They say your first baby is always easy, just wait for number two. Well, every time I hear that, I can’t help but wonder, “If number two is going to be harder than number one, I’m not sure I’ll survive!
It all began nine and a half short months ago. After a semi-dramatic labor that almost ended in an emergency c-section, Jude made his grand entrance into the world. Those two days in the hospital were pure bliss. I was utterly exhausted, sore, and overwhelmed, but still feeling blissful and exhilarated. Every thing I’d ever wanted since I was just was little girl was placed in my hands; my very own sweet and healthy baby boy.
But, this euphoria I was living in while in the hospital was quickly followed by unbearable exhaustion, postpartum blues, and an overall feeling of inadequacy. As soon as we arrived at home with our little bundle of happiness, I immediately found myself crying for no reason. Then, Jude woke up and he began crying too. I wiped my tears away and stifled back my own emotions in order to attend to the needs of my baby. But his crying didn’t stop. He just cried and cried and cried, and then tried to eat but couldn’t latch on, so then cried some more.
This was Jude’s life for his first 3 months on earth. He would eat a little, maybe sleep a little, and then cry a lot. It never stopped. After numerous frantic doctors visits, evaluations, sleepless days and nights, food refusal, and prayers, it was finally determined that he may have food allergies/intolerances and reflux. It was such a relief to finally have some sort of plan to follow, and I held out hope that soon my baby would switch from a fussy baby to a easy going one! I cut out dairy, soy, eggs, and gluten from my diet (since I was breastfeeding), started giving Jude acid reflux medicine, and sat back waiting for things to finally get easy.
While Jude did seem to find some sort of relief from the dietary and medicinal changes, he was still far from an easy going baby, even on a good day. And on a bad day, it seemed like we were back to square one. I had spent three full months feeling like a failure of a mother, a terrible care taker, an inept house maker, just an utter mess. And these feelings only continued to magnify and grow as I felt more and more overwhelmed by Jude constantly crying out in pain.
Every day, I blamed myself. I blamed myself for eating the wrong things that made Jude uncomfortable. I blamed myself for not knowing how to help my baby. I blamed myself for struggling immensely as a new Mom. In my mind, everything was my fault. If only I could have been a more laid back, happy, in tune, easy going Mom, then maybe my son wouldn’t have all the issues he was having.
But guess what? It wasn’t my fault. And Mama, it’s not your fault either. God sent you one of His precious children to raise on this earth. He didn’t send you a perfect child, and He knew you were going to be far from a perfect Mom. But He trusts you anyway. He trusts you to care for His child in the best way you know how. He knows the issues your baby has, and He is pleading with you to talk with Him so He can help you understand that none of your baby’s problems are your fault! Although we are close, us Mama’s are not mind readers. Our children can’t always tell us what’s wrong, and we won’t always know how to proceed. We can’t do everything exactly right every second of the day. Our postpartum hormones are all over the place, and we can’t blame ourselves for feeling blue or depressed. We can’t blame ourselves for feeling overwhelmed by motherhood and having no idea if we can even make it another day.
We are not perfect, our lives are not perfect, but God is perfect and He has a perfect plan for us and our children. If you’re blaming yourself for your child’s issues, if you’re feeling inadequate and overwhelmed, if you think somehow you’ve already messed up your child’s life because you just plain don’t know what to do… STOP IT! Your baby is going to be ok, you’re going to be ok, and someday, you will look back on these months and realize how much of a warrior you are for making it through.
If you, like me, don’t have the coveted “easy first child,” just hang on tight and know that better days are ahead. It might not seem better tomorrow, or next week, or even next month, but you must hold on to the hope that one day it will be better. Comparison will steal away any happiness and hope for miles around. So don’t even think about comparing your baby to that perfect, laid back, never-cries baby you are watching in the church’s mother’s room while you frantically rock your screaming child. You were made for this baby. You were cut out for the “hard baby” life. You, my friend, are the Mama of the year so start acting like it!