Colic, Reflux, PPD: Must Everything Be Diagnosed?

crying babyI have a confession to make, and I'm sure it's going to piss some of you right the hell off: I'm not sure I believe in colic.

Okay, OKAY, hold up, let me explain: what I mean is, I'm not sure I believe that every single baby that's described as having colic or reflux — or who's being actively treated with medications to improve their incessant crying/screaming/general horribleness — really is suffering from a medical ailment other than being a Tiny Baby Who Is Also Kind of an Asshole.


It's just ... I kind of think that parents these days feel like they need to diagnose everything. They want a reason for why things suck so much, and sometimes the real reason something sucks is that it's a sucky situation, full stop. Newborns are magical wonderful innocent souls who SUCK a WHOLE LOT, what with the crying and the inexplicable screaming and the spitting up and the not knowing how to sleep and the whole thing where they're tiny forming human blobs whose various parts don't quite work perfectly yet (hello, floppy esophageal sphincter and misfiring brain synapses).

Look, I'm not saying it's never GER. I'm just saying ... how is it that nearly every new mom I know has their baby on Zantac? Doesn't that seem a little ... odd? Everyone's so freaked out about their crying kid, and, hey, believe me, I get it. But man, new parents are under enough pressure without having the burden of figuring out how to Make Things Better with the right doctor or wedge-shaped pillow or special sling or whatever it is — wouldn't it be easier if doctors would just say, "Dude, this totally blows, but in a couple months, it'll be like you have a new kid"?

The further I get from my own baby-raising years, the more Andy-Rooney-ish I feel about certain baby-care topics. It seems like there's just so much pressure to make all the right choices and be so incredibly informed and do things Exactly the Right Way, like you're not even allowed to just sit back and wallow in your own ineptitude EVER. Like, you can't even feel like shit after your baby is born without wondering if you should be under the appropriate psychiatric care for postpartum depression. How is anyone NOT depressed after being physically ravaged during birth, the hormonal maelstrom afterwards, and being instantly thrown into the boot-camp-esque conditions of caring for a newborn? The only pill I could have taken to make that better would have been if a full-time nanny could be crammed in a gel cap.

I'm not saying we shouldn't figure out how to improve a bad situation where we can, but I think parents should also feel like it's okay to just sit back and say, god, this is the WORST. Then muscle through the day, because that's what we do. Being constantly told there's a way to make it all better — if only we advocate for our child hard enough, if only we listen to the right advice — well, things are hard enough in those early months. Wouldn't it be more of a relief to know we're already doing the best that we can?

Do you think there's too much pressure on parents to "fix" common baby-care challenges these days?

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