A friend texted me yesterday…even though it was just a text, I could hear her anxiety. “Hey, what did you do when Joey would cry all the time?” She just had her second baby and explained that the baby had been crying for over an hour already. Apparently it happens every day, all day. My heart sank for her. I had been there, at my wits end, tired, frustrated, and not knowing what to do. We chatted some more and she told me that the baby spits up all the time, she goes through 3 – 4 outfits a day. So on top of a crying baby, she now has more laundry to deal with. Her 3 year old daughter has also expressed interest in using the potty! Ugh, I seriously felt so bad…and was having flash backs to when Joey was a new born. Those first few months with Joey are a blur now, but I will never forget how I felt about the situation. I felt alone, tired, useless, and stupid. All these things because I had failed as a mother. My daughter, my beautiful, tiny, perfect little daughter was crying out for help and I couldn’t do anything.
With my first daughter I thought I was winning the mommy game. People always said how hard being a new parent was and I was skipping through it. My oldest daughter was a dream…I just didn’t know it! I would laugh when people complained about how difficult their baby was. I was so happy I was doing such a great job and that my baby was so good! Joey snapped me back into reality and taught me so many lessons on being a mommy. I am very thankful for this!
Before having Joey, I judged…man did I judge. I judged what people let their kids eats, watch, wear…you name it and I judged it. I never said anything to them, but in my head I was hosting a talk show worse then the Daily Show…just ripping them apart. Now, if I see an 4 year old with a binky in their mouth, I smile and don’t think anything of it. If a friend tells me the only way their baby will sleep is in the swing at night, I tell them to do “whatever works”!!
At some point survival mode kicked in. I just did whatever I had to do to get through the day. When Joey was sleeping (she was a good napper, thank God) I would cook meals and sneak in naps for myself. But when she was awake, I did a lot of bouncing and walking. We left the house a lot too. I would go to people’s houses that I knew would be understanding and that wanted to hold Joey! She loved to be held! I had a toddler at the time that needed me, which made it double difficult. Some times I just had to pick the child that needed me more and tend to that one, this killed me at first but became the norm. Thankfully Nicki got really good at doing things for herself.
Do Whatever You Have to Do
This is seriously the most important advice I can give to any mom that is struggling. And this is what I told my friend yesterday. Just get through the day and do whatever you have to do! If this means wearing the baby all day, do it! I wore Joey in a Moby for as long as I can remember. I would give Nicki baths while wearing Joey…I did everything while wearing Joey. If it means calling take out for dinner again, do it! If it means the laundry doesn’t get done, oh well! Just get through the day!!
Be an advocate
For months I begged my doctor to give me acid re flux medicine. He denied me each time. He told me that she was fine and what I was going through was normal. Finally, at 4 months I broke…I called him a sadist and demanded the medicine. (I no longer use him as my doctor). I could hear the fluid coming up in Joey’s throat and then hear her swallowing it. I can’t imagine how painful that was for her to deal with. Thankfully the medicine started working immediately and just like that, the crying stopped! But months of being held and soothed seemed to turn into a needy baby. So now, she just liked to be held. Which I accepted and did.
I was always an independent person. If people offered help, I would say “no thanks”. I figured I could do it all on my own, and if I accepted help it meant I was weak. After having Joey, I took all the help I could get…from friends, family, and even strangers! I was food shopping once with both girls and just started using the Moby. I really needed to put Joey down to adjust the wrap, but there was no where to put her. I scanned around and saw a nice looking older woman. I asked her if she could hold Joey for a second. She said “of course” and was happy to help. She waited and helped me get adjusted…I was so thankful!
If you are going through this right now, I promise it will end. I promise you will get through it. I promise you will not lose your mind (totally). I promise life will return to the normal you once knew. And I promise you are a great mom with a great baby! Some day you will look back and laugh at some of the things you had to do to get through the day! I do!!
Now Joey is the sweetest child…and loves to cuddle! And she hardly ever cries. She is so tough! Maybe it’s true, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.