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.
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.
So, 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…