Do you have a fussy baby? Does it seem as though he or she is hard to settle or soothe? Does it feel as though they need you constantly?
Before I had my first child, I thought my son’s seemingly constant crying was because I wasn’t doing a good enough job of being a mother. Now I know more about babies and realise that he was just a very vocal young man (who had possible tummy issues, but that remains unknown).
However I know I’m not alone - I know that having a baby who cries a lot has a lot of negative impacts on mothers, not just because mothers might think they are getting anything wrong, but maybe because they find it harder to go to groups because their baby doesn’t enjoy it, or they find it harder to get some sleep because their baby doesn’t settle easily, or they can’t stop worrying that something is wrong...
Research bears this out - mothers who gave so-called fussy infants are more likely to experience depressive symptoms. And the thing that can help mitigate this? Emotional support. Having people who understand. Having people who will listen to the impact. Having space to talk about how hard it is.
In Edinburgh we have Juno peer support groups, which can be really helpful for getting emotional support. And if it feels as though your baby’s crying is starting to really get to you, counselling can be useful, even if it’s just a few sessions.
The most important thing to realise is that having a baby who is not easily consoled DOES make life harder, and so being compassionate to yourself is really necessary.