“Looking forward to the sleepless nights?”

What is it with people asking me this? Would you be looking forward to broken nights punctuated with the inconsolable wails of a small, yet very loud person? I mean, what kind of a ridiculous question is it?!

This bump will, eventually, turn into my third child and let me tell you- that in no way makes me an expert. BUT I will say this: a crying baby is no joke. If my time as a mother has taught me anything, it’s that a crying baby can be soul destroying at times. I’m not kidding.

My first child was an angel, but she still cried. A lot. That’s how newborn babies communicate. That’s how they let us know that they need something- a feed, a nappy change, a scenery change. A crying baby needs to be listened to and responded to appropriately. My daughter taught me that. My daughter trained me in being able to identify her unique cry amongst a sea of other baby’s cries. My daughter taught me that a crying baby can be a wonderful thing.

And then along came my son. Now this was a crying baby. From the moment he was born, he cried real, proper, LOUD cries. He spent the first twelve weeks of his life crying. So did I, come to think of it. We got to the stage where we realised this was more than a crying baby. Put together the inconsolable wails with the projectile vomiting and the constant feeding and we had ourselves one of those dreaded models- the baby reflux deluxe model. The one no parent really wants to take home from the hospital.

My son was a crying baby with a difference. He was referred to the hospital and I was told to eventually stop breastfeeding. He needed special formula so that he could start to gain weight. He was put onto anti-sickness medication and pain relief medication, which he still takes today. He still sleeps erratically. Teething, wind, reflux- it all keeps him up. Now that he’s two, dreams can also wake him through the night and he’s a stubborn little boy too. If he decides at 2 am that he wants to get up and play with his toys, then there is little point arguing with him. These days he isn’t so much of a crying baby than a crying toddler. But he is a lot better.

So when people ask me if I’m looking forward to the sleepless nights, you’ll understand why I want to punch them in the face. Looking forward to them? I haven’t even passed them yet! And if by sleepless nights you mean constant pacing with a distraught crying baby strapped to my chest, then the answer is NO. I am not looking forward to it. Did you expect a different answer?

There are so many reasons why a baby cries. It isn’t always explained away with teething and wind. Some babies have real reasons to be awake and crying. Some babies, like mine, cry because they are in pain. As a mother, it is heartbreaking to be unable to soothe that pain. As a mother, it is crushing to know that a simple nappy change and a feed will not help your crying baby.

We’re hoping that the baby reflux model was a one-off. A blip in the general scheme of things. We’re hoping that this time we will be blessed with a good sleeper but you know what? Even if we’re not, I still know that my baby will cry. And I’m still ok with that.