Colic is a form of psychological torture. The first five+ months of my son’s life really were the worst of mine. My little baby who was a part of me in every way was miserable and there was not a thing I could do about it. Every day was filled with hours and hours of blood-curdling screaming no matter what we did. I was hormonal and healing from pushing a tiny person out of me — correction: from having a tiny person yanked out of me with a vacuum while breaking my tailbone in the process. Surviving life with my demon child took every ounce of energy I could muster. I had no remaining patience for annoying people. I know that (most) people who said these asinine comments meant well, but here are just a few examples of stupid shit people said to me during this hell. They are lucky I didn’t physically harm them. Hopefully, you can benefit from these stupid things people said when my baby had colic and learn how NOT to help a mom with a colicky baby.
1. “You really should get out of the house.”
We would rather not disturb more people than we already do. We go on walks and people actually come out of their homes asking if we need help. Seriously. Unless you are offering to stay with the screaming baby and his sister while I get out? If that’s the case, you’ll need to entertain them so I can get a much-needed solo-shower first. And maybe a quick power nap so I actually have the energy to move past my front door.
2. “He may just be hungry.”
Oh wow, so it’s as simple as that? Stop starving my child and he will stop screaming all day and night? I guess the 12 hours a day he spends with my boob in his face is not enough for him.
3. “You will spoil him by holding him so much.”
Thank you for your comfort and sensitivity. By the way, I don’t give a crap about spoiling him. I give a crap about both of us actually surviving. P.S. I call bullshit because you cannot spoil a newborn. And if you don’t believe that, do some research because there is plenty of scientific data that proves you cannot spoil a baby.
4. “You are lucky that he only cries when he is awake.”
Are you for real? Thanks, captain f-ing obvious. I’m thinking it’s pretty rare for a baby to cry uncontrollably while they are ASLEEP. Yes, I’m lucky that my baby doesn’t scream bloody murder during those half-hour stretches when he gets a quick power nap necessary for him to regain the energy to scream for another 7 hours straight — WOO HOO! LUCKY ME!
Side note, don’t say, “you are lucky [insert anything here]” to a mom with a colicky baby. She doesn’t want to hear about how lucky she is because she is in the depths of misery.
5. “Doesn’t his sister need to get outside?”
Yes. Thank you for the ever-so-kind reminder that I am neglecting my older child. As if I don’t feel guilty enough. How about YOU take her outside? No? Okay, well leave me alone so I can shed more tears about my daughter that is getting screwed over because of her demon baby brother.
6. “I’m so tired. You are lucky you function without sleep.”
I am not functioning. I have no choice but to get out of bed and keep these two tiny humans alive. My 1½-year-old and newborn can’t make their own breakfast. I’m a zombie going through the motions. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m actually asleep right now. My brain has turned to mush. My IQ has dropped at least 50 points. I can’t remember the last time I showered… that’s either because it was so long ago, or because I no longer have a functioning memory. Maybe, just maybe I’d cry a little bit less every day if I had a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. Again, don’t say, “you are lucky [insert anything here]” to a mom with a colicky baby.
7. “Let him cry. He’ll be okay if you set him down while you take a shower.”
How about you come bounce him on the ball while I take a slightly more peaceful shower or STFU about what I should be doing? As a mother, my brain is biologically programmed to respond to my infant’s crying. Thanks to postpartum and breastfeeding hormones, my sensitivity to it was even more heightened. My brain could not register what to do with the shampoo when I heard my infant son shrieking.
8. “Cherish the sweet moments. You’ll look back and forget how hard it was.”
Nope. Not true. I can assure you that I will never forget. I’ll cherish the time I have now, over a year later, with my sweet toddler son. But when I look back on those horrible months, my heart races because I remember too clearly how awful it was.
On the flip side, here are some of the wonderful things that friends said during that time:
2. “Eat this lunch I brought for you.”
3. “Where is your Ergo? I’m going to hold the baby while I do your dishes.”
4. “Stop saying you don’t need anything. I know that’s not true. I’m on my way over.”
5. “Here is dinner, enjoy it while I take your baby for a walk.” or the similarly awesome thing someone said, “Since I can’t be there to help [because I live out of town], hopefully this delivery gift card will make a couple of evenings easier.”
6. “Go to your [therapist] appointment alone. Leave him here with me.”
7. “My nanny is taking your son for a few hours. Go do something for you!”
8. “I don’t know exactly how you are feeling, but I know this is horrible. My baby had colic and it was the worst time of my life.”
9. “You are an incredible mom. You are doing a great job.”