By P. Berman, K. Hecht, & A. Hosack
I am going to figure this mother thing out. I will be a great mom like I promised God. He made Davy love me like I asked; Mrs. Carson said so!
While Davy was napping the next day, Claire went back to http://www.zerotothree to learn more about her Davy; yes, Claire was really feeling like he was “her” son and when she said this to herself, it felt good. She was going to learn everything on this site and then she would be a great mother – not a waste of space. Her happy thoughts started to fade and then took a complete nosedived as she read about the different types of cries babies made to indicate what they needed. When Davy was crying, it all sounded the same to her- plain awful. Wasn’t it just figuring it out by trying stuff? If Davy was crying, she would check his diaper. If it needed to be changed, she changed it. If he didn’t need a change, she would try to feed him. Now, this stuff was saying Davy could get scared and get lonely. He had a lonely cry? Claire began feeling stupid again. When Davy was crying, it all sounded the same to her.
What about me? I feel lonely. I get scared. No one is reading a website to help me! Claire was overwhelmed. Part of her wanted to read more. Part of her wanted to throw the computer through her window. She ran to the window and put her head against the glass and just wailed in despair.
Mrs. Carson was walking by Claire’s room, heard her despair, and rushed in. She stroked Claire’s hair and gently asked what was wrong. Claire said she was too stupid to learn all the things on the website and would never be a good mother. Mrs. Carson reminded her that she was part of their family now and they would help her with Davy. She looked at the computer screen that Claire had been reading. It was all about different types of baby cries and how to calm down when feeling stressed out by a fussy baby with colic.
“Claire, Davy can stress me out too.” Claire was startled. She immediately stopped crying and looked up at Mrs. Caron in surprise. “Most of the material on your screen is new to me too. Maybe we can figure this de-stress thing out together. We both could use a break from Davy crying.” Mrs. Carson began to read the steps out loud:
Step 1: “Remind yourself to stay calm.” Okay, lets close our eyes for a second and tell ourselves to be calm. Mrs. Carson opens her eyes and looks at Claire. Are we calm yet? Claire looks up with tear streaked eyes and shakes her head no.
Step 2: “Next, we take four deep breathes so our chests feel ready to explode”. After her fourth breath, Mrs. Carson looks at Claire and says, “How did that feel?” Claire wasn’t crying any more, but she said she still felt bad.
Step 3: “Okay,” Mrs. Carson said, “the final next step if you still feel stressed out is to ask for help. You find someone you trust and ask them to care for Davy, maybe even for fifteen minutes to get a break.” Claire looked at Mrs. Carson; asking for help was hard. She wanted help but was it safe? Could she trust Mrs. Carson not to take Davy from her if she knew how often she needed help?
When Davy was crying a log, Claire still having thoughts of leaving him in his crib and running away from the Carsons to never come back. What should she do? Claire figured that the safest thing was to pretend she was alright. She told Mrs. Carson that Step 2 had finally kicked in and she felt fine now.
Mrs. Carson left the room feeling puzzled by the parade of feelings that had crossed Claire’s face before she said she was okay. Claire didn’t look relaxed at all to Mrs. Carson; she looked scared. Mrs. Carson wondered how she could help Claire, if Claire wouldn’t tell her what was wrong. She sat on the couch and tried to puzzle things out. Then, she remembered how it had helped her as a young mother to read the parenting magazine at the doctor’s office. The articles were short and might be easier for Claire to understand than the website she had been looking at.
Davy woke up and began to cry- his diaper was full. Claire changed him quickly and then did the kangaroo thing and held him close to her bare skin; Davy was her son and so one was taking her Davy from her.
Mrs. Carson had heard Davy’s cries and how quickly they stopped. Claire wasn’t doing badly. She just needed more confidence and to realize, no mom could do it alone. During dinner, Mrs. Carson suggested they have family time when the meal was over where they would read a parenting magazine together. The first night, they found a good magazine online at: https://www.parents.com/baby/feeding/30-little-ways-to-bond-with-baby/