My little ones teeth are starting to make an appearance and oh do we know about it. Babies have been teething for like a bazillion years and yet there is still nothing more than teething gels, pain relief and teething toys that we can give our children that will numb the pain of those little tushy pegs pushing through.
I wish I could make it easier on her somehow. If only I could take the pain away from her, if only I could swap with her. I would take that pain away and give it straight to my husband. (Hey I pushed her out, you can imaginary teeth for her) I do feel sorry for her, I really do, I know how she is hurting, her cries are pained as she pulls at her ears and bites down on her fingers. I pick her up to comfort her, I rock, I sway, I bounce, I sing. I cuddle and kiss her and tell her “I know sweetie” but, she just won’t stop crying.
Last week, I physically could not do anything for her that I wasn’t already doing. I had comforted her, changed her, I cooled her down (she had cried so much she made herself all hot and bothered), I didn’t need to feed her as she wasn’t due one for an hour or so, I noticed she was pulling her legs up a little so I gave her a bit of gripe water and burped her, I gave her a tiny bit of bonjela and a cold teething ring from the fridge, I let her bite down on my fingers. I did everything and yet I still felt like I was doing nothing. I felt as if I wasn’t doing anything right and I was starting to get a little stressed.
Nothing I was doing was good enough for her, I was trying my best and I was being screamed at. I was getting hot, I was tired, I needed a wee, I was getting angry. I needed a break. I remember looking at the time and thinking, “only 4 more hours until your dad comes home”. I had been at this a good while and then I just broke down.
“I cant do this, I don’t know how to do this. I’m doing everything wrong. She wont settle, she hates me and I’ve had enough.”
I could feel myself getting more and more worked up. I didn’t like how I was feeling. I put her in her cot, I gave Hallie her comforter, I made sure she was safe (she was crying, but she was safe), I walked out of her room, closed the door and instantly broke down into hysterical tears.
I had gotten myself to the point where I had stressed myself out so much trying to comfort Hallie and make sure she was ok that I wasn’t ok anymore. I couldn’t stop my baby from crying if I was also crying. I had to speak to someone because I was sure I was going to hyperventilate. I called my Grandma and my mum and I just vented at them and got it all out. Then I started feeling guilty for saying it out loud, about how this tiny little girl was making me angry and I couldn’t deal with it on my own.
Talking to someone there and then, in the moment was comforting to me. I learned that it was absolutely OK to put our babies down (As long as they were safe) and stand back for a couple of minutes to take a breath. (My Grandma told me a story of how one of her friends put her baby outside in his pram (on a dry day) in front of the living room window and let the baby cry because she couldn’t stand the noise any longer.)
I learned that I was doing everything I was supposed to and what I was feeling was normal. I didn’t hate my baby and she didn’t hate me, we were both just so upset that the more we were around each other the more worked up we got. I learned that babies cry. Its what they do. Babies cries are supposed to get our attention, its the only way they know how to communicate.
So after our brief chat, I had a wee, a big glass of water, I washed my face and I took a deep breath. I went back into Hallie’s nursery and even though she was still crying, it all felt a little different. I gave her a big smile and kissed her on the chin where she likes it, I waited for her cry to quieten a little and I gave her a cuddle. I took off my top, sat down on my nursing chair and lay her on my chest and rocked with her until her cries softened and she eventually fell asleep.
One week on and I am still feeling guilty for feeling so irritated and upset. I give her an extra cuddle and kiss once she has fallen asleep as my way of apologising to her for when I get a little worked up and don’t know what Im doing. Im not saying that now I’ve gone through this Im not going to call my mum up again, crying down the phone because she wont stop crying, Because I will, I will always feel guilty because there will always be something I could have done better. But at least I know that its OK to have a little space to gather myself, calm down and breath and it doesn’t make me any less of a good mum for doing that.
There is so much pressure on mums to be perfect that we forget that there is no such thing as a perfect mum, and anyone who tells you they are are lying to you. Babies aren’t perfect, they cry, a lot, and half of the time they don’t even know why they are crying. We are tired and we get upset too. Why shouldn’t we be allowed to? Its normal. Its OK!
If you’ve managed to read your way through all of that waffle, (well done please find your medal below) I suppose what Im trying to tell you is that what ever you are feeling, I guarantee you that your Mum, Grandma and even the random mum blogger has probably all felt the exact same as you and its OK to talk about. Don’t ever sit in silence and beat yourself up about something because you are not the only person who has ever felt like that. At the end of the day no matter how many children you have, we are all just winging every single day. Its not until our children are older and have learned how to talk that we will finally know what is upsetting them and how we can help. But until that day, make a brew, calm yourself down and keep trying.
(p.s. there is no medal)
Written by Jennifer Logan for her blog, Wing It Mama.