• Jessica Mendes

It’s OK to Not Be Okay

A couple of months ago I dealt with a huge crying episode from Camila. I know what you’re thinking… “Duh, she’s a baby. Of course she’s going to cry.” Here’s the thing though, she’s not a crier, unless she’s extremely tired or in pain. The girl wakes up smiling and talking every morning instead of crying for food. It’s the most beautiful thing to me. But when she turned two months old, she started teething; hands in mouth, drooling, eating less, the whole teething shenanigans. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny Saturday in October and we decided to go to the beach. Yay! I was excited because I hadn’t been to the beach all summer since I gave birth to Camila in July and had to wait a bit before taking her to the beach with us. I was feeling great with my freshly dark colored hair and swimsuit I was finally going to wear postpartum. Camila was doing relatively okay that day, a little fussy about her gums here and there, but as soon as we got in the car and took off, she started having a full on meltdown for 10 straight minutes. She’s never done that before in the car. Normally, being in a moving car is actually what calms her down, so I knew she was in excruciating pain which killed me. She was trying to chew on her hands so I put teething gel on her gums and her pacifier, but it didn’t help much. Once we got to the beach, she calmed down. What a relief… so I thought. My husband and I laid our things on the sand, put some sunscreen on the baby, and before I could even take my dress off to lay out, Camila started crying again and screaming. She was clearly in pain and not happy being at the beach. I tried to rock her, sing to her, put more teething gel, walk with her, feed her. Nothing worked. To top it off, EVERYONE within 30-50 feet was staring at us. Mind you, there’s a lot of people and if you’ve watched my stories on instagram, you know I HATE being stared at. I tried to ignore it, but with a screaming baby in my arms and all eyes on me, it was difficult.

I don’t like to be stared at. It makes me very nervous and anxious especially when I’m already worried about trying to calm my baby who’s clearly in pain. One lady came to me and kindly suggested that maybe Camila had colic and to put her on her tummy. As her mother, I knew it wasn’t tummy issues. I did what she suggested to be nice and as I figured, it didn’t work, but I kindly told the lady she’s having teething issues. I’m sure the lady was just trying to help but it made my anxiety worse even though I was trying to breathe and ignore it. I told my husband after 10-15 minutes that we needed to go. Camila was uncomfortable and so was I and there was no need to stay any longer no matter how badly I wanted a beach day. As my husband packs up our things while I try to soothe our baby, another lady walks by me with an assertive look in her eye and says “maminha” which in Portuguese, basically means “give her the boob” as if I hadn’t already tried that. Now I was really annoyed! I kindly responded by saying, “It’s her teeth.” I’m not even sure how I stayed so calm when I said it because I was raging on the inside. I don’t like when people I don’t know try to give unsolicited advice. It’s one thing if someone offers to help with my things while I’m with the baby or if they wanted to try to distract the baby or even just ASK if I want help would be awesome! But for strangers to tell me what to do or not do when I never asked, as this has happened to me on MANY occasions here in Portugal, it just stresses me out even more! I’ll have to talk about this on another blog post. Moving on, we left the beach and as soon as we got to the car, Camila stopped crying. My selfish side couldn’t help but be consumed with thoughts such as, “Oh great! Now you stop crying. You couldn’t just enjoy your first beach day with mommy. We didn’t even get a picture together. I really needed a beach day.” My husband was trying to be positive and normally I would too. I always try to look for a valuable lesson in every situation or some positivity to it, but I actually told him, “Not everything has to be sunshine and rainbows.” Basically it’s okay to not be okay. I wanted to sit in my sorrow just for five minutes. Not to have pity from anyone but just to feel what just happened and understand it. I was upset that we couldn’t enjoy the beach because I wanted to just enjoy a nice day outside for once which I felt I hadn’t done since before Camila was born. I was upset with myself for not being able to take Camila’s pain away and I was upset with the people who stared and tried to give me unwanted advice. Then I was upset with myself for being selfish because I didn’t want to be that way. All these reasons at once made it hard for me to see any positivity and be happy. It wasn’t until about 10 minutes later that I felt better and thought, at least she’s not in pain anymore and we will eventually have more beach days. As for the people offering advice, I told myself they were just trying to help as I’ve tried to do the same in the past to other moms before becoming a mom myself. In the end, what matters most is that my baby is okay and tomorrow is a whole new day, a day where great things can happen. It’s okay to sometimes not be okay, but don’t let it consume you. Remember that pain doesn’t last forever and tomorrow is a whole new day.

#maternity #life #love

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