“An Open Letter to my Baby with Colic” was written by one of my readers, Alex Johnson. This brave woman reached out to me with one hope – to provide help to mothers who were struggling with a colicky baby. I know there are many searching now for how to calm a colicky baby, but a mom needs personal support too. How was this reader willing to help? By sharing her story through a letter she wrote to her baby 18 years ago when he was struggling with colic.
Motherhood, especially during the early years, can feel very isolating and lonely. There is a power in hearing the stories of others. I’m not speaking of just the heartwarming, happy stories. The stories that were born out of the struggle and the pain give us a depth of understanding and an empathy that is much needed in humanity. This woman wants her story to be there as a lifeline for the mom whose emotions are raw because of the reality of a newborn with colic. It’s not easy, but there is hope.
Here is how my reader reached out:
Hello, I am a mother of three. My oldest is about to turn 18, and part of his present is me putting together all of the letters I had written him over the years. My son was colic as an infant. I don’t mean he cried some. I mean he screamed….ALL THE TIME! It was the most difficult experience of my life. I am telling you this because I just re-typed one of the letters I wrote him.
He was just 6 weeks old. He was colic, and I probably was suffering, untreated from postpartum. My letter is heart wrenching. I had promised myself that I would always be honest in the letters. This one is painfully honest, and pathetically sad. No one talks about colic.
I was so woefully unprepared and felt so alone. I don’t know if you would be interested, but I wondered if my letter might help someone else. If you are interested, I could send it to you and you could maybe post it on your blog since you have a good following. As a new mother dealing with a colicky baby, I would have liked to have known that others shared and understood my pain. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
After reading the letter, I jumped on the chance of sharing it. Not only do I love the thought of helping moms who are facing the challenges of postpartum and colic, but I also adore the idea of writing letters like this and presenting them to the children as a gift. If reminds me of my birthday letter writing tradition that I’ve neglected for the last few years and am now determined to re-start.
An Open Letter to my Baby with Colic
June 15, 1999
6 weeks old
I love you and I wanted you from before you were even born. You are here with me, with your perfect little body, and yet I feel so painfully alone. You are not the child I imagined, and I feel as though I am in the most vulnerable position ever. I want to be a good mother. It is so important-yet, I am afraid I am failing you. Where are my sweet maternal feelings? Where is that instant bonding that everyone talks about? Instead, I feel like there is a noose around my neck. Panic sets in. How am I going to do this? I feel like I am surviving hour by hour, sometimes minute by minute. Nothing will ever be the same again. And I feel terribly guilty. You deserve more; you deserve better. I feel like just about every new mother in the world feels full-fledged bliss at the birth of her little miracle. What is wrong with me? Will we both survive this?
Today I have done nothing but be with you. I have eaten nothing. I have not left you, at all. I sit with you in my lap, wearing the same clothes as yesterday, smelling like dried sour milk. And I cry. I never stop loving you for a minute. I know that deep down I truly do love you. I cry because I can’t move, and I don’t know if I will ever be able to move again. I feel trapped. I feel inadequate. I feel like a failure. And then you wake up and look at me. You stir softly. You coo and look so peaceful. And I cry. I cry because you are so beautiful. And deep down I know that you are not intentionally trying to drive me crazy.
Did I make the biggest mistake of my life in becoming a mother? I thought I was ready. I thought I was ready for the sacrifices and challenges. But now I wonder. Is it this hard for every new mother or am I just too selfish and impatient? I am trying so hard. I am working harder than I have ever worked at anything in my life, and I still cannot comfort you. So I think it must be me. I try harder. I have nothing left to give. I am failing at the most important job in my life. The really scary thing is I cannot quit. I would not quit. I will not quit. This is my reality. I am so sorry.
We are a story sharing people, so keep sharing your stories with one another. To the mom with a colic baby, you are not alone. You will get through this season. It will not be like this forever. Seek the help and community you need right now. Know that you are strong, and your baby will be fine. Be encouraged today.