My fellow CTWorkingMoms.com blogger Carly has a friend whose 3 month old baby is extremely colicky. Trying to advise her today on what to say to her friend brought up some feelings from my own experience with this issue. You see, my daughter was colicky for SEVEN months straight. She would cry and cry and I would post countless Facebook status updates about the fact that I was losing my mind. Everyone has a suggestion for what you should do – run the hairdryer/vacuum, bounce them on a ball, turn the dryer on and let them lay on top of it, go for drives in the car, go for a walk etc etc. For me, and I know for many others, these suggestions only brought temporarily relief from the crying, if that.
I’m still not sure what words would have helped me as I went through this. I can 100% say that it DID get better and now that there’s about a year of distance from when the crying finally stopped, I can look back at that time with more clarity.
Do you believe that there is a reason babies are colicky? That it might not be gas, or nutrition, or your breast milk? That maybe it’s something that little girl or guy is going through, emotionally? I had never even considered that point of view until I read Kate Street’s post about the c-word (READ IT, seriously).
For my situation, as I look back, it makes so much sense to me. I had a very traumatic birth experience and my daughter was born into this world also in a state of trauma. (Read my birth experience part 1 and part 2 for more details). The trauma had a deep and profound effect on me – I had severe anxiety for weeks and cried many, many tears.
If this experience had such a profound affect on ME, an adult who can at least understand what’s happening around her, can you imagine what kind of affect it had on my newly born little girl? How scary it must have been to go from the warmth and comfort of my body to a world, that at first look, was horrifying?
No WONDER she cried, and cried, AND cried. It wasn’t about the formula giving her gas, it was about her dealing with the fear she felt when she was born. I wish I could have had this clarity while I was going through it. Maybe I could have been more compassionate, more understanding and more patient, knowing that this was her way of expressing herself. No matter what though, I’m glad I can see this clearly now, because as any mom who has had a colicky baby knows, it shakes you to the core and stays with you for a long time after the crying has stopped.
Here’s hoping that my piece today might help one person gain insight into their baby’s crying. If you’re struggling with a colicky baby right now, or have in the past, I would love to know – do you get what I’m saying here? Does it resonate with you in any way?