When S was about four months old, just after our move, I saw a lactation consultant. Our stuff was still in cardboard boxes when someone on a Facebook page recommended her for our…issues. They sang this woman’s praises shortly after I lamented my perils about my Spit Up Baby. Go see her she’s wonderful, they raved, all but bestowing upon her some wings and a halo.
“She will solve all your problems.”
Tell an exhausted, hormonal mom of a colicky baby who projectile vomits three to five times after eating that someone will solve all their problems. Then watch that Mama run. I don’t care who this person was; she had answers. Answers to problems that were running me ragged physically, mentally, and emotionally. Answers I had cried for hours about…Or at least the promise of answers. At that point that was sure good enough for me. Three pediatricians, two different reflux medications, controlled feedings, 62821 loads of puke-filled laundry, and night after night of hopelessly sobbing in the nursery glider while my infant arched her back and wailed, problems. She could’ve been the dang Wizard of Oz behind a smokescreen for all I cared at that point. If she was as great as those people were saying, I was going to see her.
After a few minutes of lamenting my baby’s history to this woman, I all but expected the same script of answers I had received over the last four months; constant gassiness (all babies are gassy), projectile vomit endless times a day, (all babies spit up, you just get used to the extra laundry), she cries for hours (some babies are just colicky). The same answers I had received from people that didn’t seem to listen, care, or understand no matter how many times I felt like I was shouting, this isn’t normal!! at the top of my lungs. This sweet and wonderful woman looked this ragged new mom square in the eye and gave the best advice I’ve ever received to date:
“Mama…sometimes you gotta STOMP. YOUR. FEET!”
It was as if this woman’s halo and wings were indeed real because her timing was impeccable. She gave me the encouragement I didn’t know I needed. She helped me with more than just answers for my baby (I got those too).
In seven simple words, she gave me confidence.
Confidence I thought I had already had. Confidence in the knowledge I had. After all, I do have that degree in Early Childhood Education. All those college classes in child development and psychology, right? More importantly, confidence in reminding me that I was my child’s biggest advocate, that I was her voice. Confidence that sometimes, just sometimes, I knew my kid better than someone with a stethoscope around their neck. Confidence that mama-gut is not usually wrong and that after months of feeling like I was internally shouting, “THIS IS NOT NORMAL,” someone finally listened. Confidence that my opinion mattered and that my kid deserved the best care I could find for her, that we all deserved some answers after those long and terrible nights. Confidence that even though I was a new mom, four months deep in spit up and postpartum hormones, it’s perfectly acceptable to stomp my feet a little bit sometimes in order to be heard.