"He's so happy. You're so lucky that he's such an easy baby!" I've heard that so many times since Henry made me a mother. And people are half right- he is a really happy baby (toddler temper tantrums notwithstanding). He's cheerful, he's fun, he's funny and he's pretty much always in a good mood, even when he doesn't feel well, and even when he was fighting through one of his countless colds or ear infections.
But he hasn't been an EASY baby by any means.
It took my Mom saying that to me to make me realize that how I felt when someone called him an "easy" baby was okay. Because I have never felt that this motherhood thing was easy. And not just in a "I'm so tired all the time" kind of way. Although, that applies, too. But more because we've had to jump through several hoops with Henry in his fifteen months on earth. Granted, it is NOWHERE near what some people have to, and I'm thankful every single day for that. But still, things have been anything but easy.
It started when he was a new baby. Brand new to the world, checking things out. We had plenty of issues with breastfeeding, until I decided it was better for both of us if I quit. And shortly after that we ran into issues with reflux. Every single time he would eat, he'd scream bloody murder after and often projectile vomit. After countless doctor visits and prodding from myself, we were finally given a solution and put him on Zantac (which he stayed on for months). At the time of the reflux, they put him on soy formula believing he may also be lactose intolerant. The soy and the Zantac combined caused pretty severe constipation for him, so whenever he had a bowel movement, there was more projectile vomit. It's safe to say I spent the first six months of his life covered in vomit.
After he started to grow out of that, he grew into cold after cold after cold due to being at daycare full time. And then the ear infections started when he was eight months old. He had them nearly back to back for five months until we were finally able to put tubes in his ears. After the tubes came the teething. And throughout all of this, he wasn't sleeping through the night. Which means fifteen months of at least twice nightly wakenings- sometimes closer to four or five. It's nearly impossible to continue to be a kind person when you're surviving on just a few hours of sleep for over a year.
And now? Now things are different. Over the past few weeks he's stopped the colds and the ear infections and the teething. And he SLEEPS. And now he's an easy baby. Now he is fun and playful and independent. And now when people tell me "what an easy baby!", I'm able to smile and genuinely say "yes, we're so lucky" without inwardly cringing. But motherhood is hard. Really hard. And it's impossible to get the full story just by watching a baby giggle and play all throughout the grocery store. Or just by seeing him smile in all his photos. Behind those photos are tears and frustration and pain. So believe me when I say that sometimes you aren't getting the whole picture.