Category Archives: Friends

When We Struggle in Church with Young Children

I find it very difficult to let things go and not bother me.  I usually hang on to the hurt and review the play by play in my head long after.  This past Sunday, when we visited a local Byzantine Catholic Church, an old lady was visibly annoyed with us.  During the sermon, little Eric was unable to stay still.

Christ Blesses the Children

I was holding John on my lap because he was a bit overwhelmed in a new place, and Nathaniel was dealing with Gregory and David.  So, Eric slipped away and decided to spin around in a circle right in the middle of church.  Then he looked up and smiled at everyone.  He was as sweet as can be, but he was a disruption.

Then I heard a loud “humph” from the back and looked up to see the woman staring daggers at me.   In a parish as small as that one, Eric’s distraction could go unnoticed.  Nathaniel quickly grabbed him and placed the wild little man on his lap.  Just a bit after that, another child was being incredibly defiant, so I picked up Eric while I was pulling the other child by his arm and left the church.  What a great first impression we had made.

Needless to say, I was incredibly discouraged by the time we drove out of the parking lot.  At our parish in Kentucky, we had a system that worked for us.  That doesn’t mean it was easy; dealing with five young children in church is never easy, but we did have their godparents and friends who would help out.  I rarely felt completely alone, even if I did feel overwhelmed.

Recently, Sarah wrote a good post called “How to Encourage that Young Mother at Church.”  I recommend this for everyone, whether you have children or not.  It is so important to encourage those who are struggling.  And I guarantee that, at one time or another, every parent is struggling in church.  Thankfully, in the end, the struggle is worth it. IMG_20150823_112238

Coming Out About Fussy Babies

One Sunday morning, my husband and I walked into church, with our four little ones in tow.  We attend a young church where many people have babies or young children or both.  Our baby was just seven or eight months old at the time.  He had spent the majority of that time crying, fussing and being held by me.  It was one of the most difficult times I’ve experienced in my life.  I had very little sleep and was exhausted to my very core. 

When I looked around and saw many other babies, happy and content, I broke down.  I stated weeping and had to leave church.  I couldn’t handle the fact that my child was so very difficult and others had it much easier.  I was angry, jealous, depressed and worn out.

Jump ahead a couple of years and we are dealing with this again with Eric.

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Eric wants to be held by me almost all the time.  He doesn’t sleep well, especially at night when he wakes up almost every hour.  I rejoice at getting two hours of sleep in a row. If he is content with my husband or the other children and then sees me, he falls apart.

It seems like he can do well without me for a short period of time and then he needs to be cuddled for a while.  I’ve noticed this pattern since he was very young.  He will play on his own for about ten minutes, maybe twenty on a good day, and then he needs me to hold him.  Many times, he will just lay there on my chest or in my arms, looking up at my face.  It seems to regulate him, and then he is able to play on the floor again for a little bit.

John was even worse.  He cried and fussed for nearly ten months straight.  We tried to diagnose him to determine what was wrong, but, all in all, John is a very healthy child.  He is very intelligent, curious, inquisitive, funny (SO funny!), loving, a great eater, friendly and painfully shy.  He is also gorgeous, I might add.  He is an amazing child.  So, when we looked for answers as to why he was fussing so much, we came up dry.

I recently read an article called,Why It’s Not ‘Just’ Colic or Fussiness and it hit home with me probably more than most articles I read.

The author lists ten results of having a baby who fusses all the time:

  • the sleep deprivation
  • the isolation
  • the crying
  • the being judged
  • the unpredictability
  • the feelings of failure
  • the no down time
  • the second guessing
  • the impact on marriage and family
  • the lack of bonding.

I have encountered all of these at some point in time with each of my fussy babies.  For me, the worst part is the isolation which directly affects the feelings of failure, the impact on marriage and family (and friends), and the second guessing.  Isolation is also affected by the sleep deprivation, the crying, the being judged, the unpredictability, the feelings of failure, the no down time, and the lack of bonding.

IMG_20140526_141638So, for me, it appears that isolation is the number one problem that comes from having a fussier-than-normal baby.

Obviously, you can’t go out in public because your baby will scream, you will have to hold him all the time, you will feel judged by others, you’ll compare your baby to the other babies that you encounter, and you will be worn out by the end.

So, rather than looking forward to going out and seeing family and friends, you become anxious and stressed about leaving the house.  And if you do leave the house, you come home feeling depressed and discouraged.

And then, you are isolated again because you stay home until the effect of the bad experience of going out has worn off a little bit.

Being a parent is hard enough without having a baby who cries and fusses all the time.  So much of parenting is about giving of yourself for you children.  It isn’t always easy, but, even after a sleepless night, you can look into the beautiful face of your child and know it was worth it.  And the good news is that it does get better… eventually.

More on this topic to come…