For all the parents out there whose babies have suffered from colic, this is my salute to you.
Nobody expects they’ll have a baby with colic. We expect our baby will be born, it’ll be gorgeous, yeah sure we’ll have a few sleepless nights, but any cry will be quickly resolved with a burping, a feeding, or a changed diaper.
Then it hits.
The c-word of epic proportion that is both completely vague and terrifying in nature.
Why won’t this baby stop crying? Why is she so angry at you? You’re a smart human being, why can’t you make this stop? Surely there is something to make the crying stop?
Given that colic can last anywhere from weeks to months, you are bound to experience some or all of the following scenarios.
You invest in all kinds of serums, drops, swaddle sacks, rockers, babywearing and every imaginable tool to make the crying stop. It doesn’t. Your wallet is empty.
You have well-intentioned people asking “have you tried this?” While you want to punch them in the face and tell them of course you’ve tried it, you’ve tried everything the friggin-internet could possibly point to, instead you grit your teeth and nod. Safer not to use actual words.
You quickly learn that sleep deprivation is worse than anything you’ve ever experienced before. Worse than heartbreak. Worse than being laid off. Worse than that cabbage diet you tried in your 20s.
You hang your head in complete frustration when people say that you just have to wait it out, it will pass. You wonder if you can survive that long without admitting yourself to an asylum.
People say nap when the baby naps, but you can’t because your body is so strung out on stress that it’s just waiting for the next time the baby cries. It’s akin to the torture method of heavy metal music and flashing lights.
“Driving will calm them down,” promised the proverbial they. Funny, your child seems to be the exception to that rule and driving only makes your baby more angry and you more convinced that you will die in a car crash.
After a three hour rage fest, your baby finally falls asleep on your chest. You are exhausted, starving, dehydrated, emotionally wrung out, and you desperately need to pee. But you know that if you move, he’ll wake. And so you trade one torture for another and try not to wet yourself.
You start to feel like your baby hates you. It’s personal. This little being doesn’t like you, or anyone, and you can only imagine what she’s going to be like when she grows up (anti-social for sure). Stop the crazy train, this is temporary, and colic doesn’t affect personality.
If this is your first child, you may think that you’re doing something wrong, that you’re just not cut out for parenting, and that clearly it’s all your fault. You’re not. You’re a great parent. Colic is a bastard.
If this is your second, third, whatever number baby and it’s the first to have colic, and you feel like you had this coming for all the parents of colicky babies that you judged in the past. You didn’t deserve this. Nobody does. Colic is a bastard.
For the parents of colicky babies – I see you. I feel you. I’m a survivor of a baby who had colic for six months. I went through all of these emotions, and each day felt like a prison sentence. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. They will laugh. They will smile. They will become fun.
Until then, find your support. Find your tribe of parents who have experienced or are experiencing colic. Parents who haven’t experienced it, they may me well-intentioned but they can’t know it like a survivor knows it.
Seek professional support. Particularly moms of colicky babies are more prone to postpartum depression, so if you think you’re experiencing symptoms, get help now. The earlier you seek help, the easier it is to treat.
And I’m a jerk for saying this, I know, but it will pass. You’ll make it to the other side, and you’ll be part of a tribe of parents who have survived colic.
You are, and will forever be, a warrior.