Overwhelmed New Mom Pleads for Help Online, and the Internet Does Not Disappoint
It led to a potentially life-changing connection with a real pro.
One of the most frustrating parts of caring for a newborn is figuring out why the baby won't stop crying. Sure, you could try feeding, changing the diaper and rocking, but sometimes you've exhausted all those options, and yet your tiny, adorable baby is still screaming, leaving both of you frustrated.
For a new mom on Reddit, the frustration spurred her to post to the r/confessions subreddit, desperate for advice. User pineapplefountain revealed that she hadn't really slept since her daughter was born eight weeks ago. "She's a beautiful little girl, but she screams and screams and screams. I do everything to console her. I make sure she is fed, dry, not in pain and comfortable. But she almost never stops screaming," she wrote. Things got worse when her husband left for a business trip, leaving her alone with her child for the first time. "It was going OK this morning, but then the floodgates opened. I held her, rocked her, bounced her but nothing worked ... I'm ashamed to type this, but I wanted to shake my baby."
Thinking she was about to have a "nervous breakdown" and feeling "fed up," she wrote that she strapped her daughter into her car seat and placed her in the coat closet and shut the door. She then set a one-hour alarm, went to her bedroom, and then checked up on her daughter when the alarm went off. Even though by then her daughter was sleeping and no longer crying, she said when she picked up her daughter at that time, she just started sobbing. "It's too much. I'm a terrible mother. I can't handle this."
Seeing her confession, fellow parents and caregivers in the Reddit community came to the rescue to help the poor mom by offering loads of advice—resulting in about 3,500 comments.
Here's what they had to say.
The top comment comes from a nanny who shared what she or he tells first-time parents who struggle with calming down a crying baby:
"It's OK to put the baby in a safe place and shut the door. You cannot help if you are not in control. Babies feed off your energy. Try laughing when you feel overwhelmed, it can trick your heart and energy and the baby can’t feel your panic anymore. Yes, you will look like a mad lady but I swear by it as a nanny. Even I get overwhelmed and want them to STFU."
She even gave the new mom an amazing offer, which likely earned her comment the top reply on the page: "If you live in USA, CO I’ll send you my references and come help relieve you for free."
Several agreed with the nanny's advice to laugh when overwhelmed.
One wrote, "When my daughter was freshly hatched, we kinda went nuts with her crying and screaming. Once we started to watch comedies (usually ones we ready knew would make us laugh, even sound low) we would just giggle and laugh. She started to calm much easier. It was like a switch was flipped. She'd coo, or smile and them fall asleep much faster, and we were less stressed."
Others revealed she wasn't the only parent to leave their child alone to cry it out, only to check up on the kid soon after.
"My dad said he used to do this when I was baby. He would roll my bassinet into the closet because it was the only place where I would eventually fall asleep instead of screaming my head off for hours on end. It was completely dark and quiet in there and I would fall asleep in just a few minutes. I obviously have no memories or damage from this. It’s actually a pretty smart move in my opinion. I wasn’t being harmed in any way ... You didn’t do anything wrong. You didn’t harm your child. You walked away from a stressful situation and got some much needed rest, and she cried it out and went to sleep."
Even some users' pediatricians and nurses told them that it was OK to leave the baby to cry as long as the child is safe.
"I had to do this once. My first son was a living nightmare. Screaming nonstop. Doctors couldn't figure it out. He would sleep in 10-minute increments. The only way he would calm down is during a car ride and that was 50/50 I spent a lot of time just driving this kid around town hoping he would chill for a minute. We tried everything. Literally. One day a nurse suggested that if it got to be too much I should put him in a closet for a bit just to get away. I thought she was insane until one day I was just sitting there next to this screaming inconsolable kid thinking the worst. So you know, I put him in his car seat, grabbed one of those clip lights, and put him in the closet. [I] went outside and smoked about 10 cigarettes in a row. [I] cleared my head and walked the yard for a few minutes."
However, [some]((https://www.reddit.com/r/confessions/comments/ax83tk/i_put_my_infant_daughter_in_the_closet_shut_the/ehrtcwx) pointed out that putting her child in a car seat might not have been the safest option.
"I totally agree and understand everyone needs to step away at times but strapped into a car seat outside of the car AND unsupervised is absolutely NOT safe and a huge risk for positional asphyxia or strangulation. A car seat is not at the appropriate recline position on the floor. Baby would be much safer on a flat surface like a crib or even a cleared floor area."
Many reminded her that her child's safety should be of utmost concern, but her sanity as a parent is also important.
"Making sure they're safe is always a priority, but making sure you, as a parent, are sane, comes in a close second," said one user.
"You need to take care of your nerves so that you can be a good mom," wrote another.
Some suggested she also get help from others, even if those individuals don't live nearby.
One user commented, "Look for your tribe. They are out there somewhere. I found a message board with other moms that saved my sanity those first few hard months. It gave me a place to vent when I just couldn't do it anymore. They saved my sanity. Seven years later they still help with all of the crappy parts of parenthood."
And several reassured her that she is not a terrible mother for what she did.
"We've all been there. You did the right thing. You put her in a safe spot and walked away to cool down. YOU ARE NOT A TERRIBLE MOTHER!!!!!!! We've all had those feelings. I have done the same. I put my son in his bed and walked out the back door and sat on my porch sobbing. Parenting is fucking hard, dude. Newborns are fucking hard. Please don't be hard on yourself. And please don't hesitate to ask the people you care about for help when you need it. My biggest regret is not reaching out for the help I desperately needed when my son was a newborn, "one comment read.
Since sharing the confession, the new mom posted on the subreddit to give everyone an update. She said she felt guilty about putting her child in the car seat because she didn't know it wouldn't be safe, but she was also grateful to the Reddit community for showing their support.
"My husband is home now and we are going to try to arrange for help to come a few times a week to give me a break. It'll be a significant expense, but I think I need it ... Thank you again. There are some truly lovely people on this thread."
Written by Maricar Santos for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.