Colic Survivor

I don’t know what prompted me last night to re-read the posts I wrote when Abigail was at the height of her colic, but there I was, on our bed, pouring over the old entries.

After reading about three posts, all I wanted to do was go back in time to hug that poor woman who wrote all of that, because clearly she’d reached the end of her frayed, cheap-ass rope.

There are moments where I genuinely forget, and subsequently feel apologetic about, the first 12 weeks of Abigail’s life and what they were like. The most I can remember is the feeling, and if I conjure it, even momentarily, it remains deeply visceral. I can’t articulate it. The most I can do is double over as though someone jacked me in the stomach with their elbow.

Just the other day, someone on Twitter remarked about the enormous high you feel after giving birth, and how that sustains you. I had no idea what she was talking about.

I try to not do that thing that I see some people do sometimes, myself included, people whose experience of something is diametrically opposed to that of other people and they’re consumed by it, have lost perspective and take everything personally. The woman on Twitter? It was not her fault, obviously, that she didn’t (or doesn’t or forgot) realize that many women don’t associate childbirth and infancy positively. She was not discounting my experience.  It would not have been fair of me to point out to her that not everyone was blessed with a massive influx of happy hormones, or to call her insensitive. She wasn’t.

But it did remind me once again that no, really and truly, I did not have a typical or positive, or even “normal,” experience with Abigail. And it isn’t that I feel the need to apologize that it wasn’t perfect, but rather that I feel the need to continue to look for more irrefutable evidence that I actually had postpartum depression as a result. Like, perhaps I was just kidding myself. That it really wasn’t that bad. That maybe I was just weak-willed and so I needed to slap a label on what was happening to justify why I “couldn’t handle it.”

Of course that’s silly. There is nothing about postpartum depression that is about a person’s character. I had no more control over developing PPD than I did Abigail’s colic. Even three months later, I still need to remind myself that it wasn’t my fault. I wasn’t a bad mother.

I am not a bad mother.

One of the women who helped me through the darkest days of my postpartum depression was Jonna from Jonniker. A colic survivor herself, Jonna reminded me, almost daily it seemed, that I would get through it, that she knew what I was going through, and to just hang on. I’ve talked about all of that “hanging on” ad nauseum, I know, but if you’re a new mom, and you’re dealing with a colicky kid, and you’re pretty sure that you’re not cut out for this, and that you are fucked seven ways from Sunday and what in the HELL were you and your beloved thinking?


Oh please, hang on. It gets better. So much better.

Anyway, I mentioned to Jonna over Twitter yesterday that I could not believe I made it through those 12 weeks, and that here I was, 12 weeks later, and while it’s still hard some days, I really do feel like myself again. Only better. Because I get to be that serious little girl’s Mama. She sent to me this link of an interview she did with Amalah over at Alphamom, and I wanted to re-post it here, especially if you’re a mom like I was, like Jonna was, is, I guess, and need to borrow the light at someone else’s tunnel because you’re having a hard time finding your own:

The Neverending Scream. Read it.

Now that I’m well-rested and on the mend, one of the things that struck me most, reading Jonna’s article today, was how much guilt I still harbor over those weeks, and how carrying all of that guilt is really a bunch of bullshit. As I said above, not only do I feel bad that in some ways I still have feelings of failure tied up with those weeks, but also that I don’t at all cherish those days.

I need to let all of that go.

I wish like hell that our experience had been more positive. It wasn’t. Those were the darkest days of my life. I am glad they are over. It was not my fault. There was very little to cherish about a time in my life where daily I wanted to crawl into a ball and disappear for forever.

Today we spent a fun-filled day with friends, going to brunch, a block party and a birthday party. We sang songs, and played, we snuggled and laughed. There was a lot of laughter, especially between me and my girl. There is so much laughter in our lives. These are the days I will cherish. I carry the moments of each one of them every night when I drift off to sleep until I wake up eight hours later.