I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face because I am about to get real honest with this one. I was emotionally broken for what seemed liked forever after Theron was born. And, I feel like I have to share this somewhere. Motherhood can be beautiful but you know what? It can also be really hard with a high needs baby. It can bring you to the highest of highs and the darkest of lows. Here's a little snippet of my experiences.
A couple of months ago, David and I were out for an afternoon at the mall and I stepped into this store and a beautiful song came on while I was there that I had never heard before. It stopped me dead in my tracks. The singer's voice was so soft but scratchy and the lyrics, oh those lyrics. I had tears in my eyes as I listened.
I left the store, but then turned around almost immediately, and went right back to ask who sang it. I HAD to know. It touched me so deeply.
The worker told me that it was David Ramirez and that the song was, The Bad Days. Take a listen:
You know how when you feel like a song was written just for you? It was like he knew my experiences and spoke straight to my heart.
The beginning of the song brings me to tears, nearly sobs, every time I listen to it. The rest of the song is beautiful, but changes direction for me. It's essentially about a couple's relationship that can endure even through the bad days. But for me, it's about Theron and myself.
I think some of you know how rough I had it with Theron for about the first 8 months or so of his life. When we brought him home, David and I were mentally and physically exhausted but elated to be parents. Theron slept and acted like a "normal" newborn.
Dave had to go back to school after a week or so and then Theron took a turn. He never stopped crying. Ever. I, having absolutely no experience with babies, felt helpless. He didn't want to be in the swing, he didn't want to be in his carseat, on his tummy? um...no, on his back? definitely no, he hated walks, wanted nothing to do with pacifiers and I basically felt like a big fat failure. Everyone said it would pass, 6 weeks would be the magic number, then 8 weeks, then 12 weeks...and well, you can kinda see how those mile markers never really applied to my boy.
My maw maw would come up during the days to help me out but I continued to feel so trapped inside of my own home. My own child hated me and hated life. Why in the world did he scream all day? Did all babies do this? Was I overreacting? Why couldn't I comfort him, why could't anyone comfort him? Why did he despise doing anything but nursing? What had I done to my calm life? Was this going to be my new reality?
I cried literally everyday -- no, scratch that, SOBBED-- every day for many, many weeks. I had a countdown for when I could return to work. I told myself, that's when I could get a break. I needed a break--craved just a break. I breastfed and he didn't take a bottle or sleep through the night til 8 months. I was never away from him. His screams physically hurt my ears. Because he cried during his waking times we couldn't go anywhere. We tried two different chiropractors, multiple doctors, numerous medicines [prescription and homeopathic], everything imaginable--we tried it.
I thought I was losing it. My family thought I was losing it. I had never felt so helpless, hopeless and depressed in all of my life. I was always known as the happiest girl people knew. I never understood depression or sadness. I mean, how could people just not be happy? I now want to punch that girl. So smug I was. I made the mention if it was socially acceptable I'd run away and never come back. In fact, David thought I had left after one specific moment when Theron's screams overwhelmed me and I went onto the landing near the kitchen and broke down sobbing into the fetal position.We're talking uncontrollable tears, shallow breathing, and wailing for myself. I almost didn't want to wake up in the mornings because I thought the day would finally see me crumble. I just couldn't make it through another long, tedious day, of blood curdling screams. Not to mention the fact that I ached for a "normal" baby. A baby who cuddled and cooed. A baby who wanted its momma or dada. I was so jealous of all of my friends on Facebook & Instagram and those in real life who were taking their babies to the mall, park, swimming, on walks, birthdays, summer holiday parties etc., and enjoying simple moments at home. These parents were basking in parenthood, not to trivialize their experiences because I'm sure they faced their own problems, but they were loving it. Always commenting about their happy smiley babies. We didn't do any of those things. We couldn't. Theron just couldn't get comfortable. And his screams stressed everyone out. We knew that.
It was hard to relate to anyone, so I turned to Facebook and the internet. This post in particular articulates everything better than I ever could. If you have a high needs baby I urge you to read this one. You cannot miss it. Thankfully, I found other mommas who had been through what I had been through. They reached out to me and had me breaking down with their stories of screaming babies. It made me feel not so alone. It helped even if just a little. Most people claimed that their babies were high maintenance for a long time and that things would get better but different through the ages. I can agree now with those statements. But I welcomed any change.
It wasn't over night, and it wasn't fast, but Theron did become better and his all day screamfests did stop. He is still a very touchy baby with tantrums galore and a kiddo who no one will ever call easy-going. He's quite the crier--and probably will be for a long time to come. But he is funny, and he laughs, and I laugh.
I always said, "Once Theron stops crying all day, so will I." And that was true. I'm sure medicine would have helped my anxiety, but I knew me, I knew that I would be ok when he was ok. Even if it took months for that to happen.
But back to the song, these lyrics hit so close to home with me because they are so true. And the way I envision them is Theron saying them to me as a baby and then me saying them to him as a teenager.
Tears every single time. Especially this part:
"There's gonna be days that you hate me, There's gonna be days that I make you mad
There's gonna be days that we don't know what we're doing...maybe somedays you wish
you could take it all back...But hold on tight, and don't let go. We'll carry on I know we can find a way..."
I'm not embarrassed of those months or the challenging months to come, and I don't want moms who feel overwhelmed raising a terribly high needs baby to feel bad or guilty for feeling this way. You are not alone.
Thanks for reading. I hope someone out there that needs this can relate. And if you ever need to talk, I am just an email away.
Love to you all.