“Motherhood is supposed to be hard, but it’s not supposed to be this hard,” I used to think to myself.
Yes, parenting is probably the toughest job anyone can take on.
Babies and toddlers are demanding little ones, requiring your undivided attention all of the time.
But I still remember thinking to myself that it wasn’t supposed to be this hard and this miserable.
I should have listened to my instincts.
Before Vman was born, I had read that babies often cry a little within the first two weeks but then really find their lungs and voice after that.
When Vman was born, he was born crying the moment he hit the air.
And, honestly, he just didn’t stop.
Because I had an unscheduled C-section, we spent five days in the hospital.
On the last night, my husband and I decided to have the nurses take Vman so we could try to eek out a few moments of sleep before going home.
That night, as we lay in the dark, we both heard the faint cry of a baby off in the distance.
As we later learned, we both thought to ourselves, “I wonder who the sucker is that’s getting that baby delivered to their room.”
The crying got a little louder.
And well before Vman even reached our hallway of the hospital, we knew… we were the suckers!
At this point, we had heard Vman cry SO much that we actually knew the sound of his voice.
The nurse entered the room declaring that they couldn’t get Vman to stop crying.
(Ummm… isn’t that why we asked you guys to keep him for the night? Because we needed the promise of some sleep!)
So while the other parents on our floor slept, my husband and I desperately tried to get our little man to calm down.
We had no idea we would spend a number of years doing this.
Why Does He Cry So Much!
From the get go, it seemed that something was off with Vman.
The crying was so over the top that it seemed ridiculous.
Oh, babies cry, people told us. That’s just what they do.
But I kept thinking to myself that babies aren’t supposed to cry this much.
Finally our pediatrician said she thought he was colicky.
Translated, we have absolutely no idea why your baby is crying all the time but he just is.
Babies generally cry for a total of two hours a day.
Vman would cry for two hours at a time.
In the haze, I managed to listen to some of my instincts.
We naturally turned off all of the lights and lived by natural daylight or low-set lamps in the evenings.
The TV, radio or anything else that produced sound went silent.
These were just a few of the first steps I took toward listening to my instincts and changing our home environment to fit what I thought Vman needed.
I had no idea why the rooms needed to be darker.
I just did.
I had no idea why the house had to become quiet.
I just did.
Even though my gut told me that something wasn’t right with Vman, it took almost three years before we finally figured out that he has Sensory Processing Disorder.
Suddenly, all of the pieces of the puzzle began to fit.
I began to understand why he reacted negatively to clothing, touch and even hugs the way he did.
I understood why he had a physical meltdown to noise.
Sensory Parenting & Instincts
As a sensory parent, you learn how to listen to your instincts.
Once we finally had a diagnosis, I was able to fully embrace what my instincts were telling me.
I wasn’t a bad mom who couldn’t figure out my child.
My kiddo had extra sensory challenges that he needed help with.
Once I started understanding what was going on, I found that if I listened to my instincts, we managed to avoid some of the multiple daily meltdowns.
By embracing my instincts about what to say yes to for my son, I found I better served him and the family as a whole.
The family and friends around us didn’t necessarily understand or believe what we were dealing with. (And some of them still don’t.)
But as the core family, we were happier making the right decisions for our kids based on what they needed and not the expectations of others.
Follow your instincts on what you think your family needs and not what others expect.
Your instincts are the best tool you have as a sensory parent.
For further reading about Sensory Processing Disorder:
The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing DifferencesRaising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing IssuesUnderstanding Your Child’s Sensory Signals: A Practical Daily Use Handbook for Parents and TeachersThe Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun, Revised Edition: Activities for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder
Learn more about sensory challenges or join our inclusive community on The Sensory Spectrum.
Be sure to hear from other special needs parents, too!