How do you cope with the crying?

I don’t mean ‘how do you make it stop?’; i mean how do you cope with your own feelings aroused by the baby’s crying?
Leo has had a rough few days, with his routines all out. He’s been crying for no apparent reason, utterly inconsolable. Going through the list (hungry? wet nappy? Overstimulated?) yields nothing. Hugs and whispers fail, as does swaddled silence.
The scary thing was how this made me feel. As started to crescendo yet again, i was banging my head on the edge of the cot, thinking ‘what the hell is it?’ I think this is the unspoken secret of parenthood. Everyone says you’ll feel frustrated at times, but no-one mentions that the frustration is directed towards the little one, the least appropriate target.
It cuts to the heart of what I am now – i am a parent, yet i am failing to parent. I should understand, but i don’t. At the start, I tried to act with method, with logic. Then that was abandoned – if i’d read somewhere that wrapping rosary beads round his feet could help, i would have tried it.
Then, I started to think it might be an emotional, contact thing, and made more of talking and touching him – and when that didn’t work i felt rejected and frankly humiliated for trying. This little creature was wilfully ignoring me – spurning my attempts at helping. It was Leo’s own fault he was crying.
What skewed ‘logic’. The target for anger and frustration became the baby, not myself. The idea that it was no-one’s fault – just a thing that was happening for reasons i couldn’t understand – never occured to me.
By now i was on the verge of tears. Wondering how i could possibly go back to work and leave Claire on her own with this trauma. And in another part of me, thinking ‘how do single mums do this – and every day?’ Adding insult to injury, this bout had only gone on for about 40 minutes yet I know many other people who continue coping with their screaming baby for hours. How rubbish am I that i start to crack after less than one?
Then he just stopped, and fell asleep for 2 hours.


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