Adjusting to mommyhood was tough for me and on top of that, Greta was/is not an “easy” baby.
Yes, I understand that all babies require tons and tons of attention. And I understand that first time moms go through a huge adjustment period.
But I also came to understand that Greta cried, a lot. More than the typical baby. And it sucked. Greta would cry and fuss for hours out of the day. The majority of her awake time was spent fussing or screaming.
I remember when she was probably a month old being at my parents’ house, my dad was walking her around the house showing her different things. I called my husband, Russ, ecstatic, “Greta has been awake for 30 minutes without crying.” It was that unusual.
I could not take her out anywhere for the first 6 weeks. It wasn’t just that she would start screaming, it was that she would KEEP screaming. No one could stop her.
Seriously. She would go for at least an hour straight with no pause (and good lord, I know that there are colicky babies who go for hours and hours. God bless those parents, and those poor babies).
I had people tell me to ignore the crying. “Babies cry. Do what you normally would do.” I tried to heed this advice.
I remember taking Greta for a walk. She started crying after 5 minutes, per usual, but this day I decided to walk through it. Because everyone seemed to think that either A. She would stop crying or B. I would enjoy the walk despite the screams.
Well, neither happened. She screamed for 40 minutes straight. And there is NOTHING relaxing about walking with a screaming baby.
I think most people thought I exaggerated her fussiness. There are a few people who were able to witness her crying jags. But most other people saw a “typical” baby when they were hanging out with us. I think a different environment or different faces kept her distracted or entertained for brief periods of time.
When I read the definition that Dr. Weissbluth describes for colicky/extremely fussy babies, I turned to my husband Russ and said, “THAT IS GRETA!” The fact that such a definition exists made me feel a little better–there had to be other parents out there struggling then.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know/don’t know any of these parents. Well, that is a lie. I know one set of parents–my parents.
Apparently I was an extremely fussy baby. Go figure. So I had my mom, and a slew of other people who did not seem to believe me when I told them that Greta was pretty tough. Who knows, maybe I’m making that up. But I do know that I felt like no one understood. At all.
Now that Greta is close to 7 months old, life is dramatically better for all of us. I can bring Greta into stores without thinking twice. The other day I realized I actually pumped gas with Greta in the car and she didn’t start screaming.
We have actually been places with Greta for more than an hour without having to leave (for months, Greta needed to sleep pretty much after an hour or less of being awake–and this baby only naps in her swing during the day. Trust me, we have tried all other options.).
Greta’s awake time is often times filled with smiles and laughter. She is still a pretty high maintenance baby, but I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
She has character, and keeps us on our toes. No reverting to the same old same old with Greta around!
For months we tried to figure out if there was a cause for her fussiness to no avail and we will never know why she was so fussy.
Her pediatrician is pretty sure that she is a very sensitive baby, who was colicky.
I wouldn’t wish an extremely fussy/colicky baby on anyone. But I know that someday my path will cross with a mom who is losing her mind because she has such a baby, and has no one in her life who really understands, and I will be there for that mom.
I should also note that I realize how lucky I am to have a healthy baby. I do not take that for granted, but in all honesty, when I am stressed, anxious and generally not in the best frame of mind, it doesn’t seem to lessen any of these emotions to tell myself, “at least I have a healthy baby.”
I am glad that things have settled down enough that I can fully appreciate the gift that I have been given. Okay, so maybe there are still days that I don’t exactly see it as a “gift” but every single day there are at least moments that I do.
And I love that baby girl more than I ever thought possible, because, no lie, I didn’t know if I was ever going to reach that feeling with Greta. And that was really scary.
If you are a mom who was blessed with that feeling from the moment you laid eyes on your little one and never wavered with that love, you are fortunate. But just remember, it doesn’t work that way for everyone. And that is okay. I really believe that.
Amy lives in New England with her husband Russell and their adorable three year old daughter Greta. Amy works as a middle school teacher and is amazed at the parallels between adolescents and toddlers. She maintains her sanity by running, baking, and laughing.
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