GUEST BLOG: COLIC MAKES MUMMY CRY TOO, SWEETIE by Amy Waterhouse
Colic / noun : Severe pain in the abdomen caused by wind or obstruction in the intestines and suffered especially by babies.
Ummm yeah I guess so. OR;
Colic / noun : For every second your new baby is awake, it’s screaming. YOU’RE SINGING REALLY LOUDLY (AND BADLY) TO DROWN HIM OUT. Oh, he finally fell asleep on your 187th bouncy-walk lap around the living room? Don’t you dare try to put him down.. Bloody told you didn’t I? Awake and screaming again! See also: possessed, insomniac, wine enthusiast.
Someone could have handed me a dictionary and told me to look up “colic” as a forewarning to birthing my first son, Jack. I didn’t even know it was a thing.
Being a new mum is so stressful. You’re winging/googling it as it is because babies don’t get sent with an instruction manual detailing how to keep them alive. Combine thatconstant uncertainty with a sore, healing fanny, sleepless nights, little to no personal hygiene, forgetting to eat, and generally being an emotionally unstable person – you’ve got a pretty big, uncontrollable shitstorm on your hands.
I was extra lucky, because my baby came with a FREE bout of incessant crying. I’m not talking about the normal “communication” cry, which settles when bubba gets what they are asking for. I’m talking about a hysterical, red-in-the-face, ball-fisted, curled-up-leggedSCREAMING mini-human, who will not calm down, and who will not sleep. EVER*.
*Doctor Google told me it would settle around 12 weeks, but that’s still a fucking eternity for someone to be crying. Jack settled about 14 weeks.
When Jack came into the world, I immediately felt very protective of him. I didn’t feel the automatic, overwhelming sense of love for him straight away, and I was worried about that. I ended up feeling it few weeks after he was born. I think the initial “shock to my system” masked most of my emotions in the early days. The colicky crying certainly did not help. I never really got to “gaze” at my newborn as he slept peacefully, because he hardly did. Instead, I was tearing my hair out as he screamed, wondering why I was such a bad mother and couldn’t make him happy.
About a week after he was born, we decided to take a family trip to Medicare to have him all registered and accounted for. (pre- the days of that app that you can do it all on now.. So much better!) We were still in our “idiot-first-time-parents” bubble, where we thought newborns just slept in prams while their mum and dad push them around and do stuff, occasionally giving them a feed or a clean nappy. Haha. Hadn’t even gotten out of the car when that bubble burst and the mini-human went into meltdown mode. Wouldn’t stop. Shit. I was also still in the “I-need-to-show-the-world-I-can-still-function” new mum bubble (I am also no longer living in denial – that bubble has since burst, revealing a mum-bun-wearing, stay-at-home, sloth like mess of a woman). I told a reluctant Clint “I’m sure he will stop crying after he’s been pushed around in the pram for a bit, we need to get this done, let’s go!”
At least you can tell an interrupting threenager to stop, or answer their question so that they go away. Try talking to Medicare lady over the top of screaming child. “Maybe you could come back another day, hun?” Bloody Medicare woman questioning my ability to parent my little banshee? I’M AN AWESOME, EXPERIENCED, MOTHER WITH A ONE WEEK RESUME!
“No, it’s fine, we’re fine.”
I sent Clint outside to do laps with Jack while I finished the paperwork. I couldn’t concentrate properly, watching the little screwed up, red, wailing face in the pram while Clint paced around in a giant square, getting stared at by passers by. Don’t even know how we managed to get Jack on the birth register, but somehow it happened, before we piled back into the car to go home – Clint considering a vasectomy, and me wondering what the hell I had done to my life by bringing this baby into it.
Most of my early motherhood memories consist of me, holding Jack upright, facing-out, walking and bouncing for HOURS around our house. It was the only way he would be remotely settled. Day and night. I swear I NEVER had any time to myself, and lived off leftover Easter Eggs for weeks (perks of having a baby in April!) It was exhausting, but if I ever put him down, he would start wailing. The only other way I could shut him up was by feeding him. Didn’t realise that by doing this, I was creating more “wind” for him, and putting him in even more pain.
I’m sorry baby. Mama didn’t know. She was just doing the best she could.
It was a vicious, never ending cycle; feed; windy baby; walk; feed; even windier; now overtired because he hasn’t slept due to the pain he’s in; feed; walk; repeat. FML.
“Me? Fed up of this shit? Never.” Jack would have been about 4 weeks old here. I look about 55 – but was actually a spring chicken at 23.
Friends and family would come over wanting to hold the beautiful bundle of screaming bloody murder. He was not a typical cuddly newborn, and they would quickly hand him back with “Haha.. I think he wants his Mama?” FML again. All I wanted was for someone to take him from me and FIX HIM!
We eventually found some things that seemed to ease the pain;
Baby swing: Couldn’t be arsed having the whole of Babies ‘R Us staring at us, so we found one down the road from us on Gumtree. The music would drown him out a bit, and the movement would stop him from crying for a while, so I could pull myself together.
Palming him off to Nannas: Because your mum/MIL understands. Really, truly.
Colic mixture/Gripe water: We have a really good chemist near us that makes their own mixture. Basically it relaxes bubs digestive system and makes it easier for them to release trapped wind from their bellies (burp and fart). You can also get generic branded versions of his in pharmacies and supermarkets.
My Dyson: Plug that shit in and relax to the soothing sounds of the vacuum.
Hug-a-Bub wrap: If I could go back in time, would have had this from birth. Best. Baby. Tool. Ever. You can be hands free to get shit done and the baby will have a sleep on you. Can I get a shit-yeah?
The best thing about having a colic child is: Just as you’re teetering on the edge of the brink of insanity, at your wits end, about to throw the little demon child in the bin.. They stop screaming completely. It feels like the whole world has gone quiet. Your child has, without them even knowing, made you a better, tougher, stronger, more patient parent. Teething? Terrible twos? Don’t know if I missed them or just found them relatively easy compared to hysterical Jack, the colic-ridden cub.
He grew out of colic, and pretended like nothing ever happened. Bloody typical.
I’m finding parenting/adulting 100x easier with Lachlan than I did with Jack. Lachlan did not show signs of colic as a newborn, and is a relatively easygoing guy. I’m grateful for the experience I had with Jack, it almost broke me, but it’s made me a better mum. And I’m DEFINITELY grateful I had my demon child first. Nothing like being lured into a false sense of security with an angelic first – and them BAM! Terror second child. Bluetoothing wine to those that have been victims of this.
If you are currently balls deep in a colic shitstorm, please try to remember that its not your fault and it will pass. In the meantime, if a random lady with a drooling baby and psycho threenager approaches you and your screaming newborn at the shops, and offers to hold it for 5 so you can grab a coffee, let her. That would be me trying to help a sister out – I know how you feel. X
Follow Amy's hialrious #mumlife adventures on Instagram; @amywaterhouse_ and read more of her blog at https://flatwhitesandstripes.wordpress.com/