“Is your baby good” the receptionist at the doctors office asks us EVERY time we come for one of the (what feels like) daily well baby check appointments.
I never know exactly how to respond. “Is my baby good? Uh… Well he’s not a crooked politician or a meth head if that’s what you’re asking. He’s got zero felonies on his record. So by that standard ya he absolutely gets a gold star at life.”
But I know what she really means is “is your baby a happy/easy baby to deal with” – The answer to THAT question is very different. In my sleep deprived state at our one week old appointment I made the “mistake” of being honest when asked that question “is he a good baby” – “uh no.”, I responded. “No he is not. Right now his 2 year old brother is my favorite and I’m curious if there’s some kind of exchange policy when it comes to babies, I know there is with cabbage patch kids at Toys-R-Us at least. He’s kind of an asshole – he’s got colic I think.”
The non-sleep deprived and non-hormonal receptionist stared at me wide-eyed, hand sitting motionless on her computer mouse, unsure of how to respond to my non-sensical tirade.
As a mom in the age where mom-shaming and bragging about kid achievements is as prevalent as old men quarreling in bars over who’s better – the Yankees or the Mets, I realized at that one week appointment that the receptionist, and society, fully expected me to lie – “yes he’s the SWEETEST baby, he sleeps through the night, changes his own ass and his farts never smell like a combination of sulfur and cheerios. We received his acceptance letter to Harvard last week in fact!” I am supposed to respond through a lip glossed smile as a I flounce my freshly blown out and styled hair over my shoulder.
All I wanted was someone to understand my plight. No baby is NOT an easy baby. He cries as much as he breathes and for the first month of his life he couldn’t figure out his days from his nights – meaning I was up all night breastfeeding my free range baby. I was tired, I was sore from child birth and my hormones were on both the tallest and most spiral-y roller coaster in the world. I was suffering from immediate post-partum depression which was only fueled by my sleep deprivation and my lack of understanding why my baby was acting like a total dick. My newborn was like a video game level I hadn’t mastered yet; frustrating and I was staying up all night trying to figure the damn thing out.
As a mom and a human being – I just needed someone, ANYONE to commiserate with my plight. I needed that receptionist to tell me “oh girl! I’m so sorry – here, try this brand of “My Baby Has Colic” Pino Grigio – its 25% alcohol *wink*” There is so much power and comfort in a fellow mom saying “I totally understand, I’ve been there and it SUCKS.”
Instead, at our next appointment, and whenever anyone asked, I felt the need to screw on a smile as if I wasn’t exhausted, un-showered, un-shaved and un-kept and reply “oh he’s a GREAT baby, we totally never daydream about choloforming him to sleep”
(Its a joke, don’t be a dick and report me to CPS for making a funny.)
I’m happy to report that at 2 months old, I now feel attached and bonded to our difficult little one and no longer want to take him to the return department of the hospital. We figured out that he has reflux issues when I eat Italian food, he hates being even a little bit cold (read: in his past life he was a turtle who spent his days on a rock under a heat lamp) and he’s a total boob guy – pop a nipple in his mouth and he’ll pass the F out.
So for all you struggling mama’s: it will get easier. I don’t know when. But I do know how – you will become an expert on your brand new baby. Even Ikea dressers that DO come with directions on how to put them together correctly are frustrating as fuck and seem impossible at first, but guess what – somehow, it all comes together in the end.
For some, it will take longer than others. Some
lucky fuckers people pick up on it really fast, others like me, don’t and didn’t. But I promise you, you WILL be able to build this baby, just like you built that difficult-ass dresser for his or her nursery.
The best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten is “you’re ok, you just don’t know it yet”
The second best piece of advice is: If you’re suffering from postpartum depression or just don’t feel like yourself TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR ASAP. The sooner you get help, the better off your life and your babe’s will be. Let there be no shame in your Prozac game, mama, and in the meantime, if you have a difficult or colicky baby I FEEL YA, THAT TOTALLY FUCKING SUCKS. HERE’S A HUG AND A SHOULDER TO CRY ON – PLEASE hang in there, and in the meantime I’ll be working on the perfect recipe for that “My Baby Has Colic” Pino Grigio. 😉