Our baby screams. We love her endlessly and she screams. It’s still quite a bit but also a bit less so now, and most of the time we don’t know why.
She was screaming during feeds and afterward, but that’s because she had silent reflux. We got given a little brown bottle of dissolved medicine, a prescription for time, and the gentle massage of an oestopath. The time did it in the end and now the acid doesn’t burn her throat anymore. She screams a lot less.
But aside from that.
All babies are different, they say. Hushed tones and knowing looks.
Sometimes it’s hard being different.
A morning of mounting anxiety, telling me that I can’t go to playgroup because I’ll make a mistake or my baby will scream or cry continuously again and everyone will think I’m a bad mum.
These things will definitely happen.
The time ticks on. I’m more and more ansty to leave the house. These mint walls are engulfing and they contain every feed, every nap, most screams. They are our prison and our safe haven, our everyday and our dread. If I can’t find the courage to make it to playgroup, at least I should try and go out, I tell myself.
The last time we went out was Monday. My baby was in the pram because I am told that babies like prams and the motion helps them to fall asleep. We walked for half an hour and she screamed the whole way. Gutteral, choking screams that only subsided slightly when I took her out and held her, standing in the mud underneath the leafless, winter trees.
I’m scared to go for walks now.
So this afternoon we hopped in the car, my heart beating out of my chest and my breathing shallow. Waiting, waiting, when will it happen again? I drove to a beach a few towns over and she fell asleep on the way. The road there was beautiful and the light from the sea created a cave like horizon. I put the car into park for 30 seconds to look at the ocean.
She started screaming.
I drove on, hoping the motion would settle her back down, but I know better than this. It doesn’t. It never does. I found a safe place to park and pulled her into my arms and eventually she became quiet. We played the funny faces game as I tried not to cry and she grinned her sunshine smile with each expression.
While we had parked a couple returned to their van a few parks over. They were backpacking, exploring, and returned to their converted van with food. They dug into their pies and were laughing and looking out across the park. They looked so free. They looked so calm. They looked so content.
My baby goes back into her car seat and I start driving home.
She starts screaming again.
Choking, coughing, ear piercing screams.
I try and sing to her on the 14 minute drive home. Thundering along at 100 km/hr on SH1, be calm, be calm, focus on the road, I force myself.
She screams on and I remember that I once read somewhere that some mums put on headphones while they take care of their screaming babies. I understand.
She screams and screams and her whole face is bright red, her eyes clamped shut, tears running down her cheeks. Her head judders and shakes with each new rampage, a small earthquake of the chaos she feels.
We arrive home. I take her out of the car seat and into my arms once again. Her back is soaked is sweat, her whole body shakes along with each gust of noise that sweeps through.
I hold my baby while she screams and screams, my tears running down to meet hers. Eventually she falls asleep and there is quiet and now we wait.
I don’t really know what to think of it because we don’t know why she screams when many other babies cry softly. Some people say she is being a little bit dramatic or sensitive, others say she is just being a baby. I’m just going to think about it in the way that she has a loud soul. She feels big, she loves big, she is tidal waves and sandstorms which contrasts my quiet soul of puddles and mist. And although this journey, screaming and all, is so damn hard, every day we are loving her more and more exactly how she is.