Lets talk about colic

So here it is April. The month my baby will be turning one year old. It just doesn’t seem possible that we have been doing this parent gig for a whole year (almost), although it does feel like Asher Wade has always been here. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately about this past year, mainly about the major changes we’ve experienced, the good and the bad.  The good times and the hard times.  And the really hard times.  And the really, really hard times;)  I thought it would be fun to reflect on some of the things we’ve experienced over this past year, so I’m going to do several “big picture” posts over this month about these experiences.
Colic. I get anxiety just typing this word. It was very real in our household for what felt like forever awhile.  Nothing can prepare you for colic.  Heck, nothing can prepare you for a baby, so throw this in the mix and you think you’ve bought a first class ticket to the loony bin.  Colic was single handily the biggest shock and “what in the heck just happened” moment we had as new parents.  Forget the lack of sleep and poop explosions – colic just about did us in.
How could something so innocent cause so much anxiety?

In case you were wondering, no one really knows what causes colic.  You’ll find all kinds of varying info on the Internet, and trust me, I read it ALL.  The general consensus is that colic is caused by an immature digestive and/or neurological system.  So basically your baby is really gassy and having tummy pains, or they are way over-stimulated by their new world, or it may be a combination of both, which I think was the case for AW.  The bottom line is that they don’t know how to handle all this, so they cry.  A lot.  To be completely honest, during those first couple of months, if Asher Wade wasn’t nursing or sleeping, he was crying.  Rarely did he just hang out in his swing or on a play mat.  We pretty much always had to be holding him, and often that didn’t even work.  I always say, thank God for breast feeding.  I don’t know what I would have done if that didn’t work out.  It was pretty much the only thing that soothed him.  Needless to say he was pretty much attached to my boob around the clock.

His “safe place”
“So you bring me in to this crazy world and expect me to just deal?”

There is also really no consensus on what the cure for colic is, although there are things you can do to help.  I personally found this website to be helpful, but to be honest, besides nursing around the clock, I can’t say that I thought anything else helped.  It’s pretty much just survival.  What I can tell you is that having a support system is absolutely necessary.  You have to be able to take breaks and walk away.  Go for a walk.  Go to the grocery store.  Go visit a friend.  Go sit outside and have a glass of wine.  Just get away at least once a day, even if just for an hour.  I remember feeling so bad because I would be home with AW all day while Matt worked, and when he would come home, I would literally hand off a screaming AW to him and leave the house as fast as I could.  By 5:30 I was usually at my wits end and I knew I had to get out, for my own sanity and for the benefit of my baby.

“What, you mean you didn’t have fun today?”
Colic generally peaks around weeks 6-8, and I would say that AW fell in line with this. I remember those weeks being almost unbearable. There were many tears shed and I had some really cray-cray thoughts during that time that I’m sometimes ashamed to admit. It’s hard when you are dealing with colic, hormones, lack of sleep and the general stress of being a new parent. There were many days when I truly did not think I was cut out to be a mom and that we would not get through this and enjoy being parents like everyone else around us seemed to be doing. I remember telling my mom that this was not what I signed up for and where was that sweet image I had held in my mind for 9+ months. Surely this wasn’t what being a parent was cracked up to be? 

Just a day in the life;)
The hours of crying wore him out too

I know this all sounds very stressful and negative, but take heart, you will get through!  We are living proof of that!  The really funny thing is that when we were going through the really rough part, I told everyone that there was no way we would ever have another baby.  Ever.  I truly did not think I could ever risk going through this again.  Even though the chances of having another colicky baby are small (definitely possible though), I didn’t think I could take that risk.  Yet here we are, almost a year later, and I cannot imagine not having another.  And if the next one is colicky, it doesn’t scare me and I know we would manage.  Now I know it’s only a phase and it won’t last forever.  The best advice someone told me back then was that I shouldn’t let this period define motherhood for me.  It’s just a difficult phase in a lifetime of happy phases.  I think that’s what was so hard for me…I had built up this vision of what motherhood would be like and then when colic happened, I was so crushed and bitter because it was nothing like I had envisioned.  The fact of the matter is, that colic or not, motherhood is probably not going to be exactly like you had imagined.  Even if you don’t have to deal with colic, there will be other challenges and surprises.  At some point or another, you probably will question if you did the right thing.  But then those challenges will pass, and you’ll move on to the next thing.  It won’t be like that forever.  And the bottom line is that the good far outweighs the bad.

It was a turning point for me when he started to smile.  Like, maybe I was doing an ok job after all.
Now here we are.  One year later and we have this precious, spirited, lovable and funny little person.  He’s definitely still got a temper and he absolutely has his moments where you’d think the world is falling apart around him, but with those trying moments also come the moments where he’s so loving and affectionate.  I’ve read before that babies that have colic often turn out to be very sensitive children.  They are very sensitive to their environment and the people in it, which can be overwhelming and scary as a newborn, but as a child and adult, can bring about some really positive traits.  This means they are perceptive, caring, passionate, considerate and empathetic.  I think these sound like wonderful traits and I hope Asher Wade embodies them as he grows.  I mean, something positive has to come out out of that challenge, right?  Right?!  🙂
The love and affection he shows was absolutely worth the struggle.


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