Hush Little Baby

After a long screaming fit from our little girl the other day, my husband and I decided to utter a word we’ve been afraid of speaking out. Colic.

There are varying degrees of it, and I know that Amayah would be on the lower end of the scale. Some of our friends have had a child or children that screamed constantly for months.

I’m hesitant to fully give up on searching for what might be upsetting her and simply label it as colic. Deep down I’m afraid something is really hurting her that we haven’t figured out.

We have found different positions that seem to make her less upset, so we can trade-off when my husband is home. But when it’s just me by myself, that’s when my son gets really frustrated and acts out a lot.

At times he is rough and he’s tried to pull her out of my arms as he cries, begging me to put her down. Other times he tries to be helpful and lies beside her rubbing her back saying “please stop crying Amayah”, or “I know, I know, baby, just settle down”.

I have felt like a really bad mom, not being what I want to be to Caleb, and not being able to problem solve what’s happening with baby girl.

The noise is absolutely maddening. When the two of them get going (him crying because she is, combined with the other norms of two year old tantrums), I have felt like I won’t live through the present. When I hear things like “you are doing the best job in the world”, I know in theory it’s  true, but pacing the floor day after day with screaming kids feels far from meaningful.

It seems that a majority of families will have at least one (sometimes more) babies that suffer from varying degrees of colic. Most often these babies settle when away from the house, and no one will even know they struggle.

So how do you get through? We are trying to educate ourselves since we have read some startling statistics about post partum depression and divorce that can come to a family trying to deal with infant colic. We will not become a sad statistic.

God gave me a little phrase the other day while I was driving with the two screaming babes that I have been repeating somewhat obsessively to myself. The crying is temporal, but the relationships are eternal. 

The crying is temporal, but the relationships are eternal.

One day this cloud will give way to the light of relationship with these kids. We purposefully dream of holidays, movie nights and family adventures. We talk of soccer games, dance classes, and kids clubs. We plan our fifth, our tenth, our twentieth anniversary. Looking to the future reminds us that we are family, not just ineffective baby consolers.

There are of course good moments, and moments of peace, but they do seem few and far between. Some verses I’ve been holding on to lately:

Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Lamentations 3:21-23

Even youths will become weak and tired,
    and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:30-31

There is much more I could share from this time, but for now I’ll take your survival tips for colic!

944316_10152779344930431_503985183_n

Take a break!

Image

It was never an issue for me to leave Caleb to go for a date with my husband. This seemed like a necessary part of our life together. I did NOT think I could go out by myself.

If someone would have told me I should go out by myself I would have replied “well I can’t just leave my family at home!”

During this transition to two kids, I was feeling extremely housebound. Issues blow up in your mind when you don’t have space to breathe, ever. I felt so claustrophobic in my own home.

I prayed about what I should do and God revealed to me (although I’m not sure how I didn’t see it myself) that I needed to take a break.

Surprise, surprise.

I went to my husband, and because he is a good guy who loves his family and wants us to all be mentally healthy, he said we would make it work that I could go out for two hours (since that’s about how long I can be away while breastfeeding) once a week…but there would be some rules.

(No, he isn’t controlling…these were good rules)

Groceries could not be bought during this time and errands could not be done. This had to be about relaxing and doing something that I wanted to do. All that other stuff would be planned for another time.

(He’s great, hey?)

The first time I went out, the lyrics to Hillsong Live’s song “Freedom is here” screamed through my mind. I was so excited.

Through this I’ve discovered my dream time is just to go sit in a coffee shop and blog, read, drink something that hasn’t been reheated seven times, and maybe zone out, uninterrupted by crying.

That makes me feel human again.

I made sure that I had time to swing by the little bakery on my way home and pick up a treat to surprise my toddler. It was great to be missed when I walked in the door.

They almost needed a break from me more than I needed one from them.

I know for a lot of moms, you feel guilty leaving your kids with you husband because he’s been working all day, and trust me I understand that. However, I’ve found so far that this has thrown us onto a pretty good cycle of me being re-engerized to be at home and deeply appreciating my husband’s commitment to work and serve his family. It makes me want to do anything I possibly can for him.

In turn, he appreciates what I do with the kids and gives him a chance for some one on two time with them. Win-win. Lots of love all around.

Don’t wait for a mental or emotional breakdown for someone to point out what you need. Andrew didn’t suggest a weekly break before because he didn’t know I needed it. The moment it was realized, he of course wanted to make it happen! Just ASK!

This will also give you a chance to see if your spouse is getting the break that they need. Maybe you both need a weekly coffee date alone!

Something For Me

Last week ended off a two week stint at Sr. and Jr. Teen camps for our family. This was our first year in the role of camp pastor.

To say I was nervous heading out there with our two kids for that length of time would be an understatement. Already more sleep deprived than I had ever been, the idea of putting my toddler to bed in a new place did not sound like fun.

To make matters worse, on the first day my son had an allergic reaction to some bug bites and was completely freaking out. It was terrible to see him in so much pain, but even more awful to think that this was only day one. Ugh.

After a night of getting screaming, irritable children to bed by myself, I was really frustrated. My husband came back from service totally pumped about what God had started to do in the youth and in the leaders.

I tried to be excited.

But honestly, I felt left out.

Did God have anything for me?

I know that I am in danger of sounding continually self absorbed, but the more I learn about the deepest needs of women, I understand why I want to know if God still cares.

It’s the same reason I ask myself everyday if my husband loves me. Even though he told me yesterday.

0Anyway I finally stopped pouting and asked the Lord straight out “is there anything at this beautiful camp for me?”.

In that moment he reminded me that I had grabbed a book off the shelf while packing up to come to camp. It was called Love & Respect, by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.0-1

That night, sitting on an old floral couch, I started reading, not able to consume the wisdom fast enough. Tears were streaming down my face as God opened my eyes to see how I needed to learn to show respect to my husband. The scenarios described here so crazily “us”.

How did he know the arguments we had?

How did he know the questions I hold deep within me?

As I have continued to read, the hope in this message of Love & Respect has been incredibly renewing.

The book is incredible, but my greater point is that God has something for YOU.

You might think that he has a message for everything one else. You might think that he is only interested in improving others (why would he have a young stay at home mom high on his agenda anyway?).

Ask him. Ask what He has for you. Ask him what he wants to show you.

He might speak through his Word. He might speak through a radio broadcast, a TV show or a book.

I might miss every church, camp and special service for the next few years, sitting in the nursery or standing in the foyer with a crying kid. But this I know:

God will continue to speak to my soul and he will finish the good work that he has begun in me.

Job 33:14 says

For God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it.

Lord, please open our ears to hear from you, even when we don’t feel like we’re in the right “place” notice your voice.