Everybody Hurts


Tonight I went to listen to R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts,” because I wanted to connect with the humor in my situation. I wanted a darkly funny thing to get me laughing, and what better than such a stupid kitschy song? But then, it spoke to me. That’s how bad I was feeling. The kitsch wasn’t kitschy at all. And I found myself sobbing to it on repeat, rocking my colicky baby to the beat, bouncing in catharsis in a night that was “(mine) alone.” And maybe there’s something funny in that. Please let there be something funny in that. I need a good laugh.

My baby is colicky. I haven’t wanted to admit it—not to myself, not to anyone—because admitting that my baby occasionally cries inconsolably for no reason at all means admitting that I also couldn’t take credit for my last baby, the one who never cried at all. Admitting that Finn is a “hard baby” means that Scout, my “easy baby,” was truly just the luck of the draw. Of course I said that all along, but somewhere deep down, I think I took credit for her being so “good.” I let it boost my ego and admitting that things are different this time around means letting that ego be shattered.

And shattered it is. I am humbled. Please let it be that I am sufficiently humbled, because … well … I’m crying to R.E.M. over here and I have to face another day of potty training in the morning. In my worst moments, I find myself feeling that this isn’t what I signed up for, and in my best moments, I’m sure that it is. And the strange thing is that my best moments, the ones where I am my best self, they aren’t always the same as the best moments of the day. Sometimes I’m my best self with pee all over my floors and spit up all over my clothes. Sometimes I rise to the challenge. And sometimes my worst moments, the ones where I ugly cry and pound Fig Newtons and type with one hand, come when things are calm and should be easy. With one little girl finally asleep in her crib and one little boy finally asleep in my arms, I feel sad. And happy. And humble. And human. Mostly human. Cause everybody hurts sometimes.


  • Crystalee

    Beautiful, beautiful thoughts, Sam. Bless you, dear. You’re such a sweet mama. Oh, I am sorry he’s struggling! I guess we had the opposite experience: My newborn girl rocked my world with her constant daily throw-ups. She could never keep anything down and wouldn’t sleep for more than 45 minutes. I thought I’d die. I had no idea she was a “hard” baby until my second came; a good eater/digester. I just thought *I* was the problem. But, no. Some babies are just harder than others. In the middle of the hardness, sometimes it feels it will never end. But it will. Someday it will. Hang on to that. Sending love from here.

  • Rachel Holder allred

    I think the ugly cry comes when my baby is asleep and it’s calm because I’m holding it all together and not letting myself break down in front of him and when I don’t have to hold it together, it all gushes out

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