The first week of motherhood wasn’t all that difficult… Actually, it was shockingly easy. Brady slept most of the time, occasionally waking up to make adorable faces at us or to stare mesmerized at the Christmas tree. (Gosh, he loves Christmas lights)! Then I’d feed him, he’d sleepily blink his eyes a few times, and he’d fall asleep for a couple of hours. Life was good… and practically perfect.
Then week 2 hit…
The acid reflux and gas issues seemed to hit him the moment day 14 arrived but progressively got worse throughout the week. My ever-happy baby was soon screaming in pain, his little face reddened and scrunched up in discomfort. His cries could not be comforted, no matter how gently I rocked him. The cramping in his belly and burning in his throat were just too much.
I cried. It broke my heart that my little baby was in so much pain, and I couldn’t make him feel better. Even though I knew it wasn’t the case, it made me feel like a failure as a mom. I should be able to soothe him with my healing touch and to help him feel all better.
No matter how long I burped him, I couldn’t seem to get him to release the gas bubbles in his belly. And there was no instant-relief medicine in my bathroom cabinet that would help him feel better. Even a trip to the doctors didn’t give us any answers, other than the suggestion to give him gripe water and to begin a food journal (in case something that I was eating might be bothering him when I breastfeed).
There was no quick fix. Nothing to release the sharp pains that made him cry. Finding a reason for his unhappiness (and therefore finding him relief) was all about the process of elimination. Oh, how I wish he could talk and tell me what hurts and what I could do to make him feel better!
That’s the thing about being a mom… You want nothing more than to be able to kiss away your child’s pain. To chase away the bullies that make him cry. To scare away the nightmares and to replace them with happy dreams.
What you wouldn’t do to change places and to feel that pain instead, because nothing hurts more than to see your little one suffer.
But at the end of the day, you are ‘just’ a mom. And while – to your child – you might be superwomen and a safe place of comfort, you are also human. And as much as you long to, you can’t shield your child from the hurt and pain that he will experience along with all the joy and happiness throughout his life. You can only raise him to be prepared for it…
You can, however, be a constant source of love in an uncertain world. You can always be there, when he needs you. Always a hand to hold, always a warm hug on a cold day, always a source of encouragement when others might not believe.
Even now, when I can’t take away my Brady’s pain, I will let him know that his mama is here when he cries. Always. Because sometimes, ‘just a mom’ is what a little baby needs.
“So sleep easy, my little one. Mama will be here when you wake. And hopefully, tomorrow will be an easier day, and you will feel better. I love you… always.”