She’s not fine, I thought.
She keeps crying.
I’m doing something wrong.
I have no idea what to do.
These are the things I remember thinking in the first few months of my twin daughters’ lives.
Motherhood was instantly not at all what I thought it would be. I thought my children wouldn’t cry that much — and if they did, I thought I would take care of them so well that it wouldn’t last long.
But the crying continued, sometimes in the evenings for hours.
What was I doing wrong? Why couldn’t I make my babies happy? What is wrong?
These are the many unhappy thoughts that crossed my mind. I didn’t know any better.
Eventually, the piercing infant crying was replaced by toddler crying.
And toddler crying was replaced by children’s crying.
And then I realized: Children cry. It’s what they do. Maybe some don’t cry as much, but most absolutely do. I wish more people would admit it. I wish more parents would feel OK with saying that’s why parenting is so hard — because of the crying.
The trick is to understand that the crying will stop eventually. The secret is in understanding that you are not alone. Your child is not strange because he cries and gets upset easily. In fact, your child is communicating, very effectively. He’s gotten your attention, which was his purpose.
I wish someone had pulled me aside in those first few weeks to tell me I was still a really good mother when my babies cried and I didn’t know what to do to please them.
I wish someone had told me that children cry, and when they do, it doesn’t mean I’m a bad mom.
I wish someone had told me that children cry, and when they do, it will not last forever.
I wish someone had told me that just because you’ve tried everything in the world to soothe a child doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them — or you.
Now that I know this, I am passing this on to any new mother I know. Because I want her to understand that she’s not alone when she’s faced with a crying baby. I want her to know that those tears that she’s shedding over feeling like a failure have nothing to do with what kind of a mom she is.
The trick is understanding that and moving through it with calm in your mind and heart.
I want all parents to know that crying is typical. Normal.
And perfectly fine.
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