blank as a stared into an unfamiliar face. Those feelings only grew as the days passed and I fought to figure out what life had become.
It’s hard to sort out any emotions from the first few weeks. I knew something was wrong, but I could easily convince myself it was nothing. I needed to prove I could figure it out on my own; I felt that I was his only advocate. As a stay at home mom, it’s easy to carry all the weight. Heck, my husband runs a business and has employees and needy clients all of which call for his attention, I should be able to handle a small human. But honestly, I was barely hanging on.
Then two months hit and the crying became worse. He stopped gaining weight. My baby who slept through the night suddenly stopped and began waking to unveil those angry sounds. His gas pains caused him to tighten his whole body, clench his fists and wail endlessly. I went to the doctor begging for answers. I knew something was wrong, and my countless hours on google had done nothing. They said it was colic or acid reflux and we started medication. Nothing happened. I went back and they told me to eliminate dairy. Nothing happened. I grew so distant from him. I dreaded even going to sleep in fear of waking up to his screaming and getting him up only knowing I could do nothing soothe him.
I think being unable to calm him is what caused me to fade from the person I thought I was. I couldn’t even handle the raw and real hurt of his situation anymore but didn’t have the words to express it. This was my job, and I couldn’t admit I was in over my head.
After many failed doctors visits I wrote on social media about how challenging it has been having a colicky baby. Someone reached out and recommend a pediatric chiropractor. Instantly I ran for any opportunity that may help him since nothing else had worked. After just a few appointments she suggested he could be tongue tied and we quickly confirmed it with a lactation consultant. Because of the limited use of his tongue, he would swallow lots of air while nursing and end up with intense gas pain. Everything became a little more clear and I hoped more than anything getting his lip and tongue tie corrected via laser would stop the crying.
Almost overnight we stopped all medication and I enjoyed cheese again. He transformed from a child who I couldn’t recognize, to a child who undeniably looks just like me. He smiled so much, strangers frequently referred to him as such a happy baby.
Looking back I can see that’s it’s the guilt that consumes us. I felt guilty because I couldn’t soothe him, guilty I couldn’t connect with a baby who cried constantly and then guilty for feeling guilty.
My heart still hurts for his delicate little soul and the pain he endured. I don’t look back on the newborn phase with warm fuzzy feelings. But I can say I would do it all over again. I will have more babies and they will run wild and explore Californias backyard. I want more babies because of his smile first thing in the morning. Because we fought to grow this relationship from the ground up. Because as emotionally exhausting and physically draining it all can be, that tiny person fills me up beyond measure. That’s a kind of goodness you fight for.