I’ll just start by saying, we have all been there!!
Sitting in a cafe, walking through a shopping centre, attending an appointment, trying to do our food shop…whenever or wherever your baby decides to scream it is the most awkward thing ever!
I was recently in town on a wonderfully sunny day having a pleasant stroll around the shops (which is not something I get to do very often at all these days) and then…scream!!!!
Now good for you if your baby is a good sleeper, I feel no envy towards you (NOT!). My beautiful baby on the other hand fights sleep like there is no tomorrow and the more she fights it, the more upset she gets because she is of course over tired! I had been walking her around town, buggy reclined, canopy over, full tummy, clean nappy…all the things to promote the right napping conditions and yet would she sleep?! So I am still trying to enjoy myself while feeling the rising concern about the nap that was not happening. Rocking and swaying as buy sun cream (perhaps optimistic) and checking out recipe books that might work for the whole family. Pacing back and forth quickly and then slowly, trying different rhythms looking like a mad woman as I admire clothes that I wish my body would look good in post pregnancy.
Still no sleep!
Her eyes by this point are heavy, she knows just as much as I do that she must sleep and yet the will of my little one is just amazing. I start to hear gurning as she begins to lose the battle she has been fighting, which is fine by me. I little moan is okay. However she then just loses it and I mean loses it! Screaming murder at the top of her lungs in the middle of the shopping centre as she clings desperately to whatever consciousness she has left but at the same time needing and wanting to sleep. Well can I just say, my child being that upset is upsetting enough for me but I know that while it is horrible to hear, she is actually just about to drop off and this is her last effort before she gives in to a blissful nap. Unfortunately every other person in the centre does not know this and even though I am marching as fast as I possibly can to get outside (where she really doesn’t sound as noisy) shhing her and saying comforting words of reassurance, everyone and I mean EVERYONE is staring at us!
The amount of dirty looks, concerned gazes and puzzled stares is just overwhelming! I am NOT doing anything to harm my child, nor am I being cruel to her or anything else one could imagine. I am just putting her down for her nap but those eyes burn on to you… No matter how much you can pretend to brush these things off, at the end of the day it is a “please ground swallow me now” moment!
Don’t get me wrong, I think it is great that people have concern when they hear an upset child as you do hear so many stories of incidents in which there were witnesses that decided it best not to get involved. I too would take a glance to check that the situation was alright and no child was coming to any harm. Glance! If the situation is simply a screaming child and everything is normal then why stare at a poor mother who trying to comfort her baby while shrinking in size every second. Have you never heard a crying child before?
Friends with babies totally get it! It is a topic that comes up a lot, “You’ll never guess where she decided to have a meltdown!” Sharing the embarrassing storied with one another definitely helps. I have a friend who got asked by strangers, “is she not hungry?” No, no she is not. Thank you for your input.
Frankly having a screaming baby is just plain awful and no matter how brave a face I put on…I can still see the faces of the the staring people days later because unfortunately I think other peoples opinions matter to each and every one of us deep down. Whether it makes us sad, angry or cringe. I don’t want them to think she is naughty or that I am a bad mother. I don’t want to feel judged or looked down on. I am doing the best I can.
Of course once I got outside and rocked her she dropped off immediately as by this point she knew that sleep was actually the prize and not the enemy. I turned around, walked back in casually with my head held high; proudly displaying my beautiful sleeping baby. Phew!
- She is not a bad baby for crying. Babies cry and it doesn’t matter how loud she gets, she is not doing it for any other reason than to tell me how upset she is.
- I am not a bad parent for letting her cry in a safe environment. I am with her; soothing her. Perhaps not in the way she wants (mummy’s milk) but I am reassuring her and even though she is upset, she is learning a valuable lesson that she can fall asleep with a different type of comfort.
- Even if every person around me is staring, I am doing a good job. I am being a mum and doing the best I can for my child. Let them stare, they might learn a thing or two!
Wife and mother, x