Saturday, April 9, 2016

A Parent's Emotional Stages of "The Witching Hour"

If you look up the witching hour or the period of purple crying, you'll find two synonyms meanings. One is an hour of night when monsters come out to play and wreak havoc. The other is a time of evening/night when babies are extremely fussy for no apparent reason and won't be calmed, not even if you call down a legion of angels or put your child in the field of poppies from The Wizard of Oz. Nothing works.

Apparently this is normal. It just happens, even if you have a calm, peaceful baby all day long.

See, I had no idea this was a thing. My baby didn't come with a warning label, and no one thought it might be nice to give me a heads up. (Like I would have believed them anyway. My sweet baby boy? No way. He's so calm and cute and loveable.) So when it happened out of the blue one night at the end of my son's seventh week, my husband, Gary, and I had no clue what was happening or why. It was rough. It was emotional.

If anyone out there hasn't experienced it yet, this is your heads up. These are the emotional stages you should expect to experience.

Stage 1: Ignorance

At this point, on your baby's first night of the witching hour, you have no idea what kind of insanity is about to unfold. Your sweet-cheeked baby starts fussing, and you think he's hungry or his diaper needs changed or he's sleepy. And because you love your little one, you're more than happy to tend to his needs. Milk? Ready! Diaper stash? Got it! Beddy-bye lullaby? Don't mind if you do...

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Stage 2: Confusion

You've tried all your usual tricks, but Baby's still crying. Why? You've done everything right. You're an expert by now. How is this even happening? "Baby, do you know who I am and what I've done for you??"

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Stage 3: Determination

At that point, you're like, "Okay. So everything else didn't work. That's okay. I'll figure this out. This is why Google was created."

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Stage 4: Disbelief 


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 Stage 5: Denial

Not my sweetie pie baby cakes bundle of squishy joy. Let's try milk and swaddling again...

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Stage 5: Panic

You've tried to soothe your baby a hundred different ways, a hundred times, and nothing is working. The internet was right. This is real, and it's actually happening and you don't know anything and baby won't stop crying and what are you supposed to do and how does that screaming not hurt your baby's throat as much as it's hurting your ears and oh, poor thing--you and the baby.

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 (Yes. You have a minute of panic time. Aaaaand....go!)

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Stage 6: Bargaining

Time to beg. Of course, it won't do you any good, but you beg your baby. "Please stop crying. What's wrong? Just tell me what's wrong, sweetie. I'll do anything. Just tell Momma what you need. Please please please." And there's a litle bit of begging God because it's time to call in rienforcements. "God, what do I do? Help me. Helloooo? Do something, please!"

Source: giphy

Source: giphy

Stage 7: Begging with Tears

Because regular begging didn't work.

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Stage 8: Anger 

None of your efforts have worked. Your pleading and prayers haven't worked. And that makes you darn tootin' mad. Because, dangit, those things should have worked.

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IMPORTANT SERIOUS NOTE: If you're so angry and frustrated you feel like you might be rough with your baby, put him down and leave the room to cool off. It sucks to leave your baby crying alone, but it would suck a lot worse if you harmed your baby. Take a break if you need to.

Stage 9: Deep Tiredness

This isn't the sleepy kind of tired. I mean, you might be sleepy tired too. But the deep kind of tired is the kind where you shut off your emotions and just wait it out because that's all you can do anymore. Your new mantra is, "This won't last forever."

Even if someone rang your doorbell and announced you just won a magical talking pony, you'd be like:

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Stage 10: Relief

Somehow, whether it was some trick that finally worked or the fusiness just ran it's course...silence. Sweet silence. The blissful absence of screaming. Ahhh. The witching hour is over, and you, my friend, are free. Your baby doesn't seem so ghoulish now. Your little darling's eyes grow heavy with sleep, and they've never looked so beautiful.

Source: giphy

Stage 11: Passing Out

Because, after that ordeal, you have some serious emotional recovery to get to.

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And you better recover well because, um, this will probably happen again tomorrow. Okaybyehavefun!

Want more content about crunchy momming with faith, gentleness, and boobs? "Like" Her Arms Are Strong on Facebook!

Other posts you'll enjoy:

I Have to do These Three Things to Enjoy being a SAHM

My Big Trick for Avoiding Mommy Grumpies

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