Here you are – you’re only a few weeks in to new parenthood, and suddenly your angelic newborn has become fussy, frustrated, cranky and finicky, crying for hours on end and for days and days and days, and there’s no end in sight. You’re exhausted, worried, spread thin and ready to scream, and there’s literally NO one around to help you.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have friends or family waiting in the wings when you need help, ready to jump in and save the day, or week or longer. Some of us are really alone most of the time, whether by choice or circumstance, and many of us enjoy the independence. Just after the birth of your new little bundle of joy, however, even the strongest and most self-sufficient of us could use a little help sometimes, and if the baby starts going through days or weeks of crying and fussing, support becomes really important.
What happens if you just don’t have help?
You have to open the door to letting help in, and then ask for it. We all need help sometimes, and help can come in different and often unexpected forms. Needing assistance, or friendship, or empathy or even just rest doesn’t make us weak – it makes us human, and asking for that help makes us stronger.
Where do you go to find help, and how do you reach out?
The most natural place to start seeking assistance in dealing with your little one is your pediatrician, who, besides being able to rule out serious problems or issues that might require treatment, can usually also recommend local support groups for parents. Your physician can reassure you that your child is healthy, and can often open the door to locally accessible resources to cope with new parenthood.
Most towns and cities offer adult education classes, and many hospitals offer parenting classes that provide access to other parents who may be dealing with the same issues you’re struggling with. Just because you already know how to change a diaper or do baby CPR doesn’t make the other parents taking those classes inappropriate potential friends, and you may very well be able to help someone else in the same way you need help, so don’t be afraid to explore parenting classes and groups.
Of course, in today’s world, where meetings in person may be ill-advised right now, you can also look for and join online communities where new or more experienced parents go to find a sympathetic ear or a bit of wisdom. Online communities can be invaluable when you are on your own, and are free and usually monitored to keep them friendly and helpful. Online you can find a world of empathy, and even if it just connects you to others who are also dealing with colic or even just with loneliness as a new parent, it can be a real lifeline when you are trying to cope.
Online communities are easy to find on Facebook or Meetups, and even Instagram and Pinterest can offer access to others who are dealing with or who have survived the ‘colic months’. If you don’t have computer access, try taking your little one to the library for a short visit, especially if you can walk to one – the baby gets some time outside, and probably a nap, and you get some exercise and access to the world for a while.
On Facebook, you can search for groups and join them, then take your time getting to know the group a bit, or jump right in and ask for advice. Meetups is a site where you can join an online group that also meets in person (or virtually these days as well), periodically, so you will be sure to meet up with someone from your local area if you’re looking for someone nearby to get to know. Pinterest and Instagram give you access to people who are often constant posters, and by following people you find and are interested in, you can strike up a conversation by commenting on their posts as well as by sending direct messages.
Finally, even your close neighbors may not know you yet, and you may feel shy about taking a step towards getting to know them, but often, having a next door neighbor who is aware of you and may be a friend can be one of the best ways to start your own new network of support for when you need it, so consider saying hello next time you see them – we all have a need for someone sometimes, and when you are able to ask for help, you are often given the privilege of giving help too, and knowing that you may have eased someone else’s burden just a bit.
We’re all human, after all!