In my household as a child, I grew up feeling as though my needs/feelings/gushy crap were generally unimportant. When it’s a choice between Becky who has the stomach flu at age 6 and my mother who was threatening suicide, you can guess whose needs were made more important. It wasn’t always splendid as you may imagine and it has left me with a fairly large chip on my shoulder about such things. Overarchingly, I tend to be fairly sensitive about people negating my feelings on a particular matter but I also attempt to not play the Pain Olymics with other people. Your bad day MAY be worse than mine, and I’d be the first to admit it.

Ben had colic as a baby, and I admit that it was pretty severe. I can honestly say that it impacted our bonding while he was younger as well as causing me tremendous guilt for many years. What was I doing wrong? Why didn’t my baby love me? It’s irrational, I’m aware, but you can’t help but feel rejected when your cute little infant screams most hours of the day and you cannot do a damn thing to make it better.

I don’t have a lot of mommy friends who have kids around the same age as mine, so I didn’t have a lot of input on the subject of colic save from what my mother and/or Dr. Spock had to say about the matter. (Even now, I’m not sure any of my mommy friends had kids with colic. Maybe karma is paying me back for stealing that package that was delivered at Christmas time to the wrong house, I don’t know.)

Colic sucks and it’s hard and I hated every moment of it. Especially because I had had colic as a child myself, and my mother suffered tremendous guilt about it, even 20 years later. So much so that when I decided to wean Ben (hahaha, like he EVER latched on or breastfed), she began buying formula designed for premature babies (which Ben was not), in an effort I suppose to assuage her guilt about my colic. It’s basically already digested. AND it costs double what normal formula costs. Luckily for me, a lactation specialist intervened and convinced my mother that there was absolutely no need for this formula. Period.

Over and over I had to listen to my mother go on and on and on and on and on about what a horrible colicky baby I was, to the point where it basically negated whatever I was feeling. Sample conversation: Me: “Man, he is SO COLICKY and I WANT TO DIE.” Her: “I don’t know what YOU are complaining about! YOU WERE SO MUCH WORSE!”

Even now, 5 years later, she is still convinced that Ben was a much easier baby. Maybe he is, I have no idea (this affected me so much that I had to clear it with Nat several months ago and his answer was yes, Ben was a really hard colicky baby). I wasn’t around to take inventory over which was harder, myself or my son. All that I can say is that I am sick to death of having my own personal feelings pushed aside in favor of how much harder her life is. Yes, I am aware that it is partially my problem with my mother, a subject for another blog post (or prolly not)…or I was until Alex was born.

Alex, God love him, is not colicky, not one ickle bit. He had his own difficulties, just like newborns often have (like trying on a daily basis to crawl back inside of me), but he was never colicky.

My mother-in-law, I was aware pre-Alex, had had a colicky baby as well: my brother-in-law. When she’d call or stop by, we’d mention the difficulties we were facing with Alex (or show her, as the case may be) she would spend a good portion of her visit/call trying to convince either of us that Alex was just a colicky baby. Dave actually ordered some crappy Colic Be Gone or something snake oilish which didn’t work (BECAUSE HE DOES NOT HAVE COLIC) and stained the bejeesus out of everything it came into contact with.

To this day, whenever I see her, she tells me the same stories over and over about how colicky her first baby was. When I mention that Ben, too, was extremely colicky, it is brushed aside THE EXACT SAME WAY MY MOTHER DOES IT.

I guess I just don’t get it. I’m aware of the Mommy Wars (ala my baby is SO much better and more advanced and awesomer than yours could ever be) and the Pain Olympics (ala my life is harder than yours will ever be) but is it really so hard to admit that someone else both may have experienced a similar problem AND give them a little more empathy and a little less brush off (especially considering that these colicky babies that I constantly have to hear about are 27 and 34, respectively)?

Colic sucks, newborns mostly suck, babies are hard, kids are hard too, and I think it would be just a teeny-weeny bit easier if mothers (and non-mothers) just acknowledged the plight of other people, or in this case got off the damn cross because we newbies might need the wood, too.

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

9 Responses to Everybody’s Dancin’ In A Ring Around The Sun, Nobody’s Finished, We Ain’t Even Begun

  • Chris says:

    Maybe it’s the same license that gives people the right to talk about their birthing stories in public DECADES after their children are born. Why?

  • becky says:

    People do that to you, too!?! I hear them all of the time, but I figured it was because of the whole “kid thing.” That’s so strange. SO strange.

  • Chris says:

    No, I find that people will discuss the birthing process WHENEVER THEY GET THE CHANCE, even though the mere thought of birth makes me woozy. And what really galls me is it’s not like they only discuss it when there are preggy folks around…. no, just whenever they feel like it. Oh! And somehow, having a kid makes you an EXPERT ON ALL THINGS having to do with kids. (neveryoumind that I have a DEGREE in child learning development.) No, I don’t get it either, but then, I don’t have kids. I’m not allowed to get it. *rolls eyes*

  • becky says:

    That’s so odd to me. I don’t think I even remember the births of either of my children well enough to tell someone. Goooood drugs, man. Oh, I pooed on the table with Ben, but I have no idea if I did that with Alex.

    Being a mother tends to make certain people to be assholes. I’m not sure why that qualifies people to just let it all hang out and be all judgey and shit, but it does happen. I cannot tell you how often I hear about whatever it is that I happen to be doing wrong with my children at any random time. Somewhere, someone called those “Drive By’s” and I think that about sums it up.

    And I personally think you get it very much.

  • Stu Mark says:

    Your post about your unfortunate run-in with that evil demon colic has been nominated by our readers over at GNMParents.com for “Hot Stuff Of The Week.” Congrats, and good luck in the voting!

  • becky says:

    Wow, I had no idea I actually had a readership beyond people who actually know me in real life.

    I’m shocked and stunned and flattered beyond belief.

  • Wahoo says:

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Pingback: Mommy Wants Vodka » Blog Archive » Classic One-Uppence

  • Sara says:

    Reading through your blog archives because I too am currently dealing with the sometimes mind-numbing boredom that comes with having a new infant. According to my m-i-l, my husband was a colicy baby. Who knows. I wasn’t there, he doesn’t remember it, she was there and had to deal with it, maybe he was. What I find surprising is that because our generally amazingly sunny tempered and calm little girl spit up a few times and had one two-hour stint of crying unconsolably when we were visiting them at Christmas (when she was 6 weeks old and had recently been on a trans-Atlantic flight so that Grandma & Grandpa could meet their granddaughter for the first time, and *hello* schedule is all messed up because we’re traveling for the first time in her life!), m-i-l decided she must be colicy too. So now almost every time they call or email this comes up. I finally responded in one email something along the lines of “colic is defined as 3 or more hours of unconsolable crying 3 or more days per week for 3 or more weeks. Gwen maybe cries for 10 minutes if I don’t prepare her bottle fast enough. She does *not* have colic!”

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