The Fussy Baby Site

The Aftermath of Colic: Are You ‘Over It’?

colic: are you over it?

My kids, both former colicky babies, are now 12 and 10. In one way, colic is just a “thing” that happened over a decade ago.

And yet, I believe that for many of us, colic stays with us in one form or another for many, many years.

When my daughter had colic, I remember one of my mom’s friends recounting her own son’s colic, nearly 30 years before. I could tell that she still remembered it vividly: the exhaustion, frustration and feelings of being utterly overwhelmed.

For some parents, the aftermath of colic goes beyond simply recounting memories. Our bodies actually seem to remember that time, perhaps even more than our minds do.

Just as with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), our bodies seem to hold on to the feelings, memories and sensations we experienced during that time – that’s how incredibly stressful and intense colic can be.

There was a fantastic article a while ago in the NY Times titled, “My Post-Colic Stress Disorder“.

I know the author isn’t alone in feeling that the emotional impact of colic doesn’t end when the colic does. We long for that magical 3-4 month marker when colic ends, but then are surprised to find that while life is surely easier, we carry baggage long after the crying has stopped.

As a colic survivor, do you still experience any of the following?

  • Phantom crying (hearing your baby cry even when he’s not)
  • Insomnia or sleeplessness
  • Guilt over events that transpired during the colicky period
  • Jealousy over friends who have ‘easy’ babies
  • Feelings of extreme stress when you hear other babies cry
  • Feelings of not relating to other parents
  • Grief over missing out on what ‘could have been’.

I experienced most of these in the months and even years following Sammy’s colic. In fact, for years I struggled with relating to parents who tell me how easy-going their babies are. I couldn’t understand or relate, to their experience of parenting.

“…I still talk too much about how colicky our son was and overreact when other parents tell me about their docile little angels. When a friend at our baby swim class told me that her daughter rarely cries and has always taken three-hour naps, my jaw dropped. “Are you [expletive] kidding me?” blurted out of my mouth. When another friend casually plopped their quiet newborn onto a couch cushion and then sat down at their computer sipping tea watching YouTube videos while their baby “chilled,” my head fell into my hands in disbelief. Our baby never “chilled.”

“I’ve got to let it go,” I recently told my wife. But I find it difficult to be happy for couples that have easy babies. I struggle to empathize with their problems, which always seem incrementally smaller than ours were. I want other parents to feel our colicky pain; to know what it’s like to give a baby love and get intense screaming and 30 minute-naps in return. It’s ridiculous and selfish, but this is the form my PCSD has taken.”

Read the full article here.

How did you move on after having a colicky baby? Do you still struggle with feelings of guilt, stress, or jealousy because of your baby’s colic?