So you get home from the hospital with this wonderful bundle of joy and you are thrilled to embrace your newest family member. In our case, our latest addition was a beautiful baby girl named Jocelyn. The first week went by…she cried all day long. Then the first month creeped by…she was still wailing. After three months, I was discouraged. I had come to the conclusion that she was just plain angry. She didn’t want to be cuddled or played with or even held really. She just wanted to be back in that warm cushy home I had made for her in my belly for the past nine months.
As people would offer their unsolicited advice, I grew more frustrated. After three months I had already tried everything and been to checkups and had come to the conclusion that she was just an angry baby. She wasn’t hungry, cold, wet, teething or in any other sort of pain…she was just plain old cheesed off. I found the one and only thing that made her happy was the swing. She would stop crying and would just be a peace while she was in it.
I would get asked, ‘Why do you leave her in the swing all the time?’ or ‘Maybe she cries because she wants to be held’. Although comments weren’t intentionally hurtful, I still took great offence and felt like my skills as a mother were being questioned. Obviously I wanted to hold and cuddle my baby… she just didn’t like that. It became a rule in our house that if you took Jocelyn out of the swing you couldn’t leave before you got her to stop crying.
Long story short, if you have a baby like Jocelyn who is as I put it ‘Just plain angry’, know that it is not you and lots of mothers go through this. After three or four months of crying has passed, know that it will get better and you are doing an AWESOME JOB. Any mother that can sustain any shred of sanity through months of crying should be commended. As a side note, my daughter is now an amazingly affectionate child that cuddles with me every morning, afternoon and night (really any chance she gets). Here are a few of my own survival tips:
1. If the swing works….use it. (or any other helpful apparatus for that matter)
2. Know that there is an end to the crying…it just seems like forever.
3. It’s okay to not love every minute of being a mom when the piercing screams overshadows everything else. We’re not perfect.
4. Ask for help. Everyone else seems to think they can stop the crying…take them up on it.
5. Take a break. Put your child somewhere safe and take a minute to yourself.
6. Get out of the house. If you can get out for a run/walk or whatever you enjoy, a little fresh air and some space always helps.
7. Keep doing what you love. Our family loves camping, so even though it was a lot of work, we kept on doing our trips with a screaming baby and I’m so glad that we did.
8. Don’t take the criticism. This is the hardest one. Call people out on what they are saying, so that you don’t end up spending any of your free time stewing.
9. PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK…you’re doing a great job, and you are a good mom. Motherhood might not get easier…but it will most certainly get quieter.