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Thursday, May 17, 2012

I'm Going to Feel Like a Horrible Mother

I'm currently taking a psychology class about child maltreatment and abuse. I'm barely into the class and it's already extremely interesting to me. I love being a psychology major, especially when that means I get to learn about babies!

Today we had a guest lecturer that talked about North Carolina's recent initiative to reduce cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome. The program is called "PURPLE" and seeks to educate mothers, fathers, and care givers about what to expect when they have a baby in terms of crying and coping with crying.

Did you know that babies, normal & healthy babies, often cry 4 hours every day? And they sleep for about 16 hours every day, on average. That means for every hour a baby is awake they could be crying for half of it.


In my mind, babies are supposed to be cute and cuddly and only cry for a minute or two until they're satiated by a clean diaper and milk.

Nope. Apparently not.

So why am I tell you this, friend? Well because frankly if I was a new mom and didn't have this information I would feel like I was the worst mother on the planet. I would feel like a failure. I would frankly not be shocked if I struggled with postpartum depression if my baby was inconsolably crying for hours on end. I also say this because it's not just something new moms need to be privy to but to males (who are, in the majority of cases, perpetrators of Shaken Baby Syndrome) and child care givers (who are more likely than mothers to commit the crime) who care for and live with children.

Crying is normal though. Hours of crying is normal. Healthy, even.

The PURPLE initiative seeks to console parents with this information, telling them that the crying of a normal, healthy baby is...
Resistant to soothing
Painful expression
Long lasting
Clustered in the Evening

So, mamas & future mamas, take heart - you're not a failure! Daddies & future daddies, might wanna buy some earplugs, prepare to help out, and get the number of a good massage therapist (for you & your baby mama). For real.

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